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national parks

Explore Washington’s 3 amazing national parks

Mount Rainier, Olympic and North Cascades are pretty easy to reach from Seattle.

Washington has three national parks, plus a number of national historic sites and other federally managed areas.

Washington’s most iconic park, Mount Rainier, is family-friendly and easily accessible from Seattle. You’ll find plenty of options for day hikes and comfortable visitors’ centers — basically your no-hassle wilderness experience. (Related: Tips for a COVID-era family day trip to Mount Rainier.)

Olympic National Park is more remote; it’s known for its old-growth rainforest and miles of rocky beaches.

North Cascades National Park is best suited for visitors up for challenging hikes. But what a payoff: sweeping vistas of the Cascade Mountains, Washington’s natural beauty at its best.

And remember: All fourth-graders (and their families) are eligible to get a free national park pass, and it’s ridiculously easy to get.

Related: Washington state parks are free on these other days in 2020.

Also a national park: What to do at Seattle’s Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. (temporarily closed as of August 2020)