The Pacific Northwest is an often overlooked honeymoon destination. When most people think of west coast cities like Seattle or Vancouver images of rainy, wet weather come to mind. From late fall to early spring there are low clouds and lots of rain drizzle, but the summer brings gorgeous sunny weather that’s not too hot.
Guest post by: Adrienne Carrie-Hubbard
If you want to honeymoon over the winter there are plenty of options. You can experience world class skiing at Whistler, BC or enter a magical Christmas fairytale at the town of Leavenworth. Read on to learn the best honeymoon destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
When you think of Seattle you probably think of Frasier, Grey’s Anatomy and Starbucks. While all of those things are quintessential Seattle, it’s actually a great place to go for a romantic getaway. Seattle is a laid back city with tons of stuff to do. Start your trip downtown at Pike Place Market and stroll around the shops and restaurants. Across the street from Pike Place you can visit the original Starbucks coffee shop.
Next, head over to the some of the touristy spots like the Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihully Garden and Glass Exhibit at the Seattle Center. Finally, finish off your day with a trip up to the Space Needle for a romantic dinner at the rotating restaurant at the top of the needle.
Head across the border to Vancouver, British Columbia and check out all that this busy Canadian city has to offer. Start your day downtown and visit the Olympic Cauldron and Torch and do some shopping on trendy Robson Street.
Then, head over to Stanley Park for a romantic stroll around the seawall and visit the Vancouver Aquarium to see some exotic marine animals. If you like science and nature then a trip to the Telus World of Science might be your cup of tea. This interactive science museum is fun for all ages.
Take the Aquabus to Granville Island, popular tourist destination. Here you’ll find art galleries and public market. Have grab a beer and take a brewery tour at Granville Island Brewing or have dinner at one of the many great restaurants.
Just a short ferry ride from mainland British Columbia or Washington State is the beautiful city of Victoria located on Vancouver Island. Victoria, Canada is the capital city of British Columbia and known as the Garden City. This beautiful walkable town is the perfect romantic getaway.
Explore The Butchart Gardens, a 55 acre garden, go whale watching or visit one of the many museums and attractions downtown. You can take a stroll in Chinatown which is actually Canada’s oldest Chinatown and enjoy some authentic Chinese food for lunch. If you want to get a little dressed up head to the Fairmont Empress Hotel downtown for high tea with your sweetheart.
Portland Oregon has a reputation as a hipster city but this funky town is a great place to go for a honeymoon. The Portland International Rose Test Garden is a free public garden with thousands of roses in bloom. Right next to it is the Portland Japanese Garden that is also definitely worth a visit. With no sales tax, Portland is a shopper’s paradise.
Head over the Alberta Arts District neighborhood for great shopping and lots of fun restaurants. Portland is home to the world famous, Voodoo Donuts. Both locations of this funky pastry shop often have lines going out the door and down the street! One of the best places to stay in Portland is the McMennamins Kennedy School. This hotel is actually an elementary school that was built in 1915 and converted into a 57 room hotel. They have a courtyard restaurant, a bar and the old school auditorium was converted into a movie theatre.
La Conner, Washington
La Conner Washington is home to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival that takes place every April. This is the perfect time to visit this small seaside town. The Tulip Festival features millions of tulips and daffodils bursting into bloom. There are two main farms that are worth visiting, Tulip Town and Roozengaard. La Conner has many bed and breakfast hotels to choose from as well as plenty of gift and antique shops and tasty restaurants.
About two hours north of Vancouver BC is the town of Whistler and home to one of the world’s largest ski resorts, Whistler Blackcomb. If you like to ski or snowboard then Whistler is the perfect winter honeymoon destination. Known as one of the best places for winter sports on earth and home to the 2010 Olympic Games, Whistler is definitely a great place to visit.
Whistler village is also home to world class shopping and dining. If winter sports aren’t your thing there is plenty of opportunity to hang out at the lodge and sip drinks by the fire. The summer season is also a great time to visit Whistler. Hiking, biking and golf are all popular pastimes. You can also take the Peak to Peak Gondola between Whistler and Blackcomb or check out many of the nearby lakes and beaches.
Escape to a Bavarian Getaway right in the beautiful town of Leavenworth, with scenery to die for and architecture from southern Germany. This fairytale-like town is located about a 2 hour drive from Seattle in the Cascade Mountains. Designed as a Bavarian-style vacation destination, there’s are a ton of natural recreation opportunities provided by the mountains and the Wenatchee River. Leavenworth is great year round but Christmastime is the best time to go, as the town is routinely snow filled and covered in great lights. Plus, there are several holiday themed events to see, like the lighting of the tree in the town square, and a local children’s choir singing Christmas carols.
Snoqualmie Falls, Washington
Fans of the TV show Twin Peaks will be familiar with Snoqualmie Falls. The opening credits of Twin Peaks feature the iconic falls that are actually easily accessible and with more that 1.5 million annual visitors it’s one of the state’s most popular attractions. At the falls you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, observation deck, The Salish Lodge and the famous 270 foot waterfall. Less than an hour’s drive from downtown Seattle, Snoqualmie, Washington is a Twin Peaks wonderland with plenty of filming locations from the show you can visit.
If you go, go early so you can beat the crowds and get that iconic shot of the falls with The Great Northern Hotel in the background. Parking and admission are free. There are two observation platforms. The top area is an easy walk from the parking lot, but the lower area requires a hike. Be sure to bring a rain jacket and poncho and accept that you will get wet. The mist off the waterfall is incredibly powerful so don’t take anything down with you that you don’t want to get wet!
Olympic National Park, Washington
This national park on the west side of Washington State covers almost one million acres and includes three separate ecosystems! Your family can stare in awe at snow-capped alpine peaks and glaciers near Hurricane Ridge which is an easy day trip from Port Angeles. If you have three days to explore the park, plan a roughly counter-clockwise loop, starting at Port Angeles then following U.S. 101 west and south. It takes approximately 4h 4m to get from Seattle to Olympic National Park, including transfers.
The vast and varied landscape includes a temperate rainforest, radiating mountain range, large lowland lakes, wild rushing rivers, tidelands and saltwater beaches. The best way to see the Olympic Peninsula is by car. Many visitors like to drive from Aberdeen on northbound US-101 and “do the loop”, ending in Olympia, taking three or four days to visit the Olympic National Park and Forest area.
Willamette Valley Wine Country, Oregon
Willamette Valley is home to two-thirds of Oregon’s wineries and vineyards. The valley is known as one of the premier Pinot-noir producing areas. This area of Oregon is a perfect getaway destination for your honeymoon. There is plenty of places to stay from luxury resorts to cozy B&B’s.
While wineries are the centerpiece of any wine tourist’s itinerary, there are also other things to see and do like visiting an art gallery, biking, hiking or floating above wine country in a hot air balloon. You can also enjoy great restaurants and lots of shopping opportunities.
The Pacific Northwest has so many great towns to visit on your honeymoon. There is something for everyone no matter what season you go or what your interests are.
Where would you Honeymoon in the Pacific Northwest?
Adrienne Carrie-Hubbard is a travel and lifestyle blogger. She writes at Hubbard Family Travels where she helps families plan better vacations and believes adventure doesn’t have to stop once you have kids.