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What are some good romantic getaways within ~5 hours of Seattle?
July 13, 2014 9:23 PM   Subscribe

We're looking for ideas of where to go and what to do for a romantic weekend leaving from Seattle. We'd be going just two weeks from now (July 25–27), so really popular places are likely booked up already.

It's just Friday–Sunday so we wouldn't want to spend more than 5 hours getting there. We're primarily looking for a nice place to relax and enjoy some nature and culture. We love massages and such so a good spa recommendation would be a definite plus.

Difficulty: we've been to Vancouver, BC and Portland, OR recently, so those are probably out, but if you have little-known gems in those locales, let us know!
posted by Cogito to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
Harrison Hot Springs, just east of Vancouver, is a great spot. It's right by a lake too, so you can relax by the waters and go for long, romantic walks!
posted by ohorrors at 9:48 PM on July 13


LaConner is 90 minutes north of Seattle. Quaint little fishing village turned tourist town but still has a small town feel. Antique shopping, boating, fine dining or casual eats at the tav. Just one of the great small towns, or go over Deception Pass to Coupeville on Whidbey Island and than take one of the ferries back to Seattle the next day. I used to live in that area and I still miss it. One of the undiscovered jewels to anyone not from the area.
posted by cliffster99 at 10:20 PM on July 13


Years ago I went to Sleeping Lady resort in Leavenworth and it was fabulous. Not sure if it's still the same.
posted by primethyme at 10:46 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Port Angeles. There are some wonderful B&B type cabins up near the Olympics in that area.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:51 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Port Townsend, WA is a nice spot on the Olympic Peninsula, a ferry and 45 minute drive from seattle. There are a few towns around there as well-- Port Hadlock, Port Ludlow, Sequim. Locating a B&B shouldn't be hard.

I'll second LaConner. Deception Pass is awesome, too-- there are beaches down on the water on the south side of the pass, and of course the pass can be viewed from high above on its bridge-- it's almost vertiginous, so be warned if heights aren't your friend. LaConner runs along with Swinomish Slough, a waterway that gives the boater an alternative route to the North Sound than taking Deception Pass. It's definitely a small town, though-- they roll up the sidewalks at 5 o'clock and the only place to eat after dark is a nearby casino.

The San Juan islands are good for getting away. I'd recommend Orcas Island, which is reachable by the Anacortes ferry-- maybe 3 hours outside of Seattle, depending on ferry timing? San Juan's Friday Harbor would be my fall-back.

Victoria BC on Vanc. Island is touristy but very pleasant and I'm sure there's something around there that'll catch your fancy. Easiest way directly from Seattle is to drive to the ferry at Port Angeles (near the aforementioned Port Townsend). Ferry runs once a day in the AM, and returns in the PM. You can go direct from Seattle's waterfront on the Victoria Clipper if you don't mind leaving your car behind. Be sure to see BC's Parliament, which is lit up like Christmas all year round for reasons only Canadians can know. Nanaimo on Vanc Is. might also be a good destination. Be sure to grab the recipe for Nanaimo bars.

Point Robert, a geographic anomaly that's a couple square miles of US peninsula just below the 49th parallel and the only way in by land is through to Canada. I have no idea what there is to do there, but I want to visit for that reason alone. It's near the the Tsawassen terminal of the ferry from Swartz Bay on Vancouver Island, if you happen to hit Victoria beforehand.
posted by Sunburnt at 11:04 PM on July 13


We went to Victoria on short notice at about this time last year; there were plenty of places to stay, and there was lots to do. We took the Clipper from downtown Seattle; if you're committed to hanging out in nature maybe a weekend Clipper trip isn't workable--you can also take a car ferry but it takes much longer to get there and back.

We also stayed one August in Seaside, OR, and didn't have trouble getting a room fairly late in the game.

Other possibilities within 4-5 hours:

Birch Bay, near Bellingham, where we have been in the off-season but is relatively low key and super accessible, as it's just directly up I-5 just shy of the border.

Walla Walla, especially if wineries are something you like.

