Seattle certainly counts as coastal, but if you want to experience the majesty of nature or small town charm you have to venture outside the city limits. If you take your trip in a roomy yet fuel efficient Honda CR-V, you can get to any of the following destinations – and home – on a single tank of gas.
Ready to get your feet wet? Pack up your Honda CR-V with your favorite gear and head to one of these calming coastal retreats.
1. Snug Harbor
Drive north for around 65 miles to get to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal then take a ferry to Friday harbor. Drive about 9 miles across San Juan Island to arrive at the serenely beautiful Snug Harbor Resort.
Located on the west side of the island, Snug Harbor Resort has something for everyone. Whether you want to take the complimentary kayaks, canoes and paddleboards out on Mitchell Bay or bicycle around the island, Snug Harbor Resort is a wonderful place to enjoy the breezy beauty of the Pacific Northwest at its finest.
2. The Butchart Gardens, BC
Though they’re not in the state of Washington, the beauty of the Butchart Gardens on the coast of British Columbia makes them well worth a little travel. A ferry ride from Seattle to Victoria leaves you less than a 15-mile drive from this popular destination.
Throughout the year you can explore a variety of gardens, from the Rose Garden to the Japanese Garden, and attend events like evening concerts, fireworks shows and boat tours. There’s also ice skating in the winter and Afternoon Tea in the summer. For those that enjoy the art of landscape design and the wonders of biodiversity, the Butchart Gardens are an ideal coastal destination.
3. Point Defiance Park
Roughly 40 miles from downtown Seattle, this park outside of Tacoma has a ton to offer. The Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has several exhibits to intrigue animal lovers of all ages including a five-acre sanctuary with Asian elephants, clouded leopards and Sumatran tigers; and an Arctic Tundra area with polar bears, arctic fox and reindeer.
Also at Point Defiance Park is the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Visit to see volunteers and staff in period clothing demonstrate the lifestyle, chores and crafts that made up life for settlers at 1850s Fort Nisqually: the Hudson Bay Company’s first non-native settlement on the Puget Sound.
A visit to the Park also means a chance to see gorgeous gardens including the Dahlia Trial Garden, a Rhododendron Garden, a Rose Garden, a Fuchsia Garden and an Iris Garden. Plan your trip around your favorite flowers to see them at the height of bloom.
Finally, drive your CR-V along the Five Mile Drive and if you’re lucky, you’ll see harbor seals resting along the beach. For Seattleites who want a short, scenic trip with a ton of payoff, Point Defiance Park is a homerun.
4. Port Gamble
You can take the ferry (around 30 miles) or drive around the Sound (around 90 miles) but however you decide to drive there, Port Gamble is definitely worth a visit. Amble around unique shops like Tango Zulu Imports, The Painted Lady and Mrs. Muir’s House and stop by Butcher & Baker Provisions for some delicious food made from local ingredients. Find artisanal charcuterie, traditionally cured meats and bakery favorites like pies, cheesecakes and eclairs.
Stop by Olympic Outdoor Center and rent a stand up paddleboard or kayak and explore the waters around Port Gamble to enjoy great views of wildlife and local scenery.
5. Copalis Beach
A 130 mile drive south and west of Seattle, this beach on the Pacific coast offers plenty for visitors to do. Dig the mud flats to harvest some of the abundant razor clams in the area and go to Griffiths-Priday Ocean State Park to see thousands of snowy plover and other birds. Fly a kite, go fishing or just walk along the shore and enjoy the sea air.
With so many wonderful places to visit along the Pacific Coast so close to Seattle, a few daytrips are definitely in order! Best of all, the fuel-efficient Honda CR-V can get you there and back one less than a single tank of gas.