Visiting the Olympic Peninsula in early spring is a unique experience. Yes, it can get rainy, but good gear will negate any reasons to not get out there to enjoy the lush greens and fresh air. You can find exquisite glimpses of nature that only happen at this time of year. There is a quiet solitude on most trails and the beaches entertain the changing weather. Early spring is a wonderful time visit the Olympic Peninsula and the best time to view its waterfalls that are swollen from the winter’s mountain snow pack. Whether you storm watch or hike the hills you’ll find yourself renewed. Here are six tips from the locals to help you plan your spring trip.
TIP #1 – Do some research before you come.
If you aren’t someone who likes to make reservations ahead, at least check to see if there are activities that may limit hotel availability so you will be prepared. Be sure places you want to go will be open. Hurricane Ridge Road opens back up to seven days a week after March, weather permitting. Also, some lodgings and campsites may only be open seasonally. On the other hand, visiting in late winter and early spring is a great time to take advantage of lower rates!
TIP #2 – Plan your visit by drive times, not by miles.
Drive times and distance don’t always make sense to non-locals. The drive to Neah Bay from Seattle is only 154 miles, but it takes over 4 hours to get there. Magnificent scenery rewards the traveler along the way, but there are no freeways. From Port Angeles to Forks, it is 56 miles and takes about 1.25 hours. These times are dependent on traffic and weather conditions. So give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the journey. Stay alert of road conditions throughout Olympic National Park and on the highways as well.
TIP #3 – Pack for wearing layers and bring some rain gear.
That’s an all-season recommendation for the Olympic Peninsula. You can drive from the sunny Blue Hole of the Sequim rain shadow to the damp, wet rain forests. Sneakers are good for hiking on slick boardwalks and sturdy hiking boots are good for muddy trails. If you’re traveling into the mountains, keep in mind the weather can be much colder and change with little warning.
TIP #4 – Budget accordingly.
Ferry (if you take one), gas, food, lodging, park permits, attraction fees and souvenirs. The Olympic Peninsula is abundant with things to do for free and at low cost. Our Unforgettable and Under $100 road trips are a great place to find fun things to do that won’t break the bank.
TIP #5 – Check out what the locals are doing.
The communities around the peninsula are little jewels to explore. Take a look at the local papers or bulletin boards at grocery stores or shop windows. Or, join the people who live here to see what they support in their communities. You can find everything from gem shows, to yoga retreats, to baking classes, to fly tying workshops, to “you-name-it” gatherings, to great local theater. Check out our Events Calendar for inspiration all year round.
TIP #6 – Be realistic.
Have an idea what you’d like to do, but be open to weather, road delays, and long distances changing your plans. Don’t try to do too much in one visit. Enjoy what you can do while you are here. Many visitors feel as though they need multiple trips to see and do everything they had originally planned, and that’s OK! See our Road Trip ideas for ideas for a realistic visit. We’re here to help you plan. We invite you to contact us with your travel questions and request a FREE Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner.
Enjoy your visit. Relax, play, and let the beauty of the Olympic Peninsula soak into you.