Seeing as your innkeeper has no family in Washington State and loves to travel the world, it’s rare that she takes an in-state vacation. This summer, however, innkeeper’s husband and good friends Cindy and Steve from Denver decided to join me in “doing” the Olympic Peninsula. Below are some quick highlights of our adventures, not necessarily in any order that makes sense. We took nine days to see sights and to relax; you could spend as little as one night (although you would regret not having spent enough time) to a month! Please note that this is not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all there is to see and do there.
Port Townsend: We mistakenly thought we could experience the charming town of Port Townsend in one day. Take two, so you have time to stroll the Victorian-era main street, enjoy a beverage on a sunny deck or in an underground bar, as well as to roam the beaches and historic sights at Fort Worden State Park.
Dungeness Spit (in Sequim – pronounced “skwim”): You may or may not want to make the 11-mile roundtrip trek to the lighthouse, but you have to at least stop and take a look at the longest natural sand spit in the United States.
Hurricane Ridge (17 miles from Port Angeles): Your innkeeper is afraid of edges, but managed the drive to Hurricane Ridge just fine on a really good road. Plan on at least a half day to include some hiking at the top, and expect to see wildlife up close. (Note: We were there on the first day of clearing from the smoke due to fires in British Columbia. The views can be even more spectacular than the ones pictured.)
Victoria, British Columbia: A one- or two-day trip via ferry to Victoria gives you enough time to take in this very walkable city, have high tea at the Empress Hotel (watch out for the sugar rush), and explore the world-famous Butchart Gardens. Add a day if you want to see the Royal British Columbia Museum and Parliament House. You don’t really need a car, as you can take the public bus to the gardens. Don’t forget your passport!
Cape Flattery: It’s difficult to capture the sights, sounds, and feelings of being at the westernmost point in the contiguous United States, which is home of the Makah Tribe. The relatively easy, 1.5-mile (roundtrip) hike from the parking area is definitely worth it (just take a walking stick and take it slowly if you have knee trouble, as there are many steps up and down – just not many at one time).
Rialto Beach and Hole-in-the-Wall: One of the most easily accessible beaches on Washington’s Pacific coast, this one gives you just a taste of the wild beauty to be found at many others to the north and south. From here, it’s about a 1.5-mile walk (one way) to Split Rock and Hole in the Wall.
Hoh Rain Forest: One of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States, a visit here is a must. Huge trees, drippy moss, and rangers ready to educate you about all things Hoh. You could spend an hour or a day here, depending on your tolerance of peaceful, lush, green places.
We’re happy to make recommendations for accommodations on the peninsula, or you can check out the members of the Washington Bed and Breakfast Guild at www.wbbg.com.