Explore PNW: A Week in the Olympics
Itching to explore somewhere new? Come along with us as we feature one of the three national parks in magnificent Washington State. We’re sharing our five favorite spots in Olympic National Park, starting with Port Angeles.
Located less than 30 minutes from Olympic National Park, this seaside-meets-mountain town is the epicenter for the Olympic Penisula, providing easy access to the coast, mountains, and rainforest. You can even hop on the ferry to Victoria, B.C.! With plenty of local shops and restaurants, Port Angeles is the perfect jumping-off point to adventure in the nearly one million acres of neighboring national park.
Next up on our tour of Olympic National Park is Hurricane Ridge. At an elevation of 5,242 feet, this mountainous area is a year-round destination and one of the most visited sites in the national park.
It offers hiking, biking, camping, skiing, and snowboarding with a side of fantastic views. You’ll be left wondering why it took so long for you to visit these magical mountains! Well-traveled friends of ours even say that when covered by snow, Hurricane Ridge rivals the grandest mountain views in Europe.
This next stop in Olympic National Park is such a lovely spot that our videographer Jamie actually honeymooned there! Located just 19 miles from Port Angeles, the pristine waters of Lake Crescent are perfect for kayaking, fishing, or simply relaxing on the beaches of its sandy shores. Jamie nearly drove his new bride crazy capturing all this amazing footage!
Want to wake up to views of this beautiful lake? Make camping accommodations at Fairholme Campground or stay at the historic Lake Crescent Lodge. The newlyweds returned to stay at the lodge for Christmas, so it’s a great spot to visit no matter time of year. The coast is just 45 minutes away, and you’re only an hour from the famous Hoh Rainforest, a definite must-see in its own right!
While Olympic National Park offers multiple beaches, Ruby Beach is definitely a crowd favorite. Located 27 miles south of the town of Forks, Washington (of Twilight fame), it’s among the most visited sites in the park. Named for the reddish ruby-like crystals that can be found in the sand, this driftwood-covered beach is the perfect spot to “get your selfie on” while experiencing the beauty of the Olympic coast. (But be sure to wear shoes! That famous reddish sand is accompanied by rocks. This beach is also dog-friendly, so don’t forget to bring your pup!
Salt Creek Recreation Area
Looking for the perfect campsite while visiting the Olympic peninsula? How about one surrounded by enormous trees on top of a bluff overlooking the ocean? We found this in Salt Creek Recreation Area, a 196-acre park that offers hiking trails, sandy beaches, ocean views, and year-round camping.
This area was converted from an old military fort after World War II. Feel free to explore old bunkers and learn the history. Or check out the tide pools at low tide to see sea urchins, anemones, sea cucumbers, and wolf eels. It’s the perfect getaway for the family or those looking to spend the night under the stars in the tent or RV.
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