Travel

Lakeside Getaways: Peace and Awe

These Pacific Northwest destinations provoke a sense of nostalgia, tranquility, and romanticism

Colorful canoes stacked on a wooden dock beside a serene lake, with autumn trees and mountains in the background, creating an atmosphere of peace.

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of Seattle magazine.

“So lovely was the loneliness of a wild lake.” —Edgar Alan Poe, The Lake

The master of the short story may no longer find true solitude in the modern lake, yet the loveliness remains. Even more lovely? A beautiful hotel perched atop said lake.

As temperatures rise and springtime thoughts turn to summer splashes, here is a roundup of the best “lake-ations” in the Pacific Northwest.

North Cascades Lodge, Stehekin

Lake Chelan

Almost hidden by the untouched beauty of nature, Stehekin beckons as a tranquil oasis off the tourist trail. With its population of less than 100, this remote treasure offers remote solitude to those seeking respite from the hustle and bustle of modern life. Secluded from the outside world, Stehekin is untouched by roads, ATMs, or the constant pinging of cell phones.

Embark on your journey aboard the Lady of the Lake, gateway boat to this idyllic retreat. As you traverse the near endless depths of Lake Chelan, anticipation fills the air, paving the way for an immersive escape. Upon arrival, the hosts at North Cascades Lodge will welcome you, offering comfort and serenity amidst the rugged wilderness.

Whether hiking through lush forests or simply basking in the tranquility of your surroundings, Stehekin offers a sanctuary for the soul, a place where time stands still, and the worries of the world fade away.

Summer splashes: Swim, SUP, or kayak in the crisp glacier-fed lake, or bike deep into the forest primeval on Stehekin Valley Road.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: Extremely high. Stehekein is one of the most untouched destinations in the Pacific Northwest.

The Lake Chelan Trail between Moore Point and Stehekin

Nature Picture Library / Alamy

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Lac Beauvert, Jasper, Alberta

Rising majestically above the shimmering emerald waters of Lac Beauvert, ensconced within a sprawling 700-acre haven of opulence, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge emerges as a sanctuary of serenity. Amidst the serene beauty of snow-kissed peaks and the fragrant allure of pine forests, a tapestry of luxury unfolds.

Elegantly appointed rooms and suites nestle cozily alongside signature log cabins steeped in history. This enclave of indulgence seamlessly blends fin de siècle glamour with the timeless temptation of the wilderness, evoking both nostalgia for the Western age of discovery, and an enchantment for our present time.

The crisp air bristles with the crackle of fireplaces, casting a warm glow upon the sumptuous interiors, beckoning guests to unwind and embrace the tranquility of their surroundings.

Summer splashes: Go kayaking, take a dip in the crystal clear, glacier-fed water, or rent a bike from the Fairmont Boathouse to glide along the four-kilometer trail that encircles the lake.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: High! Lac Beauvert nests in the Canadian Rockies, far north of the beaten path.

A lakeside lodge surrounded by trees with a mountain range in the background offers a sense of awe; the water reflects the serene scenery, making it an idyllic retreat for lakeside getaways.

Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Photo courtesy of Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge

Suttle Lodge & Boathouse

Suttle Lake, Sisters, Ore.

Seated along the tranquil shores of Suttle Lake, within the leafy embrace of the Deschutes National Forest near Sisters, Ore., lies the Suttle Lodge & Boathouse, a haven of rustic charm and the subtle joys of lakeside communion. The 15-acre property consists of a large wooden lodge with guest rooms, fully equipped lakeside cabins, and a boathouse restaurant with a dock and provision shop. Versions of the resort have been in continuous operation since the 1930s. The style is a subversive take on the Pacific Northwest campground — a relaxed Cascade forest lodge reimagined for modern visitors. The focus is on convivial social spaces: festive gathering places grounded in the bounty of Oregon provisions and centered around the majesty of a wooded lake.

Summer splashes: We’ll let the website take it away: “You can boat. You can fish. You can hike. You can bike. You can rodeo. You can ski. You can snowshoe. You can stargaze. You can booze. You can eat. You can play.”

