Family-friendly resort communities offer a perfect mix of serenity and sociability, proximity and escape.

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According to the National Association of Realtors, more than 80 percent of vacation-home buyers choose locations within driving distance of where they live, and about half of all owners choose properties within 50 miles of home. Opting for a vacation home that’s within easy driving distance of your primary residence means you can escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life all the more often, with no need for plane tickets – or even plans.

In Washington, we’re fortunate to have a variety of landscapes and a number of resort communities within a short drive from Seattle. The Pacific Northwest’s resort communities are a popular choice with families who are looking to feel far away without actually having to go too far. Depending on whether your family is looking for a mountain or a marine escape, options in the Seattle area include communities at Lake Chelan, Seabrook, Port Ludlow and Suncadia.

These resort communities offer another fine balance – between sanctuary and social connection. Situated away from the hustle and bustle of the city, they offer plenty of space to find peace and quiet, but are also built around shared amenities and events that offer opportunities for meeting and socializing with fellow property owners.

For their vacation home, West Seattle residents Alan Feldberg and Susan Childers chose the Cascade Mountains and Suncadia, a four-season resort and community of private homes. They own a home in Nelson Preserve, Suncadia’s newest and most natural neighborhood. Nelson Preserve backs onto the Suncadia Conservancy, which encompasses 3,500 acres of streambeds, wildlife habitat, salmon spawning reaches, wetlands, plains and uplands.

Feldberg says he and his family love the peaceful, natural environment at Nelson Preserve. “We are always excited to take the trip over the pass on the way to Suncadia. Our time there is always a wonderful respite from our busy lives,” he says. “Suncadia is in a gorgeous natural environment, so it’s the perfect place to get away and relax when we need it. But there’s also so much to do, so close – hiking, golf, swimming, biking. And my wife and I really appreciate how many opportunities there are to make new friends.”

Those opportunities include regular events like Backyard BBQs held each weekend throughout the summer. David Angrove, another Suncadia homeowner, attended the inaugural BBQ June 11 at the Barnyard, a new event venue that is the first phase of a $5 million enhancement of Suncadia’s historic Nelson Farm.

Backyard BBQ, Nelson Preserve (Suncadia Real Estate)
Backyard BBQ, Nelson Preserve (Suncadia Real Estate)

“It was a wonderful event,” Angrove says of the first BBQ. “The setting is beautiful, the food was fantastic, people were dancing and it really brought new life to the farm. It is one of the best BBQ venues that I’ve seen, here or anywhere. We can’t wait to bring our friends back next week.”

Angrove says he and his wife and daughter are excited for the next phase of the farm enhancement, which includes an outdoor pool opening in time for summer 2017. “I imagine we’ll be spending a lot of time here next summer.”

The fact that this social but serene escape exists a little over an hour from his Woodinville home was a big selling feature for Angrove. For people like Feldberg and the Angroves, it means feeling miles away from the stresses of “real life,” without having to travel too far.

In the resort communities of the Pacific Northwest, a perfect balance may be closer than you think.

Suncadia Resort is Seattle’s backyard escape, just 80 easy miles from Seattle. Backing onto the spectacular Suncadia Conservancy, Nelson Preserve is the resort’s newest and most natural neighborhood. Homesites at Nelson Preserve are available for purchase now.