Near-City Escapes: Waterfront Hideaways Near Seattle
A Brief Escape
If you’re a city dweller who needs a brief escape but doesn’t have the time for an extended getaway, it’s possible to find little waterfront hideaways near Seattle that can allow you to get away from it all without getting too far away from it all.
We stayed at this romantic waterfront cabin near Seattle on Meydenbauer Bay in Medina (graciously loaned to us for an overnight stay).
Read on about this cabin (with a very short history lesson thrown in) as well as some other near-city waterfront hideaways I’m adding to my escape list including vrbo seattle houseboat rentals and some other (near) Seattle cabin rentals near water.
If you’re interested in staying in this charmer, you can rent it on VRBO.
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Valentine’s Day saw us cozying up in a little cabin, deceptively rustic and secluded at first, yet in reality neither, on Meydenbauer Bay in Medina. After almost a week of being (mostly) snowed in, retreating to a cozy little space seemed the last thing I would want, but it turned out to be just what I needed. And after being off of work too many days due to snow, having a little retreat near the city was perfect for my husband– allowing him to get away for a bit and also readily return to work in Seattle the next morning.
Since 1925 the cabin has sat looking across the water of Meydenbauer Bay (on Lake Washington) toward Bellevue. It has seen (or, would have seen, if structures could see) the many significant changes the area has gone through, though the bay itself appears in many ways similar to photos of it from bygone eras.
Whaleboats on Meydenbauer Bay, just across from where the cabin sits. Photograph from PEMCO Webster and Stevens collection and used with gracious permission from MOHAI.
It’s seen the coming and going of 150 whaling vessels across the bay to what is now the Yacht Club. It’s watched the sinking of the large whaling ship the Fresno as a coating of whale oil caused it to catch fire. It’s been a hangout for “competitive poker parties and ‘fishin’” (per a flyer in the cabin). Seattle Mariners manager, Lou Pinella has enjoyed its walls, and it’s seen Medina become the upscale home to such notable figures as Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.
Meydenbauer Bay. The exact location of the cabin is not listed for reasons of privacy.
Though the exterior of this little gem looks much as I imagine it did at its construction, its interior has undergone reinvention and renovation many times before becoming the cozy beachfront charmer that it is today.
Rustic Exterior, Upscale Interior
I wasn’t sure at first what to expect from a little beachfront log cabin in the middle of February, but cozy doesn’t begin to cover it. One of the first things I noticed is a scent that I could only describe as “cabin-y” But not musty like some old buildings I’ve stayed at in the past, the cabin had an enjoyable earthy woodsy aroma. And warmth. I imagine in the cabins’ yesteryears it could get cold, and I had come equipped with blankets (though it turned out there were plenty of extras), but I found that the slate flooring was deliciously warmed by radiant heating and quickly realized my cozy slipper socks were overkill. Add to that indoor and outdoor gas fireplaces, and I quickly realized that I had entirely left the realm of “glamping.”
“Beachy” is the going theme in the cabin. While it was perfect for a snowy winter retreat and while I found comfort in quietly listening to music or sitting by the window reading and looking out over the bay, the part of me that is truly a summer person cried out to heed the cabin’s signs admonishing me to “Go Jump in the Lake.” I would if it were July.
This “summer me” had also considered bringing my kayak, but the thought of getting it down, and then up the 54 steps to the cabin deterred me. Maybe next time I could load the kayak on the other side of the bay and approach from the water, avoiding the stairs altogether. Hmm. Mental note for the future.
More Photos from the Cabin
Other Little Waterfront Retreats Near Seattle
Note that I haven’t stayed in these retreats, but they are ones I would definitely like to add to my list. Especially houseboats — I used to dream of living in a little houseboat on Lake Union. I never will, but a rental will do. Prices on by owner rentals may vary with time of rental and season…and, as always, if you find a property that’s no longer for rent or have stayed at a cozy getaway that should be on this list let me know.
The properties listed here are lake cabin rentals near Seattle, VRBO Seattle houseboat rentals (and AirBNB), and other cozy retreats which are in Seattle or not too far a drive. However, if you have a little more time, there are a number of wonderful getaways on Bainbridge Island a short 30 minute ferry ride (though that’s misleading as there’s also wait time) from Seattle.
They’re meant to be rentals you can rent briefly for a quick getaway. I really wanted to list the “Sleepless in Seattle” dream houseboat, for instance, but they want renters who will stay for a month or more so it didn’t make the cut (except for a mention here).
However, if it’s a tree house you want, I’ve written a post about Pacific Northwest treehouses here.
The Duck Inn on Lake Washington
This lake cabin rental near Seattle has a parklike backyard setting right on the lake. I could see myself paddling my kayak out from here. While it doesn’t have the rustic cabin charm of the Medina cabin, the interior looks very comfortable.
A Secluded Treetop Cabin Near Water
This West Seattle cabin scores extra points as it both seems to qualify as a treehouse and a waterfront getaway. I’ll have to add it to the treehouse bucket list.
Houseboat…or Just Boat?
This is listed as a houseboat and as it has bedroom, kitchen, etc I suppose it is but it’s unlike some of the houseboats that I’ve visited on Lake Union — but I could get into staying on a boat. Anything on or by the water, and I’m game!
Unique tugboat rental…
I’ve never thought about staying on a tugboat…but now that I’ve seen this ad, I think it’s something that would be fun to do. This one’s also on Lake Union, so right in Seattle. It think it would make a fun getaway.
Very Cute Houseboat!
Another Lake Union houseboat! I just want to spend a summer day sitting on top of this one with a drink and a good book! I love the interior wood paneling that gives it a cabin-y feel.
OK, this is MY Houseboat!
Honey, pay attention! I have a big birthday coming up. This houseboat is at the very end of the dock, and has an adorable interior. It looks like I could walk out onto the deck, jump in my kayak and paddle away, but I’m not sure I’d want to as I’d miss enjoying this place. This goes on the list…but it would need to be a special-occasion retreat due to the price tag.
I adore the color of this one. It’s another of the many houseboats on Lake Union that are available for rent.
The Sugar Shack
I think I might want to stay in any place called the Sugar Shack…I imagine it to be like Candy Cane Lane, conjuring images of myself eating donuts and eclairs….wait, I’m getting distracted. This sugar shack is a houseboat, but I could bring my own donuts…
This houseboat rents on AirBNB for an average of $99 per night at the time of this writing.
Views of the Olympics
This cottage looks charming and has a deck that overlooks the Olympics. It’s not too far from where I grew up in Seattle so it’s close to Ballard, the beach and Golden Gardens and Carkeek Park.