Galentine’s Day Escapes in the Northwest

Being single on Valentine’s Day can be miserable if you’re surrounded by couples who are doting on each other, but there’s no reason to have to suffer through the holiday when you can enjoy a fabulous Galentine’s escape instead. Coined by Leslie Knope on “Parks and Recreation,” it makes the ideal excuse for enjoying time away with the girls.

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

San Juan Island, Washington

Easily accessible via a scenic ferry ride from Anacortes, or a short flight from Seattle, San Juan Island offers a retreat that can be filled with relaxation and outdoor adventure. If the weather cooperates, you can rent a bike and explore the island on two wheels, or a kayak to paddle across glistening blue waters, watching for wildlife like harbor seals, otters, bald eagles, porpoise and even orca whales. The town of Friday Harbor boasts numerous art galleries and eclectic shops, several museums and a host of outstanding eateries with menus often based on locally-sourced ingredients, including produce, herbs and fresh seafood.

Stay at Friday Harbor House, an intimate inn on a prominent bluff, and you can enjoy rooms with magnificent water views, cozy fireplaces and oversized Whirlpools. Meals are offered too and feature farm-fresh produce and herbs from the inn’s garden.

Seattle skyline

Seattle, Washington

Seattle makes an amazing destination for getting away with your best friends. There’s a good reason it’s often referred to as the Emerald City, surrounded by the sparkling waters of Puget Sound to the west and Lake Washington the east, along with endless green forests and breathtaking mountains, from soaring Mount Rainier to the impressive peaks of the Olympics. Look forward to all sorts of cultural attractions, like the highly rated EMP Museum, the Pacific Science Center and the Seattle Art Museum, as well as browsing the iconic Pike Place Market to watch fishmongers toss the fresh catch of the day. If shopping is your thing, you’ll find over 1,000 places to choose from right in the downtown area. And, when it comes to dining, you’ll have your pick of some of the best offerings in the entire country, especially when it comes to seafood.

Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend

Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend, Washington

Fort Worden offers a slice of paradise on the Olympic Peninsula near the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend. Once an active military base, today, the park features accommodations in old officer’s quarters, ranging from small homes to massive six-bedroom houses. There are miles and miles of trails to hike, beautiful sandy beaches for beach combing, a Marine Science Center that offers the chance to explore the local underwater world, and the Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum which focuses on Harbor Defenses of the Puget Sound. In town, you’ll find numerous art galleries and boutiques, welcoming cafes and a wealth of outstanding eateries.

Kalalock Lodge gazebo, Olympic National Park

Kalaloch Lodge, Olympic National Park, Washington

If you’re looking for a rugged retreat that offers the chance to enjoy ocean views, beach combing and lush rainforest, considered a Kalaloch Lodge getaway. This classic seaside retreat is part of Olympic National Park and sits along a magnificent stretch of coastline overlooking the Pacific. Go hiking in unspoiled wilderness areas, look for driftwood and shells on the beach, and watch for whales that pass by offshore. Accommodation is in rustic cabins set atop a bluff that provide partial to panoramic ocean views, and most include a fully-equipped kitchen or kitchenette. Bring your raincoats, your hiking boots, and some of your favorite books or games – you’re unlikely to get a good cell signal, so this is a destination that’s ideal for re-connecting with your friends and taking a break from electronic gadgets.

Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon

This fun and quirky city ranks high for its microwbrews, food trucks and shopping, as well as its numerous green spaces. There is no other place in the nation with as many clusters of unique food carts, cooking up dishes like Porklandia Pulled Pork on a Jalapeno Cornbread Waffle and reindeer sausage. When you want to soak up natural beauty, hit one of many scenic hiking trails that lead to waterfalls right outside town, or stroll the famous International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden. Like to bargain shop? Portland has more vintage stores per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. When you find yourself in need of energy, legendary Voodoo Doughnuts offers a sugar high to keep you going.

Sunriver Resort, Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon

Located on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range, nestled between snow-covered peaks and the high-desert plateau of Central Oregon, Bend is an outdoor lovers mecca that offers a unique blend of impressive scenery and recreation along with cosmopolitan sophistication, with more world-class breweries per-capita than any other city in the entire state. This picturesque mountain town is also home to a number of excellent resorts like Sunriver, set at the foot of the lush Cascades Mountains across 3,300 acres on the Deschutes River. It features four gorgeous golf courses, the opportunity for horseback rides and rafting, as well as seven dining options, a day spa, a fitness center and an outdoor pool.

Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Like wine and waterfalls? Start out your getaway by hiking to one of the countless number of waterfalls in the region. Afterwards, you can experience over 30 wineries and tasting rooms in this area that borders Washington State to the north. The wineries span the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area through 40 miles of open roads with jaw-dropping views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.  Many offer tours along with special events featuring new releases, delicious pairings and barrel tastings.

Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Oregon

Head to Seaside, a popular holiday destination along the northern Oregon coast, and you can take advantage of a beautiful three-mile stretch of beach and all sorts of amusements. If the weather doesn’t allow for lounging on the sand, you’ll find lots to do indoors too, like visiting the Seaside Aquarium and feeding the sea lions, or bringing out the kid in yourselves with a visit to the Funland Arcade, which features bumper cars, pinball, video games, skee ball and a host of carnival-type amusements.

Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley, Idaho

Named for its bright blue skies and frequent sunny weather, Sun Valley is ideal for slope-seeking gals. It boasts two ski slopes, Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain, but if all of you aren’t into skiing, there are activities for all, including a tubing hill at Dollar Mountain, where a lift will whisk you to the top to take a circular tube down at rocket fast speeds. The town showcases world-famous ice performances all year round, and visitors can glide across the very same ice that’s played host to countless Olympians. Sun Valley Resort offers special packages that include a sleigh ride on the mountain to a delicious meal at Trail Creek Cabin, an upscale eatery with a seasonal menu of New American cuisine.