John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

Written by Elizabeth Rose

October 20, 2017
Home >> Destinations >> North America >> United States >> Washington >> John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula

Leave the traffic behind and check into your view cabin at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort in Sequim on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula.

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 now serves as a dinner cruise yacht with Hornblower Cruises and has been homeported in Newport Beach, CA for 51 years. The Wild Goose is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

According to the staff at the resort, John Wayne frequently sailed into 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.

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John Wayne Rustic Waterfront Resort

A misty morning on Sequim Bay. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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 hookups, cable television, and Wi-Fi.

We opted for cabins for our getaway. A 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.

John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

Our comfortable cabins provided a stunning view of Sequim Bay. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

And it was perfectly dog friendly. On a 15-foot tie-down lead, Cinnamon the Coonhound 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!

John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

Several cabins are dog friendly. Cinnamon enjoyed exploring the wooded area on her long leash. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

Just down the path, happy RV’ers chatted as they had an evening cocktail, walked their dogs, and enjoyed the view and proximity to the John Wayne Marina. At the RV park were 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 we 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 was scenic, and when we were there, gorgeous fall colors lined the roads.

John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

Fall leaves lined the road along the bay. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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.

John Wayne Marina at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

John Wayne had envisioned a marina on Sequim Bay, and this beautiful place resulted from his vision. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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. (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.

The Dockside Grill on Sequim Bay at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

What could be more enticing than dining with a view of the beautiful marina? Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

While it’s a fine dining restaurant, dressing up is unnecessary. 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 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.

The Dockside Grill on Sequim Bay at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

What could be tastier than fresh local seafood? Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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, Chef’s potato of the day and seasonal fresh vegetables. It was perfectly cooked, and my friend took half of it home for another wonderful meal.

The Dockside Grill on Sequim Bay at John Wayne’s Rustic Waterfront Resort

Fall is mushroom season in the Pacific Northwest, and the best place for them is atop a perfectly cooked steak. Photo by Elizabeth R Rose

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 is an ideal place 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. 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.

Read more from Wander writers about Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. If you want more time to travel, you might think about starting your own company. One option is to form an LLC in Delaware. Then you can take to the road with your business protected.

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.

Written by Elizabeth Rose

Elizabeth Rose is back again in the Phoenix area after more than a decade living in New Mexico and Washington state. She travels throughout the West and beyond writing about destinations, accommodations, festivals, and restaurants, especially farm to table cuisine. As an expert in cultural tourism, her writing reflects that passion. She has won awards for her photography and accompanies her articles with her own images. She also provides photos for magazine covers, web sites and magazine articles (both print and online).

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