I’ve been wanting to go to Olympic National Park for awhile and we finally booked a five-day trip into Seattle to go on our road trip. Olympic National Park is a ways from Seattle, especially if you want to check out the Hoh Rainforest, which is about 4.5 hours away.
We spent two nights at Three Rivers Resort and two nights at my good friend’s place in Redmond. A little over two days turned out to be plenty of time in the park.
One thing to note is that it’s a lot different than other national parks we’ve been to in that you can’t really drive around much INSIDE the park. All of the hot spots are located on the outer edges and there are no roads connecting them within the park, so you basically drive a loop around the entire park and enter into different locations.
En route to our first stop, Hurricane Ridge, we noticed a ton of lavendar fields in Port Angeles that we could stop at. When I saw the first sign for a farm, I yelled “go right!!” and my awesome husband immediately bee-lined down a side road towards the farm
I was worried we wouldn’t have enough time to visit this part of the park but I am SO glad we made it happen. The drive up was a bit concerning since it was so foggy we could barely see four feet in front of the car, but as we got higher up, the clouds cleared and the sun was shining!
Hurricane Ridge is absolutely stunning from all angles. Not to mention, the visitor center overlooks snow capped mountains in the distance. I think this has to be the prettiest place I’ve ever eaten a PB&J.
There are multiple trails – a couple long ones and a few right around the visitor center, to get a feel for the area. We took all of the short ones and thought it was a perfect mix!
I’m all about random stops when I see something beautiful and this river definitely deserved it.
Lake Crescent & Marymere Falls
I absolutely loved Lake Crescent! The water is a stunning mix of blues and greens and there are plenty of trails to tour around the area. We hiked to Marymere Falls and got a peak at the rainforest portion of Olympic National Park, before taking the trail down to the lake and back to our car.
Accommodations are limited near the park, especially if you are wanting to go to the Hoh Rainforest. We ended up staying in Forks at the Three Rivers Resort, which I highly recommend. We were able to get two last-minute cabins – one being a “tiny house” complete with a bed located above the kitchen a bathroom, a mini hot tub and a large deck with a fire pit just outside. The second night we spent in a regular cabin which was also great.
The Twilight series took place in Forks, although our Indian friend said that it had to be filmed in Oregon. Forks is ALL ABOUT Twilight. Our resort in particular had an entire Twilight menu, a “beware of vampires sign” at the property. While I haven’t thought about Twilight in years, it was pretty cool to see how much of an impact a movie can make on tourism.
In July, it was super chilly and breezy here so make sure to dress accordingly. There were a ton of rocks on this beach and huge pieces of “driftwood”. By huge, I mean you stand on them and look small.
Fun Fact: In watching twenty minutes of Twilight in our cabin, La Push was referenced a couple times in regard to where Jacob lives. Other than that, I would recommend bringing some beer or wine and taking a seat on some driftwood. The one and only restaurant/bar for 20 minutes is located right next to the water, but good luck getting in! There was a two-hour wait on a Tuesday.
We booked a trip with a local Indian to fish the Hoh River. He gave us the choice of fishing at the hatchery or taking a “float” down the river. We decided to go with scenery over high odds of catching fish and the scenery did not disappoint! Even if you don’t want to fish for 6 hours, definitely make sure to walk along the river – it’s incredible
After our fishing trip, we drove back up the road to the entrance of Hoh Rainforest and into the park, which took about an hour. The main reason I wanted to go to Olympic National Park was to see the Hall of Mosses. And boy, they were amazing.
It was pretty crowded but luckily not too bad! There are a couple longer trails that have way less people on them as well. If you can’t make it all the way to Hoh Rainforest, you can check out Marymere Falls for a slightly less amazing rainforest.
Okay, this was hands down our favorite place outside of the park. After a long day of fishing, visiting the Hoh Rainforest, and then exploring a couple more beaches nearby, we were pretty pooped and ready for a drink.
We got seated on the outdoor deck overlooking the beach and got lucky with t-shirt and shorts weather. We ended up hanging out on the deck for over three hours – quite possibly the longest we’re ever stayed at a restaurant.
Quinault Lake Lodge
On our way back to Seattle, we stopped by Quinault for breakfast, which was excellent. The restaurant overlooks part of the lodge, a peaceful large lawn and the lake. Pretty much all you can ask for.
Kurt Cobain Landing
I’m a big Nirvana fan, so we obviously had to stop by Kurt’s bridge in Aberdeen.
While in Aberdeen, I also found out I’m a big hemp milk fan. Not to mention lavender lattes…omgggg.
Old Stove Brewing Company
Surprise! Drinks with a view yet again. We met up with our friends and spent a couple hours enjoying the sea breeze and beers.
When I think of Kirkland I think of Costco, of course. However, the town of Kirkland is anything but cheap and economical. It’s quite possibly the cutest town I’ve ever been to. Situated on the water, there are a few streets “downtown” with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. We had dinner at Cactus, a super hip Mexican place that makes dishes like Butternut Squash Enchiladas, which was to die for.
Portage Bay Cafe
Started the day off strong with a big brunch at Portage, which was bomb.com. With options like Burrito Nayarit featuring uli’s chorizo and a sunny-side up egg, or smoked salmon benedict, there are plenty of yummy options to choose from.
After breakfast, we continued on to Fremont, where Seattle’s famous Troll and Fremont Brewery lives.
For a small fee, you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and boats on Lake Washington. We settled on two canoes and spent an hour paddling around the lily pads, seeing turtles and tons of birds. Great way to end our trip!