With Memorial Day fast approaching, we know summer vacation is on everyone’s mind. For Seattle families it doesn’t get any better, or let’s face it easier, than heading to the coast to find miles of sandy beaches and the relaxation you crave after a busy school year. If you’re ready to trade the bustling city for a peaceful summer escape, Seabrook makes for an unbelievably easy family vacation, and not just because everything you need is only five minutes away (for real!). Read on for the inside scoop on this epic vacation spot.
Book Your Beach House
Finding that just-right beach cottage is the first step in planning a memorable family vacation to Seabrook. With so many rentals to choose from, narrowing it down to find exactly what your family needs is pretty easy to do. Seabrook’s got pet-friendly cottages, cottages with ocean views and cottages that sleep anywhere from two to twenty-plus people. Each one comes with different perks like hot tubs, gas grills, fire pits, toy closets and even baby gear (think high chairs or pack-n-plays) that make renting an oh-so-easy option for families. Plus, each rental has its own distinct personality, with cheeky names to match like "Tide Together,” “Hook, Wine and Sinker” and “Seas the Day.”
One of the best parts of renting a vacation home at Seabrook is that it can be your home away from home. The full (and usually well-stocked) kitchen allows families to bring food from home and cooking meals instead of eating out all the time. And if you forgot anything, or don’t feel like dragging an ice-laden cooler out to the coast, you can rely on the Front Street Market to fill in the gaps. They're open seven days a week, and have just about everything you need, including those baby wipes you forgot at home.
Tips for Choosing the Right Cottage
While you’re browsing Seabrook’s rental cottages, check floor plans and pictures carefully. Some cottages feature loft bedrooms, accessed by ladders, that might give pause to toddler parents, but would be awesome for grade schoolers. Finding your cabin on the property map is also a good idea. Based on what your kiddos love (think: the beach or playground vs. walking trails), you may want to be closer to one part of town than another. But when it really comes down to it, Seabrook‘s thoughtfully designed community means you’re really never more than five minutes from where you want to be.
Play at the Beach…
After you’ve booked the perfect cottage, it’s time to think about recreation. Seabrook’s big draw is definitely its expansive Pacific Ocean shoreline. It’s the pristine beach Seattle families long for (sorry, Golden Gardens and Alki), with soft sand that was made for sculpting sandcastles, digging moats and burying yourself …or at least your legs. It’s also where you’ll find plenty of wide-open space to fly a kite, kick a ball around, toss a Frisbee or even play beach volleyball. For many, it’s the place to give skimboarding a try. And in winter, you can dig up delicious razor clams; then bring them home for a big clambake dinner with the kids (psst… remember your license for this one).
However your family plans to spend they day at the beach, be sure you’ve got beach chairs, a blanket, a sunshade (it you’ve got it), plenty of sunscreen and provisions to keep the kids happy so they can keep playing. Both of the beach entrances involve a lot of stairs, so strollers and wagons are a no go. Instead, big beach bags and willing helpers is all you need to lug your gear back and forth from your nearby cottage.
… and Beyond
Get out and ride bikes
One thing you’ll notice at Seabrook is people out riding bikes—all the time and everywhere. It’s no surprise biking one of the top two ways to get around (walking is the other). The roads were specifically designed with safety in mind. Jump on a bike and head out to explore this charming community from your front door. We’re sure you’ll find unexpected treasures along the way. Although you never know what’s around the next corner, if we were to guess, we’d say bocce ball and shuffleboard courts, multi-use trails and hidden courtyards where families can stop to play games or build a fire on a cool night (hint: the outdoor fireplaces and pits make really good s’mores). Mount your bikes on the back of the car, or rent beach bikes from Bucks NW so you don’t have to schlep too much gear from home.
Insider tip: Seabrook has partnered with the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to build some killer mountain bike trails around the property. If you want to introduce the kids to the sport, hit the DNR trails. You’ll find them off Narnia Trail that you can pick up in the Farm District.
Take a family hike
A network of hiking trails winds through the town. While these trails will get you from here to there, depending on where you’re staying, they’re also fun to explore just because. Of all the hikes to take, our favorite is the gnome trail. You’ll find it mid- neighborhood, behind the stump treehouse (another place your kids will love). That glimpse of color you see in the forest is probably a fairy house. Once one catches your eye, you'll be hooked, and before you know it, you’ve wandered deep into the forest in search of the next gone home, fairy encampment or mushroom find. Truly a magical experience for kids, this trail is an easy one with so many hidden treasures to find.
Make a splash a the indoor pool
Because even in the summertime, we can’t count on sunny skies in the Pacific Northwest, Seabrook has an indoor pool and hot tub. It’s open for family swim from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. The pool gets pretty busy on the weekends. Our suggestion: hit the pool in the morning, before the marine layer burns off. Then head to the beach in the afternoon when sun is more likely to show itself. Water play all day is definitely the way to go here.
