The Strait of Juan de Fuca spans about 102 miles long between Western Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island in Canada. It is part of the Salish Sea, which includes several waterways like Puget Sound along Seattle, and is the Sea’s outlet to the Pacific Ocean.
A scenic byway runs along part of the Strait and can be combined with Highway 101 to make an entire loop around the peninsula. This route is short enough to drive in one day, but we can tell you from experience there’s so much to stop and do you could make a whole week of it.
You’ll get peeks of the bright blue water through the trees, and on a clear day, views of the Olympic Mountains. There are also plenty of exits to branch off and see the wonders of Olympic National Park. These are five of our favorite stops you won’t want to miss.
1. Dungeness Spit
Dungeness Spit is a five-mile-long sand spit with the Strait of Juan de Fuca on one side and Dungeness Bay on the other. You can make your way down to the beach and find a spot to relax, or hike all the way out along the sand to reach a historic lighthouse at the very end (a ten-mile hike total). New Dungeness Light has informative tours and a restroom open to the public.
The beach is lined with driftwood and rocks of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Seagulls can be seen either flying overhead or walking along the shore looking for a meal. Keep in mind when you visit you’ll want to check the tide charts before heading out. Visiting the beach when the tide is high will leave you scrambling on the driftwood. The tide was low for most of our hike, but by the time we were on our way back the wind had picked up and the waves were coming in much higher.
The trail starts at Dungeness Recreation Area and follows through the woods for a half-mile before it leads downhill to the beach. This recreation area also has a campground with two loops of spacious wooded sites where you can stay for a few days if you don’t mind camping without hookups.
If you do prefer hookups, there are tons of RV parks and resorts a short drive away in Sequim.
While you’re in town, take some time to see the rest of quaint little Sequim (pronounced Skwim, not See-kwim). This small town is renowned for their annual Lavender Festival (coming up July 20-22, 2018) and has a downtown full of unique local shops and restaurants. It’s also usually sunny here year-round thanks to the town’s location within the rainshadow of the Olympic Mountains.
Take your tow vehicle to Olympic Game Farm to see animals like bison and elk come up to your car and stick their head in through your window. You can also find year-round hiking and camping with full hookups at Sequim Bay State Park.
3. Port Angeles
Continue heading west for about twenty minutes and you’ll reach Port Angeles, another charming small town along the Strait of Juan de Fuca with lots to see and do. It’s also known as the Gateway to Olympic National Park and where you can find the road that leads up Hurricane Ridge. It’s best to park your RV at Elwha Dam RV Park and take your tow vehicle up the narrow road to see the incredible views of the Olympic Mountains, access the Visitor Center and several hiking trails.
In downtown Port Angeles, you can browse local shops in old buildings and pick between a variety of dining options from Thai to Dairy Queen. You can also get amazing views of the Strait and southern Vancouver Island on the city pier downtown and catch a ferry out to Victoria, B.C.
4. Salt Creek Recreation Area
Salt Creek has scenic RV sites, sandy beach, tide pools, hiking trails, and a bit of history to it. This park was built on the remnants of the old WWII-era Camp Hayden defense military base, and you can still hike to see old concrete bunkers which once housed 16″ cannons.
The campground has both wooded sites that don’t have views but shade and privacy among the trees, and sites in a wide open bluff area that do not have much privacy but their views of the Strait are amazing. Some sites are pull-through and can accommodate big rigs as well. The campsites are water/electric only with a dump station on-site. More info.
5. Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the lower 48 states. You can take an easy mile-long trail through the woods along a wooden boardwalk to a few different platforms looking out at the sea stacks along the coast.
The nearby Hobuck Beach Resort in Neah Bay is only about 5-10 minutes from the trailhead. The oceanfront resort has seaside RV sites, cabins, a grassy field for tents and smaller trailers/pop-up campers, and their own private sandy beach.