Discover seaside delights at this Washington destination
Written by James Sinks
If the picture-perfect beach hamlet of Seabrook feels like it is out of a movie, it’s by design.
Nestled between Gray’s Harbor and Pacific Beach a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Seattle, the resort town is modeled in part by Seaside, Florida, the tidy community that helped to inspire The Truman Show. In Seabrook, the starring attraction is one of the most striking stretches of coastline in Washington, set against a beachfront community peppered with fire pits, parks, eateries and promenades.
Seabrook invites you to do everything on foot. First opened in 2004 and now up to 475 houses—many of them vacation rentals with ocean views—the Cape Cod-evoking development follows the planning tenets of New Urbanism, with its twin goals of environmental sustainability and livability.
Instead of navigating oceans of asphalt and strip malls, Seabrook invites visitors to ditch their cars and stroll between neighborhoods, gathering spots, and a boutique-and-restaurant district, via a network of intersecting walkways and oyster-shell footpaths. There’s no gas station, but there’s a farm district with horses, and a mile of sand awaits at the bottom of three beach access trails.
The legend on the official resort map doesn’t show mileage: It shows how far you can walk in about five minutes.
Developer Casey Roloff, a University of Puget Sound alum who founded Seabrook with his wife, Laura, says the goal was not to just build and sell houses. It was about creating a place where their family would want to live. Like a proud parent, he leads walking tours of the resort on some Saturdays.
For thousands of years, this area was a hunting, gathering and fishing destination for the Quinault Tribe. Here, people made baskets, clothes and canoes, harvested salmon and razor clams, and hunted bear, deer and elk.
Today, it’s a playground, chockablock with options.
Want to relax? Melt into Spa Elizabeth for a massage, grab a page-turner at the aptly-titled Joie Des Livres (The Joy of Books) and head to Overlook Park to watch the sun set into the Pacific. The only thing that will improve the view is a Bordeaux or bubbly from Stowaway Wine Bar.
Kids to entertain? Splash in the in the indoor heated swimming pool and construct a tiny house from natural materials like seashells and sticks, and leave it among a neighborhood of others along the resort’s forested “Gnome Trail.”
Or, hoping to break a sweat? Rent a mountain bike at Duke’s and ply the latticework of trails on neighboring Department of Natural Resources property, skimboard on the beach, or stand-up paddleboard in the nearby Copalis Ghost Forest, where cedars that died in a massive 1700 earthquake still hunch alongside the river.
Afterward, your palate would love to get acquainted with the spicy margaritas at Koko’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar. Also, your kids won’t forgive you—and your partner probably won’t either—if you don’t make at least one trip to Sweet Life Ice Cream and Candy Shop.
The resort can also be a jumping-off point: A half hour south, you’ll find the wide-boulevard beach town of Ocean Shores, home to kayak-friendly canals, beach horseback rides and the blackjack tables at Quinault Beach Resort & Casino.
An hour north of Seabrook, get lost in the mossy rainforests and rugged seascapes of Olympic National Park. Hike to waterfalls, check out Lake Quinault, and strike an Instagram pose on Ruby Beach, where rocky seastacks, gnarls of driftwood and anemone-filled tidepools form the backdrop. Remember shoes: There’s not soft sand like at Seabrook, and you don’t want grimaces in your photos.
Vista Bake Shopwww.vistabakeshop.com
Koko’s Restaurant and Tequila Barwww.kokos-restaurant.com
Stowaway Wine Barwww.thestowaway winebarseabrookwa.com
Sweet Life Ice Cream and Candy Shop
Pacific Beach Yurts
Beach horseback rides
Joie Des Livres