Start the Highway 101 loop heading north between the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. If you’ve got dive experience, rent equipment from Mike’s Dive Center and search the murky depths for giant octopus. Or just take a short hike at Dosewallips State Park. Enjoy a lunch of Hood Canal oysters in Hoodsport, and take it easy for the night in Port Townsend.
Enjoy the history in Port Townsend with a visit to Fort Worden State Park. Then head east to Sequim for a brisk hike along the longest natural sand spit in the United States, Dungeness Spit. Head west on 101 to Port Angeles. Learn about the wilderness on the peninsula at the Olympic National Park Visitors Center and find a local bed-and-breakfast to rest for the evening.
Start the morning by taking a drive to one of the best viewpoints in Washington, Hurricane Ridge. Then continue east to the Sol Duc River Valley. Take a hike up to Sol Duc Falls and soak in the hot spring waters at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, where you’ll rest for the evening.
Continue east on 101, and you’ll be greeted by the neon blue waters of Lake Crescent. Stop for a short hike to Marymere Falls from the rangers station. Stay the night in La Push and enjoy a walk along the log-strewn beach here.
Get back on 101 going south, until you reach Upper Hoh Road. This will take you east along the Hoh River, deep into the lush Hoh Rain Forest. Pick one of the many trails to tramp between the towering pines drooped with moss here. Then continue on to the bluffs of Kalaloch for a look at the rugged Washington coast.
Today you’ll explore Lake Quinault, less than an hour south of Kalaloch along Highway 101. Take the 30-mile loop around the lake— numerous trails butt up against the road if you’re eager to stretch your legs. Take it easy by the lake at Lake Quinault Resort.
From Lake Quinault, sneak back over to the coast on Moclips-Quinault Road, and take a leisurely scenic drive down Highway 109. Stop at Pacific Beach State Park or Griffiths-Priday State Park to fly a kite or cast a fishing line. Then keep driving south until you hit Ocean Shores, to enjoy the last hours of sunlight riding horseback along the beach.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition