Since when is “bad” weather good news? When it’s a winter storm lashing the rocky coast of the Pacific Northwest.
Don’t get me wrong. The ocean-side highways of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon are spectacular during the summer months. But there’s nothing like making this trip (really more of a pilgrimage) from November to mid-March, better known to the locals as “Storm Watching Season.”
Truly hardy types might venture directly out into the elements, to feel the wind, the salt spray, and the “mighty ocean tossed.” But I prefer my storm watching from the comfort of a luxurious suite, preferably with a like-minded companion, maybe a fire or a hot tub, and definitely a glass (or two) of local wine.
From just north of the California border all the way up Highway 101 to Washington and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Vancouver Island, there’s hardly a cove along the Pacific Northwest coastline that doesn’t offer stunning access to some of the most powerful forces in nature. And the trifecta of rugged coastline, turbulent winter weather patterns, and gracious vacation homes combine to create a perfect storm of weather watching get-aways.
The west coast of Vancouver Island is arguably the most dramatic “must-visit” destination. And it’s no wonder. The landscape is a raw, wind-sculpted testament to the power and the beauty of the elements. Waves that have travelled, virtually unobstructed, across the Pacific can reach in excess of 12 metres. (For perspective, the tallest dinosaur who ever lived, Brachiosaurus, was about that height.) As a bonus, the area is rich with the legends of the First Nations people. If you can tear yourself away from the vistas, visit the Kwisitis Visitor Centre in Pacific Rim National Park to learn more about the Nuu-chah-nulth people, their traditions, and stories.
The closest vacation home to the Visitor Centre is this one: Located directly on famed Chesterman Beach right in Pacific Rim National Park. If it were any closer to the ocean, you’d need a life jacket!
If you’re not quite ready for the rugged isolation of Vancouver Island, Washington might be just the ticket. Consider a holiday rental that’s on the water, but also close to the bright lights and big city of Seattle.
It’s hard to believe this magnificent, cliff-top rental, with its unobstructed views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, is a scant 30 minutes from SEATAC International Airport!
If your storm-chasing adventures take you down the fabled Oregon Coast, you’re in for a real treat. Vacation accommodations include cabins, like this one, literally carved out of the rainforest on the edge of the sea.
And if your storm watching is intended as the backdrop for a proposal or milestone birthday or anniversary, why not go all out and treat yourself to a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
This incredible vacation home, in Port Orford, Oregon, is perched high on a secluded bluff and offers every possible luxury you can imagine. So you can do it all or do nothing at all. Either way, it’s time to check the weather forecast, pack a bag, and head for the West coast.