The Olympic Peninsula encompasses 3,600 square miles of Western Washington with diverse terrain ranging from beaches to mountains to rainforest. There’s tons to explore in this beautiful, natural landscape from Native American culture and 61 miles of coastline to the rugged Olympic Mountains and evergreen forest.
The Peninsula is also home to 13 state parks and nearly 100 county, city, and privately-owned park facilities. With so many choices, we’ve narrowed the list down to the essentials for a road trip through the Peninsula.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park encompasses nearly a million acres that spans three distinct ecosystems. Activities in the park range from hiking, biking, and camping to birding and road-tripping.
Several spots are destination-worthy in the park. Drive up Hurricane Ridge for beautiful vistas year-round as well as recreation opportunities like hiking, cycling, and skiing.
The Hoh Rainforest is a popular destination as well. Its 168 inches of annual rainfall contribute to the lush greenery of the forest as well as gushing waterfalls and rivers. In the southwestern part of the park, the Quinault Rainforest surrounds the glacier-fed Lake Quinault with hiking trails through the mossy green rainforest.
Lake Crescent is another spot worth seeing. A glacially-carved lake in the Olympic Mountain foothills, Crescent has pristine, crystal clear waters for fishing and trails leading to waterfalls.
The National Park encompasses 73 miles of wilderness along the Pacific Coast including a few captivating beaches. Visit Shi Shi Beach and the La Push beaches, or head north to visit Cape Flattery, the northwesternmost point in the contiguous US.
There are nine campsites suitable for RV camping:
- Fairholme Campground
- Heart O’ The Hills Campground
- Hoh Campground
- Kalaloch Campground
- Mora Campground
- Ozette Campground
- Sol Duc Campground
- South Beach Campground
- and Staircase Campground.
Olympic National Forest
The Olympic National Forest surrounds Olympic National Park encompassing over 620,000 acres. It is a beautiful area for camping, picnicking, boating, or hiking over 250 miles of dog-friendly trails.
There are 12 campgrounds for RV camping in the Olympic National Forest, including:
- Klahowya Campground in the Forks area
- Collins Campground, Falls View Campground, and Seal Rock Campground in the Hood Canal (north) area
- Big Creek Campground, Brown Creek Campground, Hamma Hamma Campground, and Lean Creek Campground in the Hood Canal (south) area
- Falls Creek Campground and the seasonal Willaby Campground in the Quinault area
- and Coho Campground and Satsop Center Campground in the Wynoochee area.
In addition to these campgrounds, there are numerous RV parks in towns like Port Angeles, Sequim, and Port Townsend.
As you make your way through the Olympic Peninsula, stop and see the many other attractions in the area like the Hood Canal. Formed by a glacier 13,000 years ago, this 68-mile saltwater fjord has amazing underwater creatures like wolf eels, giant Pacific octopus, and anemones.
Stop and soak at Sol Duc Hot Springs and take the nearby trail to see the beautiful Sol Duc Falls. Or visit Dungeness Spit, the longest natural sand spit in the U.S at 5.5 miles long. The spit juts out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is home to several various birds, marine life, and land mammals.
If marine life is of interest to you, be sure to visit the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, a 3,200-square-nautical-mile sanctuary for marine mammals, birds, fish, and more. The Olympic Coast Discovery Center in Port Angeles is part of the sanctuary and a great place for learning more about the extensive marine life in the area.
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