Ocean Shores/Grays Harbor area is more crowded this time of year but generally rather uncrowded.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:26 PM on July 13


Walla Walla for the vineyards and Mexican food that puts Seattle absolutely to shame. Best taco trucks I've ever experienced anywhere. But it'll be HOT.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 11:53 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


First important thing: I hope you're planning on leaving Friday morning. Friday afternoon/evening driving out of Seattle in any direction is a nightmare. Also a good idea to leave earlier than absolutely necessary on Sunday; not as bad as Fridays (usually) but still a traffic slog.

I can agree with most of the suggestions above, although many of them are awfully small and/or awfully far away. Really, the only thing to do in Port Angeles is drive to Forks to look at Twilight sites. Any destination on I-90 over the pass is a long long drive. And driving across the border is always a crapshoot; waits can be horrendous, for no obvious reason -- or no trouble at all.

So where to go? Bellingham. I'm prejudiced, of course, but it does sound like exactly what you're looking for. It's an hour and a half drive, but it feels far away from Seattle. We've had a tsunami of hotel building, so there should be no problem getting a room. The Chrysalis Inn has a lovely spa, but you can stay somewhere else and get a massage or whatever at their spa. The Bellwether Hotel is also on the luxe side, with a great bar and good restaurant.

Downtown Bellingham is completely walkable. It's not a tourist spot, like LaConner or the towns in the San Juans. We still have a large number of empty storefronts left from when the mall went in years ago. But there's an extremely vibrant live music scene, and an iconic book store, Village Books, in the Fairhaven neighborhood (as well as three top notch used bookstores), and many, many coffee shops that roast their own beans and offer tastings, and a recent explosion of local breweries who have charming outdoor seating and a variety of super food trucks serving their customers. If you're movie fans, the Pickford Cinema, also downtown, will be showing "Life Itself" the doc about Roger Ebert; if you'd prefer gunfights and tears, "Shane" will be there on Saturday afternoon.

Drive out the Mt. Baker Highway; Artist Point, at the end of the highway, was just uncovered (they get a lot of snow on Mt. Baker) and has many mountain hikes leading off from the parking area. Worth the drive if you like mountains. And stop at the Mt. Baker Vineyards on your way back to taste some excellent wines. Or stay in town and go to one of the several parks on the water; stop at a grocery and put together a picnic. (No trouble finding organic, fair trade, non GMO, free range, right-thinking food in Bellingham!)

But Whatcom County is primarily agricultural, and our specialties are BERRIES. In season NOW.
Especially raspberries. Drive out to a farm and pick them yourself, or buy them from a stand. Blueberries are good, too. Every business in town has a map of U Pick farms. There's a downtown Farmers' Market on Saturday from 10-3 that has food that was picked that morning, and lots of friendly farmers happy to sell it to you. And food stands .....

Goodness. Even I want to visit, and I live here. Where ever you go, have a lovely weekend.
posted by kestralwing at 12:40 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Are the Sole Duc Hot Srings cabins all booked up? I spent a weekend there once and it was marvelous.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:12 AM on July 14


The Freestone Inn in Mazama, about a three hour drive from Seattle. I like the cabins but the lodge is more upscale. Great food and wine, a pool, a lake, and driving there takes you along the prettiest highway in the world, the North Cascades Highway. I haven't had a massage there but they're available, as are other spa-ish things. Bring bikes or rent them there, ride horses, hike.
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:31 AM on July 14


It would be hard to be the Twisp River Inn. The entire area is spectacular, the hosts are wonderful, the cost reasonable and there is at least a reasonable chance that they have room when you want to go. If you take the North Cascades Highway getting there will be half the fun.
posted by caddis at 9:39 AM on July 14


How about taking the Victoria Clipper to Victoria, BC? Very nice destination that has lots of cool downtown options. You can also catch a city bus to the Butchart Gardens while there.

Alternatively, it is a stretch, but the Oregon Coast is about 5 hours drive from Seattle.
posted by BearClaw6 at 10:06 AM on July 14


Shakti Cove in Ocean Park, WA
posted by ainsley at 11:47 AM on July 14


Bend, Oregon and McMinnville, Oregon have nice downtown areas and are pleasant and relaxing. McMinnville has the added bonus of being close to wine country. There are McMenamins hotels in both towns. These are historic properties, and quaint and romantic.

Every time I've looked, Bend has a fair number of vacation rental homes.
posted by hydra77 at 11:20 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


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