Northwest Expansion: Second Home and Vacation Spots in Seattle and Beyond
There’s a lot to love about living in the Seattle area. Super cool neighborhoods host a variety of activates from unique shopping diversions to pub crawls and delectable foodie scenes. Art lovers can browse galleries, check out esoteric bookstores, attend the many concerts and shows and really, just about any urban attraction one can envision. But another benefit of living here is being so very close to the relaxing natural splendor that surrounds it on all sides. An incredible variety of landscapes and outdoor environments are at hand, with smaller towns and more laid-back lifestyles available whenever one needs to get away from the fast-paced city vibe and decompress with some peace and quiet.
There’s a great deal of loveliness these nearby natural havens in the Puget Sound area hold. This legendary stretch of water is almost mystical. A sheltered extension of the Pacific Ocean, it’s a placid place surrounded by evergreens and looming mountains just beyond its shores. Communities outside of Seattle’s urban influence here settle back into a more rural vibe, with properties offering everything from waterfront views to lots with loads of open space and small-town feels. Further inland to the east, you’ll find winter skiing enclaves that also cater to hikers in the summer. It’s no wonder that it’s a popular market for buying second homes or vacation getaways. Trading in a concrete jungle for greener pastures from time to time can be just the ticket for a balanced life. Here’s an overview of what you can expect buying that special refuge for yourself in the Puget Sound area.
The market for second homes and vacation properties in the Puget Sound area has been pretty hot for some time now. And that’s not too hard to understand. As a natural extension of the growth that Seattle has seen in the past couple of decades, the inviting properties here are absolutely gorgeous. Stunning views that look like they are out of a maritime storybook are just about everywhere. Lush tree growth signals the respite of nature that can rejuvenate weary city folk. Rugged cliffs and inspiring scenic drives through the Cascades afford the stuff of dreamy jaunts. Exploring the waters from self-powered paddling conveyances to relaxing cruises can mean either discovering a private cove or enjoying orca-watching with a nice drink in hand.
All of these many allures, plus the ability to either buy or build lovely homes on expansive lots has attracted a lot of buyers. As one could imagine, this has led to somewhat limited inventory in recent years. So while there are still plenty of wonderful buying opportunities to accommodate all manner of prospective homeowners, do come expecting a little healthy competition for some of these wonderful spots. You can also expect a variety of options. Romantic cozy cabins perfect for couples are popular here, often just a short walk to the shore. Need something bigger for the whole family? Larger properties provide more expansive structures on repurposed farmland or edging natural open space. You can still find a dream vacation home here, it just may take a little more time and patience. And part of that effort means homing in on the area that makes the most sense for you.
The Ocean’s Call
Starting with communities that are actually around the water itself, there’s an incredible selection of fantastic destinations to consider. Closer to Seattle proper are places like Bainbridge Island. Even though it’s a short ferry ride from town, expect a totally different experience. With tight-knit communities and tons of open space, it can feel like you’re living in a bygone era where life came at a slower pace. At the same time, all of the modern conveniences of suburbia are here as well, so you’ll never feel that isolated. There are almost 2,000 waterfront homes and more in open green space.
Further along traveling north in Puget Sound, another fantastic destination for a second home would be Whidbey Island. This ruggedly beautiful place is home to three towns that people love to vacation in — Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Langley. Pretty much anywhere you go, you will be getting fantastic views of both the ocean and the mountains. Properties trend toward larger lots, meaning those who want a lot of recreational space will find ample room. There’s hiking everywhere and taking a boat tour through the stunning Deception Pass is pretty much a rite of passage. Part artist colony, part bedroom community, part tourist attraction, there’s a lot of different properties that can appeal to all sorts of buyers. And Whidbey is just one of so many waterfront communities here.
Among the most famous and stunning stretches of Puget Sound destinations are the San Juan Islands. Tidal pools beckon explorers young and old to meander around the rocky shores and visit with some of the local critters who make their home at ebb tide. Kayaking and whale watching offer even more ways to get in touch with nature. Charming lighthouses like Cattle Point and Lime Kiln will offer wonder from bygone eras. But all the ocean fun isn’t reserved for Puget Sound. Washington’s central coast is right on the open Pacific Ocean, a whole different vibe. Quaint villages like Seabrook are a gateway to the stunning waterfront areas with rocky landscapes that look like something out of a fairytale. Pine-lined shores are fantastic for the views alone, let alone the hiking, kite flying and camping opportunities.
For those who prefer to live at higher altitudes, the Puget Sound area has some pretty amazing second-home communities to consider. A terrific place to start would be in the many communities east of Seattle proper. Here, one will find some of the premier skiing destinations in Washington state. Places like Snoqualmie Pass are legendary for their downhill runs. Mountain properties offer secluded sanctuaries among the peaks and easy access to snow sports all winter long and great fishing and hiking during the warmer months. Towns like Snoqualmie and North Bend offer great lots, luxury condos and fantastic alpine-designed homes that can really make you feel away from it all.
Access to nearby lakes and rivers means that whether you’re an angler, a swimmer or prefer to do some boating, you’ll have your fill all summer long. Check out Lake Chelan — which is technically a fjord due to its narrowness — for an exemplary mountain location. It’s a place where you can be wine tasting one day while boating the next. And yes, it snows in these mountains, too, so get ready to get your snow sports on! National forests and summiting opportunities can make you forget your workplace woes as you retreat back into vacation mode. And different towns can have different charms. Many are as modern as can be with all the amenities you could want. Others will offer rustic charms like former logging communities or Old West relics. Whatever you want your second home to be, you will find it in the Puget Sound area.