A Family Road Trip to Olympic Peninsula's Northwestern Edge

A Family Road Trip to Olympic Peninsula’s Northwestern Edge

Pack the car, RV, tent, backpack or boat, your kids and the dog, and head out on a family road trip to Olympic Peninsula’s northwestern edge. In short, this is a perfect place for hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, beach walking and more in some of the most pristine scenery in the world.

Strait of Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway

Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway Welcome Sign in front of trees and blue sky seen during family road trip to Northwestern Edge of Olympic Peninsula.

The magic of road tripping begins with one of the most spectacular stretches of highway you’ve ever imagined. A 15-minute drive southwest of Port Angeles, you’ll find the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca National Scenic Byway on State Route 112. It’s 61 miles of sheer beauty and loads of fun for the entire family. Delight in corridors of evergreens reaching to the sky and then open into expansive farmland. Cattle and horses dot bucolic landscapes.

Salt Creek Recreation Area

Salt Creek Tongue Point

Follow the road to the Salt Creek Recreation Area. This Clallam County Park has national park aesthetics with county park amenities. Kids will love exploring the tide pools with their colorful marine life at low tide coupled with playing on the beach. The park boasts 92 premium campsites, with 39 having water and electrical hookups. One campground is tucked into the forest and by comparison, the other offers panoramic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca across to Vancouver Island, BC.

Lyre River Conservation Area

Surfing at the mouth of the Lyre River

Further on, a hidden gem is the Lyre River Conservation Area, a 280-acre property just east of the Lyre River on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Here you’ll discover tide-flats, streams, kelp beds and a half mile of shoreline. Surfing is great at the mouth of the river. It’s also ideal for picnicking, fishing, and bird/wildlife viewing. There’s a two-mile trail leading to the beach and back that’s wide and flat coupled with its meandering beauty through the forest. The trail is open to hikers, bikers, equestrians, and e-bikes. In addition, the Lyre River Campground has 11 campsites which can accommodate up to a 20-foot RV.

Hiking a Lyre River trail

Pillar Point County Park

Nearly a half hour further west, take a respite from the twisty road and stop for a picnic at Pillar Point. It’s a breathtaking panorama of ships heading out to sea or to inland ports. Crabbing is popular at low tide from the shore or launch your boat at high tide.

Clallam Bay and Sekiu

Baby smiling whilst digging in sand on beach with seaweed right behind them and trees & cliffs in background. Photo taken during family roadtrip to Northwestern Edge of Olympic Peninsula.
Beach time is fun for all ages

Tucked along the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the historic fishing villages of Clallam Bay and Sekiu offer a plethora of exciting family activities along the rim of a gorgeous bay. You can charter a fishing boat, go Scuba diving, kayaking and whale watching. And another key point is there are campgrounds, RV parks, inns, resorts and motels for restful nights. The area is surrounded by stunning places to hike where you can trek through parts of Olympic National Park, Washington State Parks, and Clallam County Parks. Beach walks take you along some of the most beautiful, natural beaches in the world.

Clallam Bay County Park and Slip Point

Two dogs sitting underneath Clallam Bay Spit Picnic Shelter during family roadtrip to Nortwestern Edge of Olympic Peninsula.
Clallam Bay Spit Picnic Shelter with hopeful picnickers

Year-round access to the shore at Clallam Bay Spit Community Beach County Park offers an ideal place for beachcombing as well as a stroll along this lovely saltwater beach. Dip your toes in the water or sit on a driftwood log. Marvel at the splendor surrounding you. Follow the shoreline northeast to Slip Point to discover more beach fun in a stunning setting.

Neah Bay and the Makah Ancestral Lands

Person hiking in forest down wooden stairs on Ozette Trail during family roadtrip to Northwestern Edge of Olympic Peninsula.
Ozette Trail

As you head west, at this point SR 112 becomes the Cape Flattery Tribal Scenic Byway where you can discover the rich, ancient heritage of the Makah Tribe. Be sure to visit the Makah Cultural and Research Center to learn about the tribe’s history, a people who have lived on this land since time immemorial.

Opportunities abound for camping, sport fishing, and sightseeing. Hike the pristine coast to Shi Shi Beach in Olympic National Park. Or head to the Ozette Campground, a good home base to hike the 9.4-mile roundtrip Ozette Triangle—a forest stroll and beach walk. Don’t miss hiking the ¾-mile Cape Flattery trail along a cedar-planked boardwalk to see Tatoosh Island Lighthouse. This is the most northwestern point of the contiguous United State. A recreational permit is required when you’re on the Makah ancestral lands and can be purchased at several outlets in Neah Bay.

In summary, a family road trip to Olympic Peninsula’s northwestern edge is a special memory just waiting to be made. At any of these magnificent places, you’ll experience the wonder of nature, discovering its beauty and power as you listen to the whisper of the sea and wind in the trees.