5 Fantastic Waterfront Getaways To Do In Washington This Fall

The days may have gotten cooler, but there is still something magical about Washington’s coastal cities on cool autumn days.

Whether you prefer scenic biking or cold-weather paddling, a waterfront excursion this fall is a great time with the family without the summer crowds. Add seasonal harvests to the menu, and your Washington state getaway will no doubt include tasty produce, fresh seafood, and fall wines.

Curl up by the fire pit, explore cities on foot, or just enjoy the scenic drive with these five family-friendly options for a waterfront getaway.

Tour the lighthouses on the Long Beach Peninsula

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Long Beach Peninsula

The folks at the Adrift Hotel in Long Beach prepare for autumn storms and royal floods, weather treats for storm watchers. On breezy days, stay cozy with an ocean view from your guest room or pack yourself for a refreshing 20-mile bike ride along the Discovery Trail. The Adrift Hotel offers free cruiser cycles for guests so scenic lighthouses and wildlife viewing are within easy reach.

If you prefer to spend cooler days indoors, enjoy the heated brine indoor pool before relaxing in the barrel sauna. Then warm your mood with the in-house Adrift Distillers, the home of gin, whiskey and a flavorful cranberry liqueur perfect for the season.

On hiking days, explore the Long Beach Peninsula with hikes through Cape Disappointment State Park, Fort Columbia State Park, or the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge to experience a rainforest. Then head to North Jetty Brewing, just blocks from your hotel, for real ales, sours, and ciders.

Add a dose of local history on a tour of the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum in neighboring Ilwaco, or keep the kids entertained with a visit to the World Kite Museum in Long Beach.

Hiking Anacortes and Fidalgo Island

Hiking Anacortes and Fidalgo Island

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Anacortes and Fidalgo Island

Take a scenic drive on Highway 20 to Fidalgo Island, followed by a waterfront retreat in Anacortes. Enjoy the charm and hospitality of a small town with a bed and breakfast stay at the Nantucket Inn, ideally located on Commercial Avenue in downtown.

Commercial Avenue is a wonderful street for antique shops and boutiques, as well as independent cafes and popular seafood restaurants. Warm your hands with a local latte, then relax at the Pelican Bay Books & Coffeehouse as you plan your adventurous days.

Refuel with a visit to Bob’s Chowder Bar and pack up for a scenic kayak paddle for the chance to encounter porpoises. Or, for a combination of forest and ocean views, hike the 80 km of hiking trails on Fidalgo Island. The Mount Erie Summit Trail is a great starting point for scenic vistas on trails that are suitable for everyone. More experienced hikers will find that the views on the Sugarloaf Mountain Trail are well worth the extra effort.

A couple rides a mountain bike through Port Angeles

A couple rides a mountain bike through Port Angeles

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Port Angeles and Olympic National Park

Rustic meets luxury at the Olympic Lodge in Port Angeles. With 105 rooms, free breakfast service, an outdoor heated pool and hot tub, the lodge is a luxurious stay for couples and families alike. The location is also ideal for exploring downtown waterfront and day trips to Olympic National Park.

Within the park, families can explore nature by tide pooling or paddling, take part in ranger-led programs, or take part in the night sky observation program when the sky is clear. Cycle the Olympic Discovery Trail to enjoy a family-friendly, paved trail that winds between downtown Port Angeles and Port Townsend. To explore the city’s waterfront, cycle the 3.5-mile loop trail to Ediz Hook to explore countryside and city parks, ideal for afternoon picnics.

In Port Angeles, enjoy the fall season with the Harvest Wine Tour (November 12-14), when nine small wineries are celebrated on self-guided tours. Then, try fresh seafood at 48 Degrees North Restaurant – formerly the Port Angeles Crabhouse – where you’re sure to enjoy chowder, crab cakes, and stuffed salmon.

Boardwalk on the Columbia River overlooking the Interstate Bridge connecting Vancouver to Portland OR.

Boardwalk on the Columbia River overlooking the Interstate Bridge connecting Vancouver to Portland OR.

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Vancouver waterfront

Head south to explore the revitalized Vancouver Waterfront, which now has six tasting rooms within a few blocks of each other. To start your Pacific Northwest vacation, stop at Brian Carter Cellars Tasting Room & Wine Bar or Pepper Bridge Winery & Amavi Cellars on an afternoon stroll along the Columbia River.

Then pair Washington wine with small plates at the Maryhill Winery Vancouver Tasting Room, where Dungeness crab rolls and sausage boards are enjoyed on the waterfront next to Grant Street Pier. Take a sunset stroll along the 800-meter-long Waterfront Park, then check in to a leisurely downtown stop at the Hilton Vancouver Washington.

This hotel is centrally located for exploring the riverfront and downtown attractions, with the bonus of an indoor pool for the kids. In addition, the on-site Grays Restaurant and Bar offers easy access to family dinners and a lovely breakfast menu just steps from your room.

On a clear day, take advantage of Peach Beach Rentals’ canoes and kayaks and explore the countryside around Government Island. Or, take the Frenchman’s Bar Trail on foot or take a dip in Frenchman’s Bar Regional Park for a stroll along the riverside.

Point Ruston Public Market

Point Ruston Public Market

Courtesy Point Ruston Public Market

Tacomas Point Ruston

Experience breathtaking sunsets on the edge of Commencement Bay in Tacomas Point Ruston. The resort-inspired waterfront village offers incredible views of the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier, as well as direct access to water sports in South Puget Sound.

Treat yourself to a weekend getaway with a stay at the Silver Cloud Hotel Tacoma at Point Ruston Waterfront, which opened this summer. The waterfront property offers a spa, rooftop pool, on-site restaurants, and spacious rooms and suites with views of the water and village. Dining at Copper & Salt Northwest Kitchen focuses on breakfast through dinner with Northwestern flavors.

Foodies will also find tempting goodies at Point Ruston Public Market, which is open daily and offers everything from local produce to olive oil to sauces and fresh flowers. Throughout the village, guests can also find sushi, pizza, and independent coffee roasters.

While this stretch of coast is known for its paddling opportunities, winter offers ice skating opportunities near Ruston Spray Park, and family walks on the Dune Peninsula are year-round. For wellness lovers, Grit City Wellness offers meditation pods, personal training, spin classes and more on the Point Ruston waterfront.

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