The Seaside Loop A 3 Day Itinerary
BY RICHARD PORTER FOR SEATTLE NORTHCOUNTRY
There’s something magical, mesmerizing, and transformative about life in, on, and around the salt water, and the Salish Sea is no exception. An integral element of the Coastal Communities of Seattle NorthCountry, it’s responsible for giving us delicious seafood, enriching downtowns, and inspiring arts and craftsmanship. The saltwater offers a sparkling view, a respite, and a place to play.
If you’re not familiar with our neck of the Salish Sea (sometimes called Puget Sound, though Puget Sound is just one part of the larger Salish Sea), it’s a remarkable inland body of salt water that’s home to many thousands of diverse species. Snohomish County offers more than 90 miles of coastline as well as estuaries and offshore islands waiting to be explored.
The Coastal Communities of the Salish Sea offer a briny taste of the True PNW.
HOW TO GET THERE
Seattle NorthCountry is comprised of more than 2,000 square miles of land tucked between the Salish Sea and the Cascade Mountains, just 15 minutes north of Seattle proper.
Your best bet for getting here is to fly into Paine Field (PAE) in Everett.
Paine Field is a boutique, three-terminal airport that’s easy to navigate and offers easy, simple access to the Greater Seattle Area and the Pacific Northwest.
You can also drive here easily enough via Interstate 5 or U.S. Route 2 – two interstate roadways that converge in the middle of the county.
Here’s your three-day plan for exploring the Coastal Communities of the Salish Sea.
DAY 1 – SEASIDE EDMONDS, MUKILTEO & HOTEL INDIGO
Start your day at the beach in Edmonds. Tour the small art galleries that the seaside city is known for.
Cole Art Gallery & Art Studio is a fine choice for art lovers, both for viewing paintings and sculptures and for taking one of their many art classes.
Grab some happy hour appetizers at the Salish Sea Brewing Co., then make your way north along the coastline to Mukilteo.
Catch the sunset at the Mukilteo Waterfront. Walk the driftwood-strewn beach and explore the historic lighthouse. You’d be cheating yourself if you didn’t stop by the iconic Ivar’s walk-up fish and chips window at the Mukilteo wharf (the batter on the fish is oh so crispy!). Lodge at the Hotel Indigo on the Everett Waterfront. This luxe hotel has front-row views of the Everett Marina, with balconies that overlook Gedney, Camano, and Whidbey Islands. The hotel’s motif is a modern nod to the maritime and aviation industries that have long defined the region.
Don’t forget a quick nightcap at the hotel’s Jetty Bar and Grille and a restorative dip in the heated saline pool.
DAY 2 – EVERETT, JETTY ISLAND, TULALIP RESORT CASINO
Wake up at Hotel Indigo and get ready to explore the very best of Everett. An old mill city with charming downtown architecture – Everett’s historic brick buildings are filled with startup businesses and restaurants that line walkable streets. Start your day downtown at Funko, where fans come from far and wide to visit the headquarters of this pop culture toymaker. An appealing combination of amusement park, retail toy store, and popular culture archive, Funko is an attraction you’ll just have to witness firsthand in order to get the full experience.
Book a custom pottery-making session at the Salish Ceramic Studio for the perfect romantic afternoon date.
You can throw your own creation and have it fired in the kiln on-site. While your pottery is firing, check out J Ramen and Sushi a few doors down.
Then, head back down to the waterfront and rent kayaks to paddle out to Jetty Island. There’s a kayak rental kiosk at the 10th Street Boat Launch on the marina. Jetty Island is a remarkable two-mile-long man-made island with a sandy beach that faces the Olympic Mountains at sundown. Dozens of species of birds migrate to Jetty Island, and the sandy driftwood and beach grass are atypical of your average PNW beach.
From the Everett waterfront, drive five miles north to Tulalip for dining at the casino and lodging at the Tulalip Resort Casino. Enjoy a couples’ massage, an evening at the blackjack table, or a world-class show in this luxury A A A Four-Diamond resort. There are plenty of late-night dining options at one of the four restaurants on the property.
DAY 3 – STANWOOD & CAMANO ISLAND
Adjacent to Tulalip Resort Casino, you’ll find the Seattle Premium Outlets. Perfect for a morning of shopping before you set out to explore further, this international destination offers more than 100 stores in a covered, open-air setting.
Finish your day (and your Coastal trip) exploring the Scandinavian heritage of nearby downtown Stanwood. SAAL Brewing Co. is a brewpub built in a cool old adobe firehouse. Besides having delicious craft beer on tap, they also make savory vegan appetizers, which you can take to go as you explore the coastal beaches nearby.
You hit many of the highlights along the way, but there’s still plenty more waiting to be discovered.
End your day at the Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park on Camano Island. One of the few Salish Sea islands that are accessible by a bridge (as opposed to ferry), the views from Camano are truly stunning, with panoramic beaches that face Snohomish County, the Cascade foothills beyond, and the white muscular mountains that we’re known for.
As the sun sets on day three of your Salish Sea journey, you’ve seen a lot of the saltwater splendor that Seattle NorthCountry has to offer.
You hit many of the highlights along the way, but there’s still plenty more waiting to be discovered. So much in fact, that a return visit just might be necessary. And while you’ve covered a lot of ground in a short amount of time, from the terminus of Camano Island you’re only 45 minutes from where the journey began at Paine Field.
See the coastal communities right! Visit Seattle NorthCountry this spring to dip your toes in the salt water and experience the best of the maritime in the Pacific Northwest.