Winter is coming. People are walking around in sweaters at night, legs are hidden in longer pants, and hot beverages are pleasant to drink in the morning again. The snow excitement is growing as ski movies begin to pop up and advertisements for discounted season passes to your local mountain are becoming more prevalent and harder to ignore. Just because you might be packing away your tank tops and shorts doesn’t mean you have to start planning city-based weekend activities. Sure, maybe you don’t want to spend a night camping in 0-degree weather, but the Outdoor Project has loads of adventures for you to capitalize on in the coming fall and winter months. What’s even better is that we’ve done the research for you and found some of the coziest, unique Airbnbs in Washington.
The following listings are organized by location, and they are all within close proximity to an Outdoor Project trip. Don’t feel limited, however, by just these adventures. Are you trying to avoid snow for as long as possible? Stay at a lower elevation and seek out some of our hikes or water-based trips. Do you want to relax in a hot tub after a long day of ski touring? We’ve got you covered for that, too. If you want to branch out of Washington, you can also check out our blog post about similar places to stay in Oregon.
Have you ever dreamed about spending a night up in a tree? This beautiful space has been converted into a livable home just 15 minutes outside Port Angeles, Washington. Not only will the host deliver a daily breakfast to your tree-house oasis, but she also provides farm fresh eggs and goats milk from her backyard. Once you’re ready to explore, you have just a short ride into downtown.
Port Angeles sits on the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula along the shore of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Right outside Port Angeles you can access the Klahhane Ridge Trail, which offers “panoramic vistas of the Olympic mountains, the Straight of Juan de Fuca, Victoria and the Northern Cascades.”
Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands, and it’s only accessible by ferry, boat, or private seaplanes. You can step off the dock and you’re (almost) home in this cottage by the water. Drink your morning coffee while watching the boats come into the harbor, then head off for your adventure in Moran State Park. Mount Constitution is the highest point in the San Juan Islands, and on a clear day you can see the Rosario Straight, Mount Baker, and Mount Rainer. Orcas Island also has great access to kayaking, sailing, and canoe trips. There are tons of nearby islands that offer overnight camping if you’re feeling adventurous and want to take your vessel of choice out for some exploration.
Deming, Washington, is close to both Mount Baker and the Northern Cascades. It’s also one of the closest communities to the ski area, so treat yourself with a stay in this beautiful mountain chalet. Hit up the hot tub after a long day of skiing, enjoy the wrap-around deck, or sit in front of a crackling fire.
If resort skiing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of ski touring, snowshoeing and hiking opportunities nearby. One great trip is Table Mountain, which is located in the Northern Cascades. The trail is short (1.5 miles up) but steep, and it boasts some of the most beautiful views of the surrounding peaks.
Bellingham is the northernmost city in the contiguous United States, and it’s known for its access to outdoor activities, the San Juan Islands, the Northern Cascades, and Vancouver, British Columbia. This 1890s home, located right outside Bellingham, is close to hundreds of biking and hiking trails, and it is only an hour's drive from Mount Baker Ski Area.
If sunsets are your thing, Oyster Dome is an epic hike up near Bellingham. Even without the orange hues streaking the sky, this adventure is worth the effort. From the dome, you get panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, Vancouver Island, and the Skagit Country flats. If you hike up at dusk for the sunset, make sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for the journey back down!
While Skykomish, Washington, might not be on the radar for most, this 1,100 square foot A-frame is the closest cabin location (with electricity) to Steven’s Pass Ski Resort. It’s also near limitless hiking, biking, and fishing opportunities. The owners claim it’s the “perfect retreat for guests looking for a home away from home.”
If you’re heading up in the winter, there’s a great snowshoe or cross-country ski trail right near this secluded cabin, Surprise Lake, which can be accessed year-round. The trail winds through a narrow creek valley and then dumps you into a basin with views of Surprise, Thunder, and Spark Plug Mountains.
Why stay in an average downtown apartment when you could be rocked to sleep by the gentle waves of Seattle’s beautiful Lake Union? This houseboat is located conveniently close to downtown between the Fremont and Ballard neighborhoods. Michael, the host, has two bikes, two kayaks, and a paddleboard that he offers to his guests to get around the city and to explore the lake. He says the rental is “great for someone who wants a genuine, interesting houseboat experience yet still all the comforts of home.”
After you’ve taken the kayak for a spin and you’re ready to head out of the city, there are multiple adventures all within close proximity to Seattle itself. One great hike is up to Mount Pilchuck where you can scramble up the lookout tower’s ladder to look down on the Puget Sound. To the north there are views of Three Fingers Mountain, Mount Baker, and Glacier Peak. Mount Rainer looms in the south, and you can see Big Four Mountain to the east.
Making log cabins seem like a thing of the past, this cabin built literally into the side of a rock is ridiculously close to the coveted Enchantments in Washington. After a long day of hiking around the beautiful alpine lakes, come sit in the outdoor hot tub and enjoy the décor of the skis hanging on the outside of your home for the night.
While getting an overnight permit for the Enchantments is no easy feat (you have to enter a lottery session in February or March for the summer season), day hikes do not require them. The entire Enchantments Thru Hike is almost 18 miles, so not everyone will want to do it in one go, but for those feeling more aggressive, the Alpine Lakes Wilderness will not disappoint. Or spend a night at the Stone Cabin and wake up super early to head to the ranger station in an attempt to get one of the coveted day-of overnight permits that are handed out in limited quantity.