With its majestic vistas and endless waterways, the Pacific Northwest provides one opportunity for exploration after the next. The region’s fascinating heritage speaks from every charming coastal town and bustling urban center along the shores. Seattle is perhaps the best known city of the region, and it’s certainly worth a visit for the views alone (see above). But there’s far more than the Emerald City to explore. And lucky for Sea Ray owners, navigating this splendor is simple, especially when you add the right vehicle to the equation. We recently took to the road with two great pairings—a GMC Sierra 1500 Denali with a Sea Ray 230 SLX, and a GMC Acadia Denali with a 19 SPX—in search of unforgettable sights and hidden gems of the Pacific Northwest. The following are just a few of the region’s highlights.
San Juan Islands via Anacortes, Washington
A must-stop on any journey to the Pacific Northwest, the San Juan Islands offer beauty and variety unlike any other, with so many destinations to visit that it’s nearly impossible for the area to become ordinary. Located on the north end of Fidalgo Island, Anacortes proves itself as a perfect boutique village for sampling local eateries and is an excellent port to launch a getaway to the San Juan Islands. Cruise to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island to explore local shops and cuisine at this charming, walkable seaport. Back on the water, experience one of the region’s most magnificent opportunities: whale watching. From May to October, pods of orcas can be spotted in the waters throughout the islands. In addition, the San Juan Islands are home to a myriad of wildlife, including sea lions, seals and seabirds.
Port Townsend, Washington
For those seeking to embrace the beauty of the Pacific Northwest, look no further than Port Townsend. Located just outside Seattle on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, this coastal port is surrounded by water on three sides. With its elegant Victorian architecture, deep cultural roots and abundant natural beauty, Port Townsend allows you to truly embrace the Pacific Northwest lifestyle on land and sea. The cuisine is not to be missed, with a multitude of farm-fresh local options. On the water, enjoy seasonal whale-watching opportunities and immediate access to Port Townsend Bay and bustling Puget Sound.
A mere 11 miles from downtown Seattle, Renton exudes classic small-town charm on the southeastern shore of Lake Washington. With 22 miles of freshwater to explore in your Sea Ray, the state’s second-largest natural lake holds plenty of opportunity for sightseeing and entertaining. Dip in for water sports and create unforgettable memories. While out on the water, discover the luxurious Mercer Island and marvel at the Seattle skyline from one of the best vantage points in the city. And with the friendly team at Lake Union Sea Ray nearby, great service is always available.
Situated at the northwest corner of the state at the mouth of the Columbia River, Astoria offers a perfect access point to the Pacific Ocean. This small town is home to only 10,000 people, yet boasts a rich history. It is the oldest American settlement west of the Rockies, and Meriwether Lewis and William Clark famously explored the region in 1805. Traveling up the region’s largest river, one can take in the Washington and Oregon coastlines from the helm of a Sea Ray. On land, be sure to take in the Astoria Column, a 125-foot monument built in 1926 to celebrate the settlement of the West. From the top, visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of the Pacific, Youngs Bay and the Columbia River, making the 164-step climb well worth the effort. For boating questions or needs, Trudeau’s Sea Ray in nearby Portland is ready to assist.
After discovering the charms of Astoria, we steered our GMC Sierra and GMC Acadia down the coast along Highway 101 to discover more oceanfront ports, including the popular town of Seaside, Oregon. With sandy beaches, lush forests and blue Pacific waters, there’s no end to this region’s possibilities when you combine your Sea Ray, a dependable GMC and your imagination.