After spending the first half of the weekend at Lake Quinault for J’s birthday, we decided to take a tour of the rest of the Olympic Peninsula on our way home. For those of you not familiar with the Olympic Peninsula….well, it’s huge! Olympic National Park makes up the center of the Peninsula, and there really aren’t any roads through the park. So the only way around is to take a giant loop. We’ve been to Port Angeles and Hurricane Ridge on the north side of the Peninsula many times, but our trip to Lake Quinault was our first adventure to the southern part. And I’d never seen the Washington Coast! So, we set off on a day of driving the giant loop around.
Here’s a map showing the destinations we stopped at, to give you an idea of how far we drove!
Our first stop was at Kalaloch Beach, which was only about 30 minutes from Lake Quinault. We got so lucky that the weather was so beautiful the weekend we were there! We parked at Kalaloch Lodge and walked down to the beach.
And there’s the Pacific Ocean!
So many of the beaches in Washington are rocky, but this one had plenty of sand! I loved walking along the water here – it was not crowded at all, and if we’d had more time I would’ve loved to sit and watch the waves. Adding it to the list to come back to someday! If you’re looking for a beach with a little less crowds, then definitely consider Kalaloch. You won’t be disappointed!
Two of our friends came with us on the Olympic Peninsula tour, and their dog was SO EXCITED about the ocean! It was so cute! She wouldn’t stop laying down in the water.
And had to go for a run too!
Our adventure buddies!
Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to stay and relax at Kalaloch because we had to keep moving if we were going to make it home at a reasonable time! Fortunately, our next stop was just as gorgeous…
A little further up the coast was Ruby Beach, which I think is more well-known, so a bit more crowded than Kalaloch. I loved all the piles of driftwood that you have to climb over to make it to the beach.
The rocks sticking out of the beach are so impressive!
Puppy really enjoyed the view too 🙂
Forks / La Push
Next our journey around the Peninsula took us through Forks and La Push, of Twilight fame. I haven’t read the books, so I can’t say that Forks was a super exciting place for me, but there are a number of things from the books/movies to see if you are a fan! I did like this No Vampires sign that we passed on our way out to La Push 🙂
Aaaannnd another gorgeous beach!
La Push is located on an Indian reservation, so if you are going to park your car and stay and spend time at the beaches here, make sure you stop at a convenience store in town on your way through and buy a permit – it’s $10 for the day and will keep you from getting a ticket or your car towed!
We didn’t have time to do more than drive past Lake Crescent this time, but it is so worth a visit! It’s unbelievably beautiful and has so many things to do, especially for kids! Check out this post for more of our adventures at Lake Crescent.
We stopped in Port Angeles for a quick dinner before heading to the Bainbridge Island ferry. I wish we’d had time to drive up to Hurricane Ridge, because the view from up there is one of my favorites in the world. But, since it was Sunday and we had to work the next day, we just didn’t have time for it this trip. Here’s a shot from Port Angeles looking up toward Hurricane Ridge though!
Check out these posts for more on Hurricane Ridge if you’re interested in visiting!
Hood Canal Bridge
It’s inevitable that if you’re rushing to try and make a ferry from Bainbridge that of course you will get stopped on the Hood Canal Bridge while they raise the drawbridge to let some boats pass through! It’s just part of the experience of living in Seattle and visiting the Olympic Peninsula 🙂
At least it gave us a chance to see this amazing view back at the Olympic Mountains!
We finally made it onto the ferry from Bainbridge back to Seattle and watched this amazing sunset on our way home.