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: High. Suttle Lake sits beyond a barely noticeable turnoff, so you can make it your great escape. Solitude is yours for the taking.

A peaceful lakeside cabin surrounded by pine trees reflects on a calm, clear lake under a partly cloudy sky, perfect for awe-inspiring Lakeside Getaways.

The Boathouse at Suttle Lodge

Photo courtesy of Suttle Lodge

The Skip Bar at Suttle Lodge

Photo by Toby Nolan

Nita Lake Lodge

Whistler, B.C.

Whistler is a winter playground, but in summer months — set against the serene backdrop of a glacier-fed lake — Nita Lake Lodge offers a wide range of outdoor delights. Here, you’ll find an invitation to immerse yourself in a wealth of experiences that captures the essence of relaxation and rejuvenation. The spa at the lodge is delightful, and the spa at nearby Scandinave is one of the best spa experiences you could have.

Summer splashes: We have swum in Nita Lake on the hottest day of summer, and it is brisk but refreshing. The paved Valley Trail network in Whistler is extensive, so grab a bike and go. Even better, book a Whistler Bear Photo Safari, to see one of the West Coast’s healthiest black bear populations up close and personal.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: Medium to high. Whistler is heavily traveled, but Nita Lake much less so.

The Valley Trail in Whistler

Photo by Maria Janicki / Alamy

The Woodmark Hotel And Still Spa

Lake Washington, Kirkland

Checking in to the Woodmark Hotel and Still Spa is a wonderful way to replenish mind, body, and soul. The rooms are understated, with luxurious beds, lake views, and deep baths for after-spa chillaxing. Grab a bike for leisurely rides into Kirkland, or follow the path by the water for epic sunset strolls.

Summer splashes: Take advantage of the latest sensation to hit Lake Washington: Von Sauna is located at the water’s edge of the property. Chill out in the heat, go jump in a bracing lake, repeat.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: Sorry, Edgar Not going to happen.

The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa

Photo courtesy of The Woodmark Hotel & Still Spa

Lake Quinault Lodge

Olympic Peninsula, Wash.

Lake Quinault is an escape to a timeless, picturesque National Park Lodge. Built in 1926, this historic gem offers a warm welcome and cozy comfort, making visitors feel instantly welcome. Relax by the grand fireplace, linger over delicious meals in the Roosevelt Dining Room, or just unwind with a book by the shimmering lake. Dive into outdoor adventures like paddle-boarding and fishing under the afternoon sun or explore the lush rainforest with its towering trees providing cool shade.

Summer splashes: During summer, Lake Quinault is one of the most swimmable and warmest lakes in the Pacific Northwest. Kayaks, canoes, and SUPs are readily available. A mountain bike or gravel bike can transport you to some really cool waterfalls.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: Medium. The Olympic Peninsula is wild and remote, but its proximity to Seattle means there’s a decent chance you will run into a parent from your kid’s school.

Lake Quinalt Lodge

Photo by Kenneth Sponsler / Shutterstock

 

Spirit Ridge

Osoyoos Lake, B.C.

Drive north from Winthrop up Highway 97, then cross the border to enter the magic of the Okanagan Valley. Spirit Ridge awaits as a beacon for the harmonious convergence of leisure and luxury. Amidst rolling hills and sky-blue lake, guests are treated to a symphony of experiences that captivate the senses. The indigenous-owned property invites exploration and relaxation. Indulge in the culinary delights of the onsite restaurant, where the fusion of indigenous fl avors and contemporary cuisine creates an unforgettable dining experience.

Make time for a stop at District Wine Village, home of a vibrant tasting community of local wineries. Sample the latest offerings from the dynamic winery cooperative, where each glass tells a story of passion and craftsmanship.

Summer splashes: Osoyoos Lake is a prime spot for swimming, boating, SUP, kayaking, fishing, tubing, or floating.

Edgar Allen Poe solitude factor: Medium. It’s a popular summer spot.

Osoyoos Lake in Osoyoos, B.C.

Photo by Maria Janicki / Alamy

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