Living 2,000+ miles away from our family the last three years has had it’s own challenges but it’s also one of the best things we could have done for us as a couple.
One of the perks of living far away is being able to offer a home away from home for family vacations. Both sides of our family and our friends have been awesome about coming to visit and we’ve been able to see and do a lot of fun activities with them. I’m going to go more in depth on some of the more popular areas (like Seattle) but the Upper Left Corner makes for a great trip no matter age, group size or time of year.
The first time our families come to visit we offer them a tour of our everyday life: the capitol 15 minutes away Olympia, our hometown Lacey, JBLM and Tolmie State Park (another day hike area I will dive into). We will also take a quick drive out to towns near the Puget Sound Steilacoom, Tacoma and Gig Harbor for great food, drinks and views. If you want to hear where we like to go, leave a comment and I will let you in on a secret.
When our in-laws visited in July 2017 we were looking for more adventure farther up. We looked into the San Juan Islands and nearby areas for hiking, look outs and whale watching. After picking up the family from SeaTac airport, we drove up to Anacortes. We stayed at the Majestic Inn & Spa which offered the best views of the town and the islands, the rooms were large and clean, the hotel was updated while keeping it’s historic charm. The Majestic offered fantastic service including a rooftop happy hour, delicious breakfast, free game/movie rentals and more. We highly recommend staying here.
The entire town has art standing and painted on the outside of buildings. We ate and drank on the strip since we were able to walk down the main street. There are some places where you must be over 21 to enter but there are many more where you can get in with your family. One of them was a super busy pizza place called Village Pizza. We noticed all the restaurants were busy so expect a wait at the popular places, especially as a table of six. We also stopped into the Rockfish Grill & Anacortes Brewery, Brown Lantern Ale House, and the 5th Street Bistro in the Majestic Inn. We also watched the sunset on the docks with the porpoises.
Here’s a quick view of the Snapchat story I had taken showcasing our trip. If you want to follow along in real time, here’s my Instagram.
A short drive from Anacortes over to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to catch an early morning ferry over to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. We hopped on the Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley (yes, that’s the real name and it was awesome) to tour the island. As soon as you hop off the ferry there are numerous options for trolleys and tours. The immediate area is full of steep streets that were covered in historical, patriotic decorations for the Fourth of July. There are lots of stores, ice cream, food and lavender shops.
I tried some lavender ice cream and some different flavors.
During our tour I was amazed that this was an ISLAND where people lived, worked and attended school. They told us how they take garbage off the island, electricity when it’s storming and routing other utilities or real estate. There were lots of farming fields and livestock as well as a huge lavender farm. We didn’t get off on this stop but even driving through you could smell the freshness. Next to this farm there was a huge tree house up in the woods if you look closely.
On the other side of the island was Lime Kiln Point State Park. The driver let us off here for a little bit to walk around. You will want to put your phone on airplane mode here (if not the whole island) because of Canadian roaming charges. You can see Victoria from the edge of the coast.
While we didn’t see whales on this trip there was lots of other wildlife and seals swimming around in the harbor. Last summer when we were in the Port Angeles area to whale watch we saw lots of Gray Whales. We had also seen lots of whales in the islands when we went whale watching with my sister. If that’s your goal, you’re in the right place.
Otherwise they do drive you through other attractions that will make you have huge House Hunters envy. The next day we stopped through Seattle on our way back down to Olympia. While we spent the Fourth at our house, there’s also a really good fireworks show on Main post at JBLM or across the Sound.
Let me know if you have any questions. Here’s to good adventure…Cheers!
PS: Did you want more to do in the PNW? Check out the Passport section of my blog to plan your trip; like this.