As leaves turn, a staycation takes you just outside city limits — but can feel like miles away. Just northeast of Seattle, harvest activities, wine rooms and spectacular fall drives await.

About 20 minutes northeast of Seattle, Bothell presents several fine options for families on the go. The expansive 5.8 acre Park at Bothell Landing is so fall-photogenic that you’ll probably spot families taking their holiday photos on the recently reconstructed pedestrian bridge over the Sammamish River. Take leaf-carpeted boardwalk trails through wetlands, peek in the moment-in-time windows of the Bothell Historical Museum and nearby schoolhouse, or enjoy a sunny autumn day at the amphitheater.

Families will want to check out the drop-in art classes at Tsuga Fine Art and Framing (and adults can browse well-curated local art). At Zulu’s Board Game Cafe, kids might enjoy games and creatively named pub grub (i.e., Pokemon-style snacks) while parents sip beer and cider. Beyond Halloween-centric activities, Bothell hosts the Indian festival of Diwali in late October, with parades, lights, culture, dance and music.

Downtown Bothell can also make an excellent home base for families, in the guise of the McMenamins Anderson School. The sprawling campus was once a 1930s school and now offers an 89-degree-Fahrenheit saltwater “lagoon” (also open to the public) in a tiki-style building, hotel rooms in art deco original interiors. While indoor dining is always an option, outdoor dining takes place amid incredibly lush landscaping, with warmth provided by heat lamps and around wood-burning fireplaces. In October, join in on pumpkin carving, live shows and other Halloween activities.

The Sammamish Slough in Bothell offers plenty of autumnal vibes. (Getty Images)

Adults can also score lodging, dining and activity deals on the Begin at Bothell website, including girls’ getaways and beers ‘n’ gears, focused on craft breweries and local cycling trails. With Sip & Stay, you’ll find discounted rates at various local Bothell hotels paired with wine tastings in nearby Woodinville, a mere 2.6 miles further east.

Woodinville “Wine Country” is now renowned for more than 100 wineries and tasting rooms, including Washington’s oldest winery Chateau Ste. Michelle. In the unusually clean and manicured Woodinville Creek Village complex — where light jazz is piped into the streets via camouflaged speakers — you’ll find 11 upscale wine-tasting rooms at street level, with high-end apartments above. Within the same complex, select individual meat, vegetarian and vegan tacos at Lifted Taco — many topped with fresh microgreens and red slaw. Those stopping for liquid fuel might try the light-filled Sidekick Coffee, which presents the usual caffeinated options, along with extremely popular s’mores bars. If sugar’s your addiction, consider a scoop of caramel ice cream from Swanky Scoop.

(Seattle NorthCountry photo)

For couples, Woodinville’s luxury Willows Lodge boasts 84 contemporary rooms and private fireplaces. Autumn foliage on the Sammamish River trail is just steps away, and the hotel’s Barking Frog restaurant incorporates seasonal ingredients such as roasted squash, pickled pumpkin and wild mushrooms. The “All the Fall Feels” package includes a throw blanket, Carhartt beanies, pumpkin-scented candle and adult fall-flavored drinks in the resort’s Fireside Lounge.

For the second day of staycation fun, consider the rural recreation in and around Snohomish. Follow WA-522 north, or turn onto WA-9 North. En route, enjoy rolling farmland and pumpkin patches, each with a distinct personality beyond the typical u-pick pumpkins and hayrides. Craven Farm promises apple cider doughnuts, ghoul-free petting zoo and scarecrow photo ops, while Carleton Farms serves pumpkin doughnuts and weekend harvest activities for kids. Stocker Farms challenges visitors to survive a scary evening haunted corn maze, and Bob’s Corn and Pumpkin Patch might be an excellent fit for younger kids due to the rope maze, sandpit, corn crib and trike area.

(Seattle NorthCountry photo)

Snohomish’s quiet charm along the Snohomish River is an excellent day trip for food and funky shops suitable for older teens and adults. Accessories, clothing boutiques and home furnishing stores line First Street and nearby side streets. Among the options: Two stories of strange and perfect vintage goods at Remember When Antique Mall and Antique Station at Victoria Village (among the many antiquing options). Artisans Mercantile sells locally made gifts, Uppercase Bookshop displays bestsellers and used titles amid a cozy interior. Inside Retreat Botanicals make your own terrarium or planter at the Terrarium Bar, using the shop’s materials.

For food, stop in at the extremely popular Andy’s Fish House. Locals and visitors alike line up for pieces of Alaskan cod, halibut, salmon, prawns, scallops, popcorn shrimp, clams, or oysters hand-tossed in panko-style breadcrumbs and served with hand-cut potato fries. While other dishes (tacos, fettuccine and salads) are available, the fish and chips is a major draw.

Eat on-site outdoors or indoors, or take your greasy goodness to a bench overlooking Snohomish River and the paved Centennial Trail. The trail runs through Snohomish as part of its 30-mile stretch and invites pedestrians, cyclists and longboard skaters. After dinner, head either head back to Seattle (a mere one-hour drive or so) or back to your hotel for a second night.

Note: COVID requirements may change at any time, so keep up with county, city and individual business owner requirements. Restaurants may ask indoor diners to present proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours, so ensure you have it available. Plan to wear a mask while indoors when not eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.

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