Let’s face it, Northwesterners are a bit quirky. We’re outdoorsy, adventurous and impervious to the rain. No umbrellas for us—it’s waterproof rain jackets with hoods all the way. Oh, and waterproof boots, too. We’re often dressed like we’re about to go for a hike…because we often do. We’re the kind of people who are happy when it’s raining in the forest, especially our temperate rain forests here on the Olympic Peninsula. To us, playing in the pool means checking the tides, and our idea of a “live stream” means a waterfall. Out here, a romantic day often ends with a campfire.
The Northwest is a way of life, not just a place, and you can’t get any more Northwest than Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. Its crown jewel is Olympic National Park, renowned as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Site. Ringing the park like gemstones on a necklace are several charming small towns and friendly communities just waiting to share their own special Northwest nature with you.
Port Ludlow is less than two hours from Seattle and the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula from the east. Enjoy hiking or biking 30+ miles of trails. Or take to the water in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Nestled on the shores of Puget Sound, the Resort at Port Ludlow includes a boutique waterfront inn, 300-slip marina, championship 18-hole golf course and the award-winning Fireside Restaurant, celebrating the farm-to-table bounty of the region.
Sequim, tucked in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, is the gateway to over 50 acres of lavender fields and considered the Lavender Capital of North America. It’s also home to the Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge, the longest natural sand spit in the US with an abundance of wildlife and birding opportunities. Sequim is an easy place to access the Olympic Discovery Trail, part of a rails-to-trails system spanning 135 miles across the Olympic Peninsula, boasting stunning views for cyclists and hikers around every bend.
Port Angeles is the northern gateway to Olympic National Park and offers an abundance of outdoor recreation. It’s a spectacular drive up to Hurricane Ridge, a mountain citadel that puts you at the edge of the park’s jagged peaks. Port Angeles is a smallish seaside-meets-mountain town with nuggets of history, hints of fame, bewitching beauty and adventures for cyclists and all-season sports enthusiasts. It’s also the gateway to Victoria, British Columbia, Canada via access on the MV Coho ferry.
Forks is a pioneer town and the entrance to the west side of the Olympic National Park. It’s the springboard for exploring the lush Hoh Rain Forest, an emerald wonderland of moss-draped trees with some record-holding giants, and the wild ocean beaches where you’ll see sea stacks, huge surf-tossed logs and bald eagles in their natural habitat. In recent years, its fame rose even higher as the setting for that little series of books and movies known as Twilight.
When’s a good time to visit the Olympic Peninsula? Any time you can get here! This four-season destination offers wide open spaces and tranquil places plus adventures large and small, all year round. You simply can’t get any more Northwest!