The cities, towns, and rural outposts that dot the coast along the Salish Sea—a waterway and its bays and channels stretching from the Pacific Ocean into the interior of the Pacific Northwest—offer a diversity of coastal living for all ages, industries, and lifestyles. (Read more about places to live here.)
Along with the beautiful landscape, the Salish Sea is a popular place to live thanks to its abundance of activities and opportunities, no matter your hobbies. If you’re thinking about a move to the Salish Sea, here are just a few of the activities that await.
It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is a haven for outdoor lovers, whether you prefer to explore on foot, with a paddle, or anything in between. Opportunities include:Hiking: With most of the western side of the Salish Sea at the foot of the Olympic Mountains, there are hundreds of trails to explore just a short drive from nearly everywhere. What’s more, nearly every town on the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas has local trails of varying degrees of difficulty to get you off the beaten path in a hurry.
- Beach walks: Most of Washington’s beaches are open to the public, with hundreds of miles of walking opportunities and sunrise views. Our favorites include Port Townsend’s Glass Beach, which is covered in beautiful beach glass, and the driftwood-laden Fay Bainbridge Park on Bainbridge Island with Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier views.
- Biking: There’s something for everyone willing to put in the pedal power: Back country roads, designated mountain bike trails, a climb up Hurricane Ridge, or the mostly protected 130-mile Olympic Discovery Trail from any of its numerous access points.
- Paddle sports: With so many calm bays and inlets, it’s easy to find a spot to launch your kayak or stand-up paddleboard. The beloved Kitsap Peninsula Water Trail covers 350 miles of shoreline alone.
- Boating: With marinas dotting every harbor town, nearly anyone can get into boating—or at least make a friend with a boat. Many yacht clubs host regattas and other events up and down the coastline.
Pacific Northwesterners love a good festival—and there are plenty to be had. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Lavender Festival (Sequim): Lavender lovers descend on Sequim in late July to visit farms and load up on luxuriously scented goods. Many of the farms are open throughout lavender season, as well.
- Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival (Port Angeles): This summertime favorite is exactly what it sounds like—a celebration of the PNW’s favorite crustacean in its many food forms.
- Wooden Boat Festival (Port Townsend): Held in September, the Wooden Boat Festival is the largest in North America.
- Viking Fest (Poulsbo): Scandinavia comes alive each May at Viking Fest, with a parade, street fair, road race, and lots of music.
You can take a ferry to Seattle for big shows, but there’s plenty to see on this side of the water, with venues offering local and national acts. Try your luck or catch a comedy show at one of several casinos, enjoy outdoor concerts on summer nights in many local towns, or take in the homegrown talent at any of the numerous theaters.
Food + Drink
Small towns don’t equal slim pickings. Kitsap, Jefferson, and Clallam counties on the Salish Sea boast an array of accomplished and acclaimed restaurants. Some favorites include:
- On Bainbridge Island, chef Brendan McGill, owner of Seastar and Bruciato, has been compared to Seattle greats like Tom Douglas and Matt Dillon.
- Enjoy artisanal deli eats at Butcher & Baker Provisions in Port Gamble.
- The long line at Sluy’s Norwegian Bakery in Poulsbo is well worth the wait.
- Sample casual fare on the water at The Boat Shed in Bremerton.
- Stop by Finnriver Farm & Cidery in Chimacum to tour the barn and sample craft cider, grab a bite, attend a concert, and shop for farmware.
- Grab a down-home breakfast at Granny’s Cafe outside of Port Angeles.
- Indulge on locally harvested oysters at Hama Hama Oyster Saloon near Belfair.