In Sequim, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula you can leave the traffic and your cares behind as you check into your view cabin at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort. It will be hard to take time to unpack as the Adirondack chairs overlooking Sequim Bay will beckon you.
About John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort
The name of the resort is not just for marketing purposes. Actor John Wayne and his family have strong ties to Washington State. John Wayne spent as much time as possible with his family in the area on his yacht, the Wild Goose, a 136-foot former WWII mine-sweeper. During the summers they sailed the waters of Puget Sound and British Columbia.
The vessel is now serving as a dinner cruise yacht with Hornblower Cruises and has been home ported in Newport Beach, CA for 51 years. The Wild Goose is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
According to staff at the resort, John Wayne frequently sailed in to Sequim Bay aboard the Wild Goose and eventually bought land in the area. His family still owns 150 acres in Sequim, adjacent to the resort where we stayed.
We walked along the water and enjoyed the boats and scenery at the John Wayne Marina, constructed in 1985 on 22 acres of land donated by the Wayne family.
Home Away from Home at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort
Not far from the quaint Sequim downtown area, you’ll find a quiet, relaxing get-away, whether you come to one of their nine fully equipped cabins or park your RV in a spacious site with full hook-ups, cable television and Wi-Fi.
We opted for cabins for our getaway. Full kitchen, two bedrooms and a private deck made my cabin a home away from home. The cabins, not all that rustic, are decorated in soft neutral tones with feather comforters on the beds. But what really relaxed me was the view from the picture windows. I enjoyed watching the anchored boats bobbing in the bay and the mist hanging in the trees at sunrise as the dawn brought a rosy hue to the morning sky.
And it was perfectly dog friendly. Cinnamon the Coonhound, on a 15 foot tie-down lead, explored the grassy yard and popped in to see my friend who had the cabin next door. When she wanted to relax, she headed out to the deck where she overlooked the bay and even saw a fish jump!
Just down the path, happy RV’ers chatted as they had an evening cocktail, walked their dogs and also enjoyed the view and proximity to the John Wayne Marina. At the RV park was the office and store, stocked with essentials and offering friendly assistance to make our stay perfect. It’s all within walking distance.
We did want to explore what Sequim had to offer so were happy we could run into town rather quickly (no traffic), pick up groceries, explore the downtown boutiques or go out for a meal. The drive along the bay is scenic and, when we were there, gorgeous fall color lined the roads.
John Wayne Marina
The John Wayne Marina, run by the Port of Port Angeles, was featured in the June 2003 issue of SEA Magazine as “Best of the West” for small marinas. It was also included in Cinnamon the Coonhound’s walks. It’s a scenic marina and we were surprised to see a seal plying the waters looking for a hand-out. There is permanent and visitor moorage.
Walk past the marina and you’ll find access to several picnic areas. Head up to the point and sit on the bench to relax and watch the boats underway on the Bay. One afternoon I saw boats from the nearby Marine Sciences Lab coming in.
There is also a place to rent kayaks for a leisurely paddle around the bay.
Fine Dining with a View
A must-do while staying at the resort is dinner at The Dockside Grill on Sequim Bay. (Mind you, this is all walkable from the cabins or RV park). With huge picture windows overlooking the marina, you’ll enjoy friendly service and some amazing seafood and steaks.
While it’s a fine dining restaurant, there is no need to dress up. After all, this is a rural community and boating destination. Come as you wish! The restaurant features local, seasonal and hand-made ingredients.
We were hosted for dinner and enjoyed a window table. The wine list had some excellent Washington wines and we chose a red blend to enjoy with Dungeness crab fritters with roasted garlic and lemon aioli for an appetizer. Those who know me will understand my red wine pairing with seafood (and, my newly developed passion for red blends).
The special, featuring salmon caught in nearby Neah Bay, sounded enticing. The perfectly cooked salmon (they inquire about your preference) was topped with fresh Dungeness crab. We tasted several varieties of the Chef’s potato of the day… all very well seasoned but the potato croquettes were something I’d say were a good candidate for my favorites list.
My friend opted for a marvelous steak smothered in mushrooms. It was described as rubbed with coffee and spices, finished on a cedar plank, with jalapeño garlic butter and, on the side, the Chef’s potato of the day and seasonal fresh vegetable. It was cooked to perfection and my friend took half of it home for another wonderful meal.
Needless to say, we were too full for dessert, but the wait staff showed us a tray with a wide selection of delectables should we have saved room. After dinner coffee was excellent.
The Dockside Grill also serves lunch and it’s an ideal place to go for a late afternoon cocktail and small plate.
Walking back to the cabin was an ideal thing to do after our hearty meal. It was easy to fall asleep and the resort quieted down in the late evening.
When You Go to John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort
Read more about touring the Sequim area on Wander here. There is so much to do, a two day stay was just enough to entice us to return.
The resort is just east of Sequim on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and is a popular getaway for people from Seattle, Tacoma and British Columbia. And, of course boaters will enjoy the marina.
John Wayne's Waterfront Resort
2634 West Sequim Bay Road
Sequim, Wa. 98382
Read more from Wander writers about Washington's Olympic Peninsula here.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.