From Port Angeles to a fireside lounge, these spots bring charm to that special kiss
written by Ryn Pfeuffer
A well-known classic jazz song claims, “A kiss is just a kiss,” suggesting that a kiss may not hold much significance. A new study published in Sexual and Relationship Therapy begs to differ, providing evidence that kissing frequency is a strong indicator of sexual and relationship satisfaction.
There are so many benefits of kissing. For one, it’s fun. It connects us to whomever we’re smooching. Also, our lips have numerous nerve endings, so kissing can feel euphoric when done well.
Kissing causes a chemical reaction in your brain, releasing a party of feel-good hormones that dance together to give you a natural high, including oxytocin, the so-called love hormone, and dopamine, a hormone associated with happiness and attraction. According to the authors of the research, more frequent kissing was associated with higher levels of sexual and relationship satisfaction.
Luckily, there’s no shortage of picture-perfect places to lock lips in Washington. From boat decks and gondolas to mountain tops and Japanese gardens, here are ten of our favorite places to take a moment for a special kiss.
#1 | SEATTLE
There are so many places to slip away and kiss at this semi-secret garden in south Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood. Founded in 1927, Fujitaro Kubota, a self-taught gardener, mapped the then 5-acre plot to mimic a traditional Japanese garden using native plants of the Pacific Northwest. It’s since expanded to 20 acres of pure serenity. Around every corner is a beautiful bench, bridge or spot to steal a moment with your sweetie.
#2 | NEAH BAY
It doesn’t get more romantic than this bluff overlooking where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean. Stroll a moderate, sometimes muddy 0.75-mile trail to the northwesternmost point of the lower forty-eight states. From here, expect spectacular views and a color wheel of water hues, depending upon the weather. Keep an eye out for gray whales off the cape and sea lions on Snake Rock, just east of Tatoosh Island (marked by a lighthouse that began operating in 1857). If you can make it to the observation deck on a clear day at sunset, the technicolor reflections cast on the water are beyond magic. Reminder: A Makah Recreation Pass is required to park at the trailhead.
#3 | ORCAS ISLAND
It takes some effort to get to Orcas Island, the 57.3-square-mile island in the San Juan Islands. Moran State Park, a 5,000-acre span of wild land, is home to Mount Constitution, the second-highest mountain on a sea island in the contiguous states. (You can drive, hike, or mountain bike to the summit.) Climb the stone steps to the top of the stone medieval-like tower, designed by architect Ellsworth Storey and built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, to breathe in 360-degree views of the snow-capped Cascade Range, nearby islands and Canada from the summit. If you seek more privacy, add a short side wander along the Summit to Cascade Lake Trail.
#4 | PUGET SOUND
Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island
Take the ferry from Pier 52 in Seattle to Bainbridge Island for picturesque views of Washington’s waterways. Whether you drive or walk on as a foot passenger, head straight to the upper deck for the short 35-minute ride. There, travelers are treated to outstanding views of Seattle’s skyline while breathing in the sea air and the wind in their hair. Be sure to bring an extra layer—it can get chilly. Still, the beauty of the Puget Sound unfolding before you is 100 percent worth it, especially if you travel near sunset.
#5 | SEATTLE
Fireside Room at Hotel Sorrento
The handsome Fireside Room is tucked inside the heart of the historic Sorrento Hotel. Established in 1909, the hotel’s Fireside Room offers an intimate setting for a cozy date and relaxed conversation. Plush couches, rich wood paneling, and a tinkly piano add to the romantic ambiance. Kick back with a glass of wine or bourbon on the rocks by the fireplace. There’s no better place to kiss on a dreary, rainy Seattle night.
#6 | CHELAN
Take a day and escape to this mountain town that boasts more than 300 days of sunshine per year. Then, book a ferry ride on the Lady of the Lake—National Geographic Magazine rated this a “must-do trip.” The journey travels between Lake Chelan and Stehekin, where you can stay for a ninety-minute layover (just long enough to grab lunch or a quick hike) or overnight. Then, sit on the boat’s top to make out-worthy views of untouched beauty and wilderness.
#7 | SNOQUALMIE
Whether you snap a selfie or swap a kiss, a visit to one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions will be memorable. Located just thirty minutes from downtown Seattle and thirty-five minutes from Snoqualmie Pass, couples can gaze at the powerful whitewater that plunges 286 feet into the deep pool below. If the waterfall doesn’t get your heart thumping, a kiss on the romantic observation deck most certainly will. The falls are always breathtaking, especially during the rainy season when there’s an abundance of water falling.
#8 | SEATTLE
The Wishing Tree
There’s a tree in Capitol Hill that brims with hopes, wishes, and words of gratitude. It grows on the corner of 21st Ave. E. and Galer Street, and its branches are full of thousands of wishes. Since 2014, owner Jane Hamel has created the sweetest wishing tree for passersby to enjoy, complete with tree stump seats and a small round table to write down your dreams. Take a card and marker from the container, write down your wish and place it back in the jar. Hamel then laminates the wishes to keep them safe from Seattle’s rainy weather and attaches them to the tree. So, go on! Make an afternoon of it if you want—Volunteer Park is a short walk away.
#9 | ENUMCLAW
Crystal Mountain isn’t just a destination for skiers. Located two hours south of Seattle, it’s equally popular with foot passengers wanting to see fantastic views from the state’s only gondola. Climb more than 2,400 vertical feet during the ten-minute ride to the top. There, you can soak in panoramic views of Mount Rainier and the Cascade Range from the open viewing platform of the Summit House Restaurant. (Hello, hot cocoa or a cocktail!) Be sure to dress accordingly—it’s very exposed at the summit, and you’ll be walking through snow during winter. Also, always check road conditions before leaving. The only access to Crystal Mountain in winter is along Highway 410 East from Enumclaw, and you might need tire chains during certain weather conditions.
#10 | PORT ANGELES
Salt Creek Recreation Area, located 12 miles west of Port Angeles, often gets overlooked in the travel mix with so many well-known pristine natural areas on the Olympic Peninsula. Yet, during low tide, you can take a short walk down to the peninsula and explore tide pools at this quarter-mile-long rock outcropping that juts out like a tongue. Aptly named Tongue Point, this gorgeous spot at the northwest corner of the park is a great place to catch the last glimpse of the day’s light on the western horizon—and a kiss. Campers can fall asleep to the dreamy sound of the water just a few feet away. Clear views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca allow for sightings of orcas, minkes, and sometimes, even humpback whales.