Picture this: the sun is shining, a few clouds scattered across the sky, the perfect breeze coming into your open windows as you glide through the Evergreen State taking in one gorgeous scene after another. These are the days we Pacific Northwesterners crave all year!

There’s nothing like the fresh air from a carefree drive down the coast to the forests in Washington. With Winter months away, you want to take advantage of this time as much as possible — but which roads are best suited for your intentional getaways? We’ve laid out some of the top scenic drives for you to explore this summer.

7 Scenic Drives in Washington you MUST Experience

scenic roads to explore washington Chuckanut Drive
Chuckanut Drive vicinity of Bellingham Bay, Washington, 1926 Photographer: Kinsey, Darius

Chuckanut Drive

Voted the best scenic drive in 2016, this historic cliff-side highway runs between Seattle and Vancouver. Whether you have a destination or just want to go for a ride, there are several towns along the way providing unique pit stops for lunch or shopping. Not to mention Larrabee State Park is right along the way, bringing you to the beautiful coastal beaches where you can catch the breathtaking sunset.

scenic roads to explore washington mount st helens
Mount St. Helens and Spirit Lake From Windy Ridge Viewpoint – October 1985 Photographer: TedQuackenbush

Mount St Helens

If you want to test what your Subaru is made of, venture onto this route. Covering forests, river valleys, mountains, and waterfalls, you will be using your all-wheel drive exploring this terrain. With it’s own motor vehicle map, you can pick and choose exactly where you want to go, creating your own sequence of events particular to your exploring desires.

scenic roads to explore washington palouse scenic byway
Along Palouse Scenic Byway. Hills look like sand dunes at times. Photographer: Robert Ashworth

Palouse Scenic Byway

You know those scenes in a movie where you think “where is that? I want to drive there!” — well this is what you’ve been searching for. Highly recommended for expansive panoramic views of ocean, mountains, and desert all on the same drive, this 98 mile day trip will leave you feeling satisfied after meeting all your adventure needs. Reaching 3,618 feet, Steptoe Butte is just one of the destinations on this route.

scenic roads to explore washington hurricane ridge road
Hurricane Ridge Road, Olympic National Park Photographer: Walter Siegmund

Hurricane Ridge Road

Located in Port Angeles, this route is raved about for it’s unspoiled wilderness views capped by snow-topped peaks and wildlife. You can step out of your Subaru to go on a short hike, or check out the Hurricane Ridge visitor center open April – October.

scenic roads to explore washington hood canal
Along the shores of Hood Canal Twisties, leaving Union by Lana_aka_BADGRL is licensed under CC By2.0

Hood Canal

Want an unmatched scenic drive that will still give you plenty of time for the day? Try this 70 mile route along side this narrow bay. Hugging the waterway for most of the ride, the views are calming and peaceful especially during dawn and dusk. Take your Subaru down in the morning, and spend the afternoon engaging in sea kayaking, hiking, etc., and head back in the evening for a final tranquil show on your way home.

scenic roads to explore washington north cascades highway
Repulse Peak and Fisher Peak seen from the North Cascades Highway at the Swamp Creek pullout. Photographer: Ron Clausen

North Cascades Highway

Living in Washington, you know the North is known for handling some harsh winter weather. This drive is definitely something to take advantage of in the summer and spring. Traveling from Seattle to Winthrop and looping back around, the route is a total of 400 miles which you could plow through in a day or take your time over several days to enjoy a relaxing little journey.

Considered one of the most stunning drives in the country, this is said to be Washington’s ultimate road trip. Winding through the Cascades mountains, down the Columbia River Valley, and into Puget Sound, you may even hear Orca whales playing in the nearby sea. We recommend taking the trip to Wenatchee, Washington for this loop!

scenic roads to explore washington chinook pass
Mt. Rainier along Chinook Pass. Photographer: Robert Ashworth

Chinook Pass

Chinook Pass is a pass through the Cascade Range in the state of Washington. The pass provides the east entrance to Mount Rainier National Park, and carries State Route 410 between the towns of Enumclaw and Naches. Chinook Pass, the east entrance to the park, is located three miles east of Cayuse Pass and 51 miles west of Naches on SR 410. It has an elevation of 5,430 feet.

With Washington being graced with such incredible beauty, these are only a top few favorites! Just by hopping in your Subaru and stepping on the gas, you are likely to find scenic drives everywhere you go. Sometimes you just need to take a little day trip to realize how beautiful life is all around you.

As always, before embarking on any long drive, please make sure your Subaru is tuned up and ready to go so you can fully enjoy any destination with the peace of mind that your reliable vehicle will take care of the journey. Bring your Subaru in for a checkup! Click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Subaru, or call (206) 364-8089 to reach our Seattle location or (360) 659-6208 for Marysville.

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