When my husband needed to find a new job last year, our family of 5 decided to consider relocating away from our comfortable existence in the Dallas, Texas suburbs to another part of the country. We love mountains and outdoor activities and with our oldest child approaching high school age, we decided it was now or never if we were going to move to a different locale. My husband wanted to be in a high-tech hub and set out on a software job search in earnest. He came up with… SEATTLE! Now I’m sure my image of Seattle was like many of yours grey, cold and rainy. I’d visited the city and Olympic National Park’s coastline and rainforest in the late nineties, and it didn’t do much to change that image. However, I kept an open mind, and we visited the area in September to consider a move. We found late summer to be gorgeous and were surprised by the Cascade mountain town feel of Seattle’s Eastside suburbs. We made the move and our transition was eased by one of Seattle’s warmest and driest years on record which has given us plenty of time to explore our new home.
I’d like to share some of my experiences in a series of blogs highlighting destinations that would be worth tacking on to any Seattle visit. These destinations are an easy drive from Seattle and show the beauty of the Pacific Northwest that you might not think of when Seattle comes to mind! So here we go with my first blog– a trip about an hour and a half north of Seattle to two sites in the beautiful Skagit County area of Washington.
DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK and LA CONNER, WA
On Mother’s Day we drove north of Seattle on I-5 to make a day trip of exploring Deception Pass State Park and the area around La Conner, WA. Deception Pass is spanned by a beautiful (and windy!) bridge which is lined with steep rock cliffs plunging to clear green water below. We had a great time hiking down through old growth forests to the rocky beaches along the shore. From the beach we were able to watch seals swimming in the pass and bald eagles diving for fish and nesting on the cliffs. Our kids had a blast skipping stones and scrambling on the driftwood and rock stacks near the beach. Kayaking, camping and fishing also seemed to be popular among visitors. There are 38 miles of hiking trails in the park amidst breath-taking views so we are eager to return to explore more of the area.
For lunch we decided to make the short drive from Deception Pass State Park to the artist colony of La Conner, Washington. This cute town sits on the banks of Swinomish Channel which is lined with art galleries, restaurants and other shops. La Conner hosts the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in the spring and makes a good base for exploring the miles of blooming fields. We missed the tulips but managed to find irises instead. A trip back to see the tulips is on the top of our list to-do next spring!
Must do for next spring!
I plan on adding more posts from our other road trips exploring the Northwest from the past year. We are thoroughly enjoying getting to know our beautiful Washington State home and kind of feel like we are living on a permanent vacation. As the fall brings more rain and shorter days, we are clinging to our memories of our wonderful spring and summer road trips to remind us of how amazing this state can be. Time will tell if we are cut our for year-round residence, but there certainly aren’t many more beautiful places in the US than to Northwest to be sure!