Have fun near the Farm District
There’s a reason playgrounds are a parent's best friend. Not only do they get the kids outside, but if you’re lucky, an extra long play session will tire the kids out just in time for nap. Even on vacation, simple pleasures like time at the playground are a treat. Walk or bike to the playground at Seabrook, just outside the Farm District. It’s got everything kids want including swings, slides, places to climb and a zip line. Basketball courts (balls are out for guests to use) and the dog park are right there too. Just beyond the playground is the Farm District. Follow the trail to the barn where you may spot horses (please don’t feed them or enter the barn) and will surely see chickens and ducks just outside. There’s a community garden here too. Residents grow everything from fruits and veggies to flowers in these plots that are open for you to explore.
Go on a Guided Tour
When you’re ready to get out and explore, head to Buck’s NW in downtown Seabrook to find all the adventures. Born and raised on the Pacific Coast, Buck is a wealth of knowledge and is passionate about introducing families to the great outdoors. If you can think up an outdoor adventure, chances are Buck can guide you through it. The summer months are the perfect time to book a kayak tour. We recommend the Ghost Forest Tour down the Copalis River. It’s a two- to three-hour guided history lesson where you’ll learn about a devastating tsunami that hit the Pacific Coast in 1700, leaving these ghost trees in its wake. There is no minimum age for this guided trip—families can ride in tandem kayaks so kids of all ages can participate safely. Other guided experiences through Buck’s NW include hiking, biking, surfing (it’s a year-round sport here), fishing and SUP. Even if your family doesn’t need a lesson or a tour, Buck’s NW is a great place to rent what you need to adventure on.
Insider tip: Capture your Seabrook beach adventures with a Pink Fin Photography lifestyle family photo session.
Where to Grab a Bite at Seabrook
Pretty much everyone in Seabrook heads to the Vista Bakeshop for their morning coffee and a bite for breakfast. It’s why you’ll usually find a short line out the door, or folks milling around waiting for their coffee order to come up. Pastries are the bakeshop’s specialty, and no matter what you order (sweet or savory) you won’t be disappointed.
When it comes to lunch and dinner, there area a few family-friendly spots in town to choose from. Koko’s Restaurant & Tequila Bar is where you’ll find modern Latin cuisine and epic ocean views. They offer indoor and outdoor dining options, and feature flavorful and fresh takes on Latin cuisine, with lots of GF, vegetarian and vegan dishes. Our tip? Order the Pablano-Cashew Enchiladas when you go. Frontager’s Pizza Co. is another option with total kid-appeal. It’s a serious pie house serving up gourmet, brick-oven, Northwest-style pizza, salads and Italian sodas. With indoor, outdoor and take-out options, it’s hard to go wrong here. You’ll find amazing chicken sandwiches at the Cookie’s Country Chicken food truck (open Thursdays through Saturdays), and the new Rising Tide Tavern, opened by two Canlis alums, serves up gourmet pub fare in Town Center.
Finish if all off with a treat from Sweet Life, the cutest little ice cream and candy shop you've ever seen. They make small batch, organic ice cream that holds its own against anything you’d find in the big city, and house an array of retro and familiar candy favorite as well as bean-to-bar chocolates (be sure to ask for the seafoam) and other too-sweet treats. If you’re thinking dessert with an ocean view, we’re right there with you.
Shop at Seabrook’s Town Center
Seabrook’s Town Center now has more shops than ever (with others on their way). Top on the list for families to check out is Brooklets Toys. Filled from floor to ceiling with top toy brands kids and parents love, it’s the place to go before you hit the beach—check out the ice cream cone sand toy set—or when you need a few new toys to keep the kids busy on the drive home (hint: the woodland fairy peel-and-stick booklet will keep the kids busy all the way to Olympia.). Right next door is Magnolia’s Clothing Boutique, a shop that understands moms want to be both stylish and comfy. Head in to find your next soft tee, cozy sweatshirt or great pair of jeans. When it comes to logo wear, Tides by Seabrook has what you need, whether it’s beanies, trucker hats or your new favorite hoodie.
Launch Other Adventures
Another Seabrook plus is its location. It’s an easy launching point to some of the most scenic, out-of-the-way spots in Washington. Add a day trip adventure to your stay when you head north to Kalaloch, where you can check out the famous Tree of Life. Or head to Lake Quinault to enjoy the peace and quiet of the rainforest and visit the Valley of the Rainforest Giants, home to some of the world’s oldest trees. Both are about an hours drive north of Seabrook.
Good to know: Seabrook launched a concierge service in 2021, so if you need dinner reservations, childcare services, or help booking appointments or tours locally, all you need to do is call or email.
Seabrook Vacation Rentals
24 Front St.
Pacific Beach, WA 98571
— Allison Sutcliffe & Kristina Moy
All photos courtesy the writer, unless noted
Editor’s note: This trip was paid for by Seabrook, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.
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