Nineteen miles of paved path start at Golden Gardens in Ballard. Get a close look at the park's resident beavers—which dam the ponds on its north end—then head east along the saltwater shoreline, keeping an eye out for seals, sea lions, and even orcas. The route meanders to Lake Washington and sweeps around its northwestern shore. Still going strong? Turn onto the 11-mile Sammamish River Trail, pocketed by views of the Cascades and the gleaming snow cone of 14,410-foot Mount Rainier, the most glaciated peak in the continental United States. Refuel at one of Woodinville's wineries or breweries, maybe even taking in a summer concert or moonlit outdoor flick—if you planned ahead enough to score tickets!
By Amanda Castleman, AFAR Local Expert
Burke-Gilman Trail, Seattle, WA, USA