I have had a lot of friends tell me their kids are causing extreme sleep deprivation in their lives as well. What is going on with kids these days??? So I think it is time to share this post about some great places you can getaway (by car) weekend with just you and your honey. I am 100% sure you deserve it. Don’t feel bad for your kids. They will surely benefit from you having the opportunity to rejuvenate!
Again, I start this travel post with the disclaimer that these are my own opinions, and as I sadly have not been everywhere I would like to have gone, this will most definitely not be an all-inclusive list of the amazing places the Northwest has to offer. Since people are often ask my recommendations, I am writing a post, but please please tell me what places you feel should be on the list and I will gladly check them out!
1. Whistler, BC
This is hands down my favorite place to vacation–really with family, friends, or with your spouse–anytime of year. It has something for everyone, no matter what you like to do. Great shops. Great restaurants. Amazing skiing (the largest resort in North America). The craziest mountain biking. Gorgeous scenery. And so many beautiful hotels, resorts, condos, spas, vacation rentals, that I promise whatever you are seeking for your vacation, you can find it here.
Yes, you need your passport (or an enhanced driver’s license) and yes, you may have to wait for awhile at the border, but once you pass Vancouver you won’t regret it. The Sea-to-Sky Highway is one of the most beautiful drives I have ever been on.
If you are looking for something a little closer to home, then THIS is my favorite for that (I guess, that is if you live close to me anyway). Aaron and I went here for a belated valentine’s celebration after I returned from one of my worst business trips ever. I got kicked out of my hotel in Kuwait, kicked off the airplane trying to fly to Bahrain, snowed in & chased down by strange men in Istanbul, sick getting ready for my return, and luggage lost on flight home. To say I was wiped out physically and emotionally was putting it mildly.
Then…the next day we walked into the Salish Lodge to the overwhelming and comforting smell of cedar and then into our room where they had relaxation music playing and a fire already roaring for us. I started to restore almost immediately. We headed to the spa and even though we were too cheap to pay for any of the treatments, we still were able to enjoy the therapeutic soaking pool, sauna and steam rooms before heading to what I am not kidding is the most delicious dinner I have ever had. Pricey? Undoubtedly–our dinner and breakfast were just as much as our room for the night! But worth every penny. If you ever see the deal they sometimes sell at Costco, snatch it up! I know I am going to.
So this one is out in the middle of NOWHERE (about a five hour drive from here and an hour and a half north of Chelan)! My parents always talked about how much they loved going there for conferences and Aaron and I finally found a reason to check it out too. Because it is so far off the beaten path, you definitely feel like you are “escaping.” It has a great perch overlooking the Methow Valley, which is filled with mountain biking and hiking for all levels, and is just a short drive from Winthrop, which is a tiny western-style town with lots of cool festivals throughout the year.
After making this whole list I realized somehow I only ended up with one Oregon place on it. I guess I need to escape to Oregon more often!! We really love the Sunriver/Bend area–it is another place that has something fun to do all year round. It is only a 20 minute drive from great skiing at Mt. Bachelor. I hear the golfing is great, though I’m not that into that myself, but we did have a fabulous time rafting the Deschutes River!
At just under an hour drive, this is the closest one on my list for us Olympia folks. It sits right on the hood canal, so feel free to take your sea plane or your yacht to get there. :) I wish. It’s location is perfect to hit up one of the awesome hikes on the Olympia Peninsula (Mt. Ellinor is next on my list), take a kayak or sailboat out right from their dock, or just relax and enjoy the view of the Olympia mountains.
Their restaurant is another one you won’t want to miss. Oh man, looking at their menu made me just want to head out there just for some food right now. Anyone up for a double date?! :)
6. Victoria, BC
Please tell me I am not the only one who looks at this picture and is mentally taken to some fairytale place where dreams always come true and everyone lives happily ever after. Isn’t that what we need to be promised in our getaway weekends? Before going myself, I had heard people talk about Butchart Gardens with such wonder and wondered how they could lavish such praise on a garden. I am certainly no garden aficionado and wasn’t too interested in going, but since everyone insisted, Aaron and I decided to check it out.
I LOVED it–couldn’t take enough pictures and never wanted to leave. Victoria has this and countless other cool things to do and see and romantic places to stay–some quaint and some fancy, many of which offer afternoon tea…a specialty of the flagship hotel The Empress. We took the ferry and not The Clipper, so if anyone has done that, I am curious to hear how that is.
7. Roche Harbor, San Juan Island
Two Island destinations in a row (and one more at the end!). Don’t know if that is an indication of what I like or of what our geography has to offer. The San Juans are a very popular place to get away, and San Juan Island is the most popular of them, so if you want to get away from the “hustle and bustle” of Friday Harbor, just head north to Roche Harbor. You will have all the same popular options of kayaking, biking, whale watching, but from a fresh perspective.
8. The Davenport, Spokane, WA
I don’t really talk much about cities when I talk about escaping, but since I know there are some who prefer that to the outdoors (though I don’t know how), I thought I would compromise and include an awesome hotel in a smaller city. I am sure Seattle has some great hotels too, but since I lived up there for awhile it doesn’t feel like much of an escape. This is a gorgeous, historic hotel right in downtown Spokane that will take you back in time. Yet it is still within walking distance of the Riverfront Park, the mall, the movie theaters, and all that to keep you entertained in modern times.
9. The Sleeping Lady, Leavenworth, WA
Since I talked about Leavenworth a bit in my last adventure post, I won’t dwell too much but to say it is another place that has something to do no matter what time of year you go or what kind of people you go with. It can be a fun family vacation or a great romantic getaway. I like this hotel for more romance because it is away from town, closer to the canyon and right on Icicle Creek, with “sustainable gourmet cuisine” and a great spa.
10. Tofino, B.C.
Chances are, even if you have been in Washington for a long time, you may never have heard of this place. Truth be told, I am not even sure how I heard about this place! And honestly I don’t even know how I can call it a local getaway since the driving time alone is 9 hours, and on top of that you will have to wait for a ferry. But if you break it down and check out Victoria or the San Juans on your way/way back like Aaron and I did when we went, you would have quite the adventure.
Besides, the drive across Vancouver Island to the westside is all part of the getting away experience. You will definitely feel like you are leaving all civilization and life as you know it behind. We saw all sorts of whales, seals, sea lions, BEARS (yes, just on the side of the road!), hot springs, rain forest. We weren’t there at the right time, but supposedly they even have awesome storm watching and surfing in the winter, if you are up for an adventure.
Okay, I think this is officially the longest post I have ever done on this blog…hope you had the stamina to sit through it and got some great ideas of places to escape with your “eternal cream puff” as my sisters used to always say. If you have favorite places that I didn’t talk about, please share them with the rest of us!