At the far northwestern tip of the Olympic Peninsula lies Neah Bay. To quote the website of the Makah tribe,
The Makah Tribe has called the spectacular Neah Bay, Washington area home since time immemorial.
If you are expecting casinos and cheap cigarettes, this is not the place to go. If you need fancy hotels and 5 star restaurants, you will be disappointed. What you will find is a small town at the end of the road, with everything that you would expect from a small town. People going about their business as fisherman, or shop owners, or waitresses in a beautiful environment that has been home for them since the beginning. Friendly, but reserved people not operating in tourism mode, but just living their lives in one of the most beautiful places in Washington. You will find your share of broken down cars, and old fishing boats, not all of them above water, none of which detracts from the feeling of life in slow motion that this place offers. And if you are willing to let it happen, you will find relaxation here. You will stare out over the water at sunset, and even if it is raining you will know you are just this side of heaven.
The drive to get here, just head west from Port Angeles and follow the signs, will take you about two hours if you don’t stop. But, if you don’t stop, you are not in the right frame of mind for Neah Bay. In fact, it should take you at least 3 hours to make the trip. More like 4 hours if you own a camera.
There are limited places to stay here. Clearly, the Cape Resort, run the by Makah Tribe, is the place to be. They have RV spaces, tent spaces (showers are available), and best of all a number of small, new cabins. From the outside the cabins don’t look like anything special. They are new, sit on a fairly barren piece of property, and all look alike. Inside, its your own little cubby hole, as far away from the world you are used to as it is possible to get.
The main room has a queen bed, and notice the bunkroom in the back in case you have kids. It is like being a kid again and playing fort. Your kids will feel that way when they crawl into bed. I did.
If you are the type to barbecue, bring your own food and grill. In the evening, a good number of your neighbors will be setting up on the front porch. The wonderful smells will drive you nuts unless you do the same.
Get up early if you can and walk around town. The quiet will be shock if you are a city dweller. And don’t be afraid of the occasional screeching noise. Those are just the resident eagles and osprey that you will see everywhere.
Make sure you walk down by the waterfront and see the fishing fleet. Unlike big city piers, you can actually go out and take a look. The feeling of being in the presence of tradition is hard to miss.
As for food, the Warmhouse is decent, but don’t expect to be overwhelmed. Of course, plan on getting seafood. You can buy basic food stuffs at the general store. As i said before, bring your own if you are staying very long.
If you are into fishing, plan on staying a few days just for that. There are lots of opportunities and plenty of locals to help you out, sell you tackle, and rent you a boat if you don’t have your own.
If you go for a weekend, you may see all there is to see, but you won’t unwind in just two days. Give it 4 days. Watch life move at the pace it was meant to. Allow your own life to slow down just for a bit. It will pay dividends.
P.S. One last suggestion. If you go with someone you care about, and you should, be prepared to make a promise to return.