This summer we haven’t had the opportunity to take much vacation time so we decided we needed to do more day trips. Today was our first big day trip and after reaching our destination, which was about an hour long drive, it only took my husband about 30 minutes to say he was in holiday mode. My husband has a very distinct personality when holidaying, he is very relaxed, the kids don’t bother him, even when they’re fighting with each, he doesn’t care what we decide to do, he’s very “go with the flow”. It’s amazing that just a change in scenery can do this to us, can make us relax and just enjoy our surroundings. We don’t have any dishes to do, or groceries to buy, we are away from home and it is important for us to feel this, to let go of our everyday worries.
So on our first day trip we headed to Deception pass in Washington state. We had heard amazing things and read about great hiking trails and shore diving. We don’t dive but I am always looking for snorkel spots 😉.
Having no idea where we were going we turned on the waze app which took us directly to Deception Pass state park. When we arrived we realized there were two beaches so we checked each of them out first. Rosario beach looked small but had all these neat rocks off to the side and I thought if we were going to snorkel that looked like the place. Bowman Bay was larger, had a small playground for the kids and a pier, this seemed to be the best place for launching a paddle board or kayak (both of which we did not bring for this particular trip). It was a lovely spot and we got out walked down the pier and really soaked in the beauty of this serene location.
We decided we’d go find a store to load up on beach day snacks then come back and spend the day at Rosario beach. Originally we thought we’d head back into La Conner to find a store but as we were heading out we saw a sign in the opposite direction to Oak Harbor so on a whim decided to head that direction. I am SO glad we did.
Not too far down the road was the Deception Pass bridge, it is a sight in itself. This was honestly the highlight of my day. My husband has a love of bridges, he wants our house covered in images of bridges, so this was glorious for him as well.
We pulled out into one of the view points in the north side of the bridge and thought we were just going to see a lovely scenic view. It was so much more than that! I don’t do well with heights so I was having all kinds of vertigo but I managed to walk a good ten metres onto the bridge to enjoy this incredible sight.
Papa and L decided they were going to walk across the bridge and we’d pick them up on the other side. Driving across I realized it was actually quite a bit longer than I had thought and had two segments to it. Once we were on the other side we realized there were walking trails to go down below.
In Washington you need a discover Pass to park at the state parks and it’s $10 for the day or $30 for the year. We already have our yearly trip to Westport planned so we opted to get the yearly pass. That’s really a great value.
So we headed down and first went under the bridge just to aww over the sight of it, then proceeded down to the beach below. The trail wasn’t too difficult, L and I were literally hiking in our flip flops and we did fine.
It was truly amazing to view this spot from the top and from the bottom. Although the beaches here are rock and not sand the water is so gorgeous. At this particular spot for whatever reason the water is a beautiful turquoise blue, I have never seen water this color in this part of the world, I thought it was reserved for the more tropical locations.
After soaking in all this beauty we continued our journey to Oak Harbor. At this point we were starving, we were supposed to have stopped at a store hours ago. So instead of grabbing snacks and heading back to the beach we decided we’d sit and eat. I was certain I’d be able to find us a place on the water so I kept following the signs to the historic waterfront.
When we finally turned a corner to literally be waterfront there was a restaurant called Alfy’s, so in we went. They had two levels you could eat on, both facing the water. We ordered our food and headed up top, I was amazed it wasn’t packed. The whole placed was lined with huge windows with a stunning view. I was glad we decided to sit in for lunch. We strolled to the park across the street after lunch, they had a small market going on and there was a pier out in the water where the kids could see schools of little fish all swimming by.
Finally we made our way back to Rosario beach. When we checked it out on our way by in the morning no one was there, now in the early afternoon it was packed with people. We grabbed all our gear, found a spot and set up camp. There weren’t many people swimming and we now know why, it was COLD! My husband went in a few times, he’s okay with cold water, he used to go surfing in the winter. But even he was in and out quickly, saying it was “hurt your bones” cold. The kids wouldn’t go in past their knees.
The rocks off the side of the beach were a great little climbing area full of little tide pools with anemones and hermit crabs. As you may have guessed we did not attempt and snorkeling due to the frigid temperature of the water, however, I did dive in for a VERY quick swim just once. It actually felt nice and refreshing, but I wasn’t staying in.
One additional thing that really made this day trip fun was that there is a naval base just south of Deception Pass so we’d see fighter jets passing by overhead. It was pretty neat, they have such a powerful sound as they fly by.
Would we go to this area again? Absolutely! What a great day trip, it really felt like we had a bit of a vacation. If you’re having trouble booking vacation into your busy schedule try to plan a few day trips, it’s amazing how your mind relaxes with just one day away.
For this area where there was lots of hiking and rocky beaches I would recommend sandals that are more substantial than flip flops, that you can walk the rocky beaches, go through the water, and hike through the trails without having to keep switching shoes.
I would also recommend chairs for the rocky beach, laying down on your beach blanket just doesn’t seem to have the same comfort level on a bunch of rocks. We have these ones, which are backpacks and also have storage compartments, they are so lightweight that the kids can carry them 😁.