Road Trips are Seattle’s New Family Vacation: Safe, Socially-Distanced Road Trip Tips

October 2nd, 2020 by

Road Trips are Seattle’s New Family Vacation: Safe, Socially-Distanced Road Trip Tips

green trees under sky




Summer 2020 has been different from past years of jetting off to your favorite out-of-state destination, attending music and arts festivals, or the large holiday gatherings in local parks, but there is one vacation option that has remained popular – and safe. The road trip is now officially 2020’s most popular getaway!


  While essential travel restrictions are beginning to ease, staying local is still an easier and more comfortable way to get out of the house for many Washingtonians, and to help spark your imagination, here are some of our favorite road trip spots near Seattle:

snoqualmie falls  trees & ocean  park with tress

Center IMG Source:


NORTH-WEST Washington:

  • Deception Pass State Park: Home to a gorgeous view of the San Juans via HWY 20’s Deception Pass Bridge and plenty of typical PNW hiking trails and beach walks.

deception pass bridge


  • Olympic National Forest: Your northwest staple – forest, mountains, and a salt-water fjord, you can relax in secluded forests with plenty of room to enjoy.

Olympic National Forest

IMG SOURCE: Photo by Jaymantri from Pexels

  • Flaming Geyser State Park: Enjoy lots of open-air picnic spots along the Green River, which you can either raft or fish!

scenic view


SOUTH-WEST Washington:

  • Mount Rainier National Park: The Seattle classic getaway, minus the Space Needle and with more alpine wildflowers and breathtaking mountain vistas.

scenic view

Western Washington:

  • Snoqualmie Falls: This popular spot has both kid-friendly trails and a more adventurous hike to the lower falls view point. 

snoqualmie falls

SOUTH-EAST Washington:

  • Mt. St. Helens: This active volcano offers beautiful hikes with views of the crater and a rich history lesson. 


While road-tripping may be 2020’s safer alternative to flights and shared accomodations, there are a few tips every family can use to help create a fun and socially-distanced holiday experience:


Social Distancing Roadtrip Tip #1:

Prepare your Car (and yourself) for the Trip.


Don’t put yourself at risk by needing to stop for several hours to resolve an issue and having to spend time in an enclosed area you didn’t plan for. Plus, no one likes a flat tire, an engine issue, or a ticket for expired tabs as a vacation souvenir.You should check all of your oil, water, and tire pressure levels, that your car is up to date on manufacturer recommended service for its age and mileage, and that your lisence, insurance, and vehicle registration are all current and that the documents are with you or easily accessible to you. Check your Towing and Roadside coverage policies – if you don’t have one included on your insurance, getting temporary coverage can also be a sound investment that can save you a lot of money in the long run.


Bonus mini tip: Clean and detail your car – start a fresh adventure with a fresh environment!


Need your car serviced before you hit the road? Visit any of our 11 locations in Western Washington, found here.


Social Distancing Roadtrip Tip #2:

Plan your route, and your stops in advance. 


A spontaneous detour down a deserted scenic backroad might be the highlight of your trip, but when it comes to human contact, plan ahead. Before you leave home, pin point exactly where you can get what you need – gas, food and water, and bathroom breaks included. Research any restaurants you plan to eat at to find out about no-contact pickup options, so you can refuel your roadtrip crew safely! 


Bonus tip: If you’re crossing state lines, know what the restrictions and closures are in the states you visit so you don’t get stuck somewhere you expect to be open that isn’t. Also, be aware that some states will require a quarantine period of up to 14 days on entry or return. 


Social Distancing Roadtrip Tip #3:

Pack what you need, and not what you don’t.


Save your precious cargo space for the things that really count, so that you don’t have to make unscheduled stops to get those essential items. Stock any and all car safety accessories first – like a tire pump, jack, roadside kit, jumper cables, and a good quality first-aid kit. Consider how many changes of clothes you’ll need and pack a few extra as well as some clothes for warmer and colder weather than you’re expecting. Bring Camping and outdoor living supplies – even if you don’t plan to camp these can come in handy if you end up having to change your accommodation plans and opt for a more socially-distanced option. And, don’t forget the roadtrip friendly snacks – options that don’t need refrigeration and don’t spill easily are top of the list.


Social Distancing Roadtrip Tip #4:

Take a break & Enjoy the Drive.


A good rule of thumb is a 15 minute break every 2 hours. Build your breaks into your pre-planned route so you can find scenic places to enjoy while you rest, stretch, and refuel. Don’t wait until you feel sleepy or unfocussed to stop and rest. Try to plan for open-air spots to stop to maximize space between yours and other families. 


The whole point of a roadtrip is to interact with your environment. For the longer parts of the drive, be ready with in-car entertainment including games that incorporate what you see and find on the road – like I-Spy, or counting car colors.


Bonus tip: If you’re bringing your pets with you, make sure they have a place to take a break where you – and your pet – can still socially distance.


Social Distancing Roadtrip Tip #5:

Keep Clean and Safe at all times.