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Seabrook for Families: Beach, Bikes and Downtime

Washington coast planned community is an easy any-season getaway with kids

Published on: December 29, 2022

Seabrook-easy-family-getaway-from-seattle-dad-boys-walking-on-the-beach
Photo:
JiaYing Grygiel

Walk along the beach, swim in the pool, eat s’mores, repeat.

The best kind of vacation is the one where you don’t come home feeling like you need another vacation just to recover. Seabrook, a planned beach town on the Washington coast, fits that bill for families with young children and dogs. There’s not much to do beyond being beach bums, riding bikes and strolling through a sweet little town. That’s the whole point.

Riding-bikes-at-Seabrook-easy-family-beach-getaway-from-seattle
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Beach community

Seabrook founders Casey and Laura Roloff went looking for a beach community like the ones along the Oregon coast. Not finding one they liked, they started their own. Seabrook broke ground in 2004, and now includes some 450 houses. The Roloffs, along with their four daughters, are among the families who live at Seabrook full-time.

The woman in the sales office told me Seabrook was still in its infancy when we first visited years ago. Now they like to say the town has reached its teen years. Everywhere you look, there’s construction. The site covers 350 acres, and over the next 15 years or so, Seabrook plans to grow to 1,100 homes.

The structures are designed in a New-England-meets-Pacific-Northwest style, and the neighborhoods are carefully laid out around parks. The place is immaculate — we saw staff constantly cleaning, picking up trash, keeping every oyster shell in its place.

Seabrook-beach-homes-on-bluff-overlooking-beach-easy-family-getaway-from-seattle
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Perfect charm?

There is something a bit “Truman Show”-esque about this vacation community. A posse of kids cruises by on candy-colored bikes. Boys tumble on the grass with a football. It seems a little too perfect to be real. Ten years ago, I would have rolled my eyes at the manufactured charm; now, as a mom, I love how everything’s as easy as the short walk to the beach.

We started visiting Seabrook when our family went from three people to four. I was never a rugged person and having two little kids made my love for creature comforts deepen. We pick a different cottage each time, and typically go in spring or fall, taking advantage of rates a bit lower than summer. It’s still not cheap; a two-bedroom at mid-season rates can come to several hundred dollars a night after taxes and fees. Check for occasional last-minute deals and other discounts on the Seabrook website.

Boys-walking-on-the-beach-Seabrook-getaway-with-kids
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Choose your features

I prefer a house with a no-pet policy, and my older son always asks for a house with bunk beds. Seabrook has about 275 houses available for rent, sleeping anywhere from two to 22 people, so you can choose what features best suit your family or group.

If you want to browse sea-themed knickknacks and souvenirs, you can wander through the retail district. The number of merchants keeps growing, and the businesses include a bakery, a toy store, a book store and a bike rental shop.

Seabrook has an indoor pool and a fitness center, too, and access to both amenities is included in the cost of your stay. For us, the beach was the biggest draw.

seabrook sand dollar
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Loving the beach

Even on a wet day, we bundled up and took the kids to the ocean’s edge. There’s a staircase down a 70-foot bluff, or you can take a meandering path (called the “Gnome Trail”) through the woods to the beach. My boys were entertained by poking sticks into the wet sand and flinging it. When the sun dried things out, they loved sinking their feet into that soft sand.

After a day of wind and sand and swimming at the pool, my kids were more than ready for bedtime. But then we’d poke our heads out and see that someone had started a fire in the communal fire pit. And we’d run out with our marshmallows and fixings. My then-1-year-old kept a vise grip on his first-ever s’more until every last sticky crumb was gone.

Smores-at-Seabrook-easy-family-beach-getaway-for-seattle-bellevue-families
Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Driving home can be painful, between the traffic and leaving that idyllic scene behind. But hopefully Seabrook’s specialty — beachside downtime — leaves you relaxed and ready for another stretch of regular life.

Tips for parents ...

  • Bring your own food, or not. Options for eating out continue to grow, like everything at Seabrook. The pizza place is popular with families and two spots are reportedly headed up by former Canlis employees. For groceries, there is a decent-sized market right in town.
  • Bring a baby carrier. Oyster-shell paths and a long flight of stairs down to the beach make a carrier more practical than a stroller.
  • Everything at Seabrook is close. What looks like a long distance on the map is at most a 10-minute walk.
  • Bring your bikes and scooters, or rent them when you arrive. Flat, nicely paved streets with little traffic are a dream for budding cyclists.
  • Dress in layers. Even when we’re roasting in Seattle, it’s chilly on the coast.
  • It’s a long haul. Seabrook is located northwest of Aberdeen, on highway 109, to the south of the town of Pacific Beach. While map programs may indicate the drive takes less than three hours, better to plan on closer to four hours.

More family getaway ideas:

Editor's note: This article was originally published a few years ago and updated most recently for 2022.

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