On our 13th Anniversary day, we decided to take a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula along highway 101. Neither one of us had made that trip around the Peninsula yet, so we were excited to leave the kids behind and do a short adult adventure. This is what we learned our first time around the Olympic Peninsula loop
We drove west from Olympia through Aberdeen, and up past Copalis beach then up Highway 101 to get up to the Olympic Peninsula. After getting on Highway 101 it was just easier to take this route all the way through. At one point we did go off the Highway to take a side trip through the forest to see the “giants” of the Washington Cascades. It is not everyday you see huge trees over 1,000 years old.
Our first stop which was Ruby Beach, and happened upon a park ranger who was about to give an 11 am tour on the beach about the Sea Otters. We stuck around for that, and it was a highlight of the trip.
The Park Ranger discussed how the Sea Otters became extinct on the north part of Washington’s shore and the Federal government was able to repopulate them from Sea Otters from Alaska. It took a couple of tries but they are now thriving and are protected on the Peninsula.
It is easy to just walk around and down to the beach. Even thought you may have to walk over driftwood It is an easy walk down to the beach.
Ruby Beach is beautiful, and it is now forever protected by the Federal government. Nothing can be altered or touched. Interesting enough there was a smaller Whale that washed up on the shore and they left the rotting body there so that nature can take it’s course.
You can easily spend the day at the beach checking out the sand bars and sea stacks around the beach. There is plenty of wildlife including Jelly fish , Starfish and birds who like to hang out around the sea stacks. It is against the law to fly drones and you must be respectful of all the wildlife.
We also had a history lesson on why President Roosevelt protected the Olympics and made it a National Park, and why the Rosevelt Elk is named after him!
There is camp grounds if you would like to camp there. I will link the page down below for more informtaion.
Here is the link to more information.
The federal interagency annual pass, the America the Beautiful – The National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass Series, is available for purchase when you arrive at Olympic National Park. The following Olympic passes are available on Recreation.gov:
Private Vehicle ($30, valid for seven days)
Motorcycle ($25, valid for seven days)
Individual/Bicycle ($15, valid for seven days)
Olympic Annual Pass ($55 valid for one year from month of purchase)
If you are a long hike kinda outdoors person you can walk on the Hoh River Trail, which is 21 miles long round trip. You will hike though the Sitka Sprice trees, Douglas for trees and Western red Cedar trees. These are some of the oldest and largest tress in America and are also known as the “giants”.
Hoh Rainforest – Bring a raincoat year-round
Forks and La Push (for Twilight fans)
Almost a Million Acres of protected Land
70 Miles of beaches on protected land
Largest Rain Forest in America
Home of the “Valley of Giants” in the Olympics – Trees believed to be over 1,000 years old are still standing and are a fantastic sight.
Forest of Giants Info
We then went through Forks, which was very blah (sorry Twilight Fans, nothing to see here). Our next stop was Forks, and when you think Forks, you think Twilight. There was a small sign downtown, and apparently, they give tours a couple of days week if you need your twilight fix.
On the very tip of the Olympic Peninsula, is Lake Crescent. The Lake is deep and beautiful! It is on Route 101 near the small community of Piedmont. We stopped a couple of times and took some photos of Lake Crescent, which was stunning! It is now on my camping bucket list. Click here for more info on Crescent Lake
We stopped to have lunch in Port Angelas, which I like hanging out in because it is classic and charming. There are loads of places by the water to stay, visit, and eat. We brought lunch, so we had lunch on some rocks on a peninsula with a view of Victoria, Canada.
We have stayed in the hotel right off the water, Red Lion. The rooms are ok, and they do have a restaurant. These days I tend to stay in Airbnb’s more often (or now I take my trailer) so it depends on your style. I just loved the location of the Red Lion.
They have a super nice boardwalk, it is not too far, but it is pretty. Port Angelas is a cool little town and they even have a Saturday Market right near the water. It is worth spending a night or two there.
If you are crossing to Victoria B.C. from Port Angelas you can take the Ferry across and there is a couple of parking lots that range from $12- $20 a day. I have parked in multiple ones and they are feel safe.
Black Ball Ferry Line – COHO – Port Angeles ferry
If you are passing though and have time, go check out the Olympic Game Farm! It is a park where big game are roaming our and and you ca visit with them from your vehicle. Be warned that the animals are wild and may say hello though the windows or the sun room (something we did not think about until it wa almost too late).
You can bring bread to feed the animals but there are restrictions on what you can give them. They package must be 100% whole wheat. You can purchase a loaf for $3.00 if you do not have your own.
The best part of the second half was, of course, the views and natural beauty along the Hood Canal. I will be working on the Hood Canal blog soon and will update it here to link it in.
My suggestion is to start the journey early morning, and if you’re a camper, take your camping gear. A lot of the campsites around the peninsula has first come first serve campsites. If all else fails, there is lodging along the way, and you can just wing it.
Feel free to email me if you have any question, in the meantime join our community group Wanderlust and the PNW