We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Timing and best overnight stops???

Which Olympic National Park hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
East Meadow, New...
Level Contributor
589 posts
211 reviews
Save Topic
Timing and best overnight stops???

Timing and best overnight stops???

9:24 am, today

I am putting together an 18 day road trip for mid September and am not sure exactly which places deserve more than one night and which towns to choose for the overnighters and longer. So far this is the very rough plan. We do not plan to camp or hike....only strolling walks and motels, exploring, photography. PLEASE ADVISE

Driving from airport to Mendocino/ Fort Bragg area 1 night

North to Fortuna, Eureka or Arcata for exploring, including Ave of the Giants 2 nights?

Through Redwood Natl/ State Parks to Crescent City 1 night?

Longer drive to Florence OR for bog walkways, lighthouse views, dune tour, sea lion caves 2 nights?

To Portland for 2 nights?

Onto the Olympic peninsula in WA via Olympia, Aberdeen, and to Ocean Shores for 2 nights?

Drive to Lake Quinault Lodge for lunch then to Forks 1 night?

To Port Angeles with side trips to Hurricane Ridge, Hot Springs, Crescent Lake, stay 2 nights?

Should we take a night here in Port Townsend or along the Hood Canal or just do a day exploration and stay in Tacoma?

Tacoma for car and glass museums 1 night?

Seattle 3 nights and fly home

THANKS

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,107 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

Do not stay in Ocean Shores. It is not part of ONP, and the beach there lacks the beauty and interest of the lovely ONP beaches. Either stay in the Lake Quinault area for those 2 nights, or grit your teeth and continue right on to Forks. By spending 2 (!) nights in Ocean Shores, a boring destination, you are cheating yourself of experiencing one of the most beautiful and wild parks parks in the US. There are many strolling hikes in the Quinault Rain Forest that should be perfect for you.

I see no mention of two of the wonders of ONP, indeed the world: the Quinault Rain Forest and the Hoh Rain Forest. The magnificent Hoh Rain Forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and deservedly so. Forks, which is otherwise a very lack lustre destination, makes an excellent base for exploring the Hoh RF. It is also quite close to the beautiful beaches in LaPush, Rialto Beach and Second Beach, both of which you should see.

Your Port Angeles plans are fine, but you should know that the hot springs, which I assume are Sol Duc Hot Springs, are a set of swimming pools placed on a concrete apron. The hot water is piped into the pools by the commercial operator, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. These are not wild hot springs. However, Sol Duc Falls, a lovely, short hike, is not far from the hot springs, and you should see it while based in PA.

Port Townsend is an attractive town known for its well preserved Victorian architecture. There some some nearby parks of historical interest, and the town has many restaurants and gift shops. It is certainly worth a day trip, perhaps an overnight.

The Hood Canal is a mixed bag. If you were a boater or a diver willing to rent a place along the canal, I would give you different advice. However, as a visitor you would see little beyond a view of a narrow body of water bordered by the highway. Even that view could be diminished on a rainy day. You could spend your time better elsewhere.

East Meadow, New...
Level Contributor
589 posts
211 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

THANK you so much. i love these forums. Reading guide books alone would never give me such valuable input.

We will drop Ocean Shores completely. If we push through to the Lake Quinault Lodge instead for one night, spending the next morning strolling the rain forest, drive in afternoon to Forks, it would permit us to visit LaPush, Rialto or Second Beaches as well as doing a stroll in the Hoh rain forest. Then we could still stay one night in Forks, go on to Port Angeles for 2 nighs and we could add a night in Port Townsend.

By the way, one of the best hot spring spots we have ever visited was in Chile,where volcanic hot spring waters were in small concrete pools of varying heat levels as you were higher up the mountain.

Hood Canal does not sound like a good match for us and we will skip that as well.

So where would you suggest we add another day and what do you think of these possibiities?

*on a boat trip or ferry ride to San Juan Islands os another destination?

*second night in Tacoma or Forks?

*overnight in Olympic or Aberdeen?

*Lake Crescent?

*Discover Bay

?????? We have the time so which destination would you suggest?

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
9,107 posts
17 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

Don't overnight in Aberdeen. There's a reason Kurt Cobain left. I can't believe I am saying this, but if you can find a nice place to stay in Forks, spend a second night there. Try Quillayute River Resort or Oceanside Resort in LaPush.

Lake Crescent is also a lovely place to stay, but options there are limited. If Lake Crescent Lodge has openings, spend the two nights you were allocating to Port Angeles there. Three nights would be even better. Lake C is the closest thing to a central location from which to visit all the most loved destinations in the northern half of the park.

I, too, have visited the Atacama in Chile and loved it. There are wild hot springs in ONP at Olympic Hot Springs Trail. However, this site is now closed to the public because the park is restoring damage caused by visitors. It may be a few more years before it is open.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
8,617 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

Kaleberg and I are in agreement, especially about Ocean Shores. Spend two nights at Quinault. One of the most beautiful forests anywhere, with lots of easy walks and some nice places to stay. My first choice would be Lake Quinault Lodge. I suggest the more modern Lakeside Rooms. I also know a nice rental that I am staying at in early September if you want more privacy. It is not on the Lake though. One night is not enough in my opinion to enjoy Quinault! Google Quinault Rainforest for further info.

The key to staying in Forks is where you stay and understanding the food situation. You either get a kitchen and cook, or you settle for decent burgers or so so pizza. If you want better food only spend one night. Both of Kaleberg's suggestions are good. If you want the Ocean stay at Oceanside. The River Resort is in a nice setting on the River. There are also some very nice Bed and Breakfasts. I love the cabins at Huckleberry Lodge. I also like the Cabins at Beaver Creek. It is a little further from Forks and the Ocean. If you like cooking over a grill and an evening campfire, consider Huckleberry or Beaver Creek. Google Forks Chamber of Commerce. I also second Lake Crescent Resort if like all the major resorts the high season rates is not a factor. The beauty of the Lodges at Lakes Quinault and Crescent is that you are surrounded by dynamite walks. Also If you are interested in wildlife, you will be in our rainforests during the rut. This is a prime time for viewing Roosevelt Elk and hearing the bulls bugeling. Something very special. Just give them space. Great viewing because they distracted, but also nervous and protective! Not a big deal for a lot of visitors,but something I never pass up.

Edited: 18 August 2013, 21:35
East Meadow, New...
Level Contributor
589 posts
211 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

Thanks for the input...made some changes

Lake Quinnault Lodge or Resort? which are newer -lakeside lodge rooms or the resort?

Since we are moving around quite a bit, carrying a big cooler with food supplies for cooking is not convenient. We plan to buy a small cooler to carry some breakfast and lunch foods for picnics in parks but I don't want to deal with ingredients and spices and the like. We are hoping to fly with only carryon luggage so burgers and a small cooler of yogurt and fruit and veggies will have to suffice.

Tomorrow I will phone for national park reservations and see what I can get.

So far I have booked only the California and Seattle portions of our trip.

Sept 22 Port Townsend

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
8,617 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

As I said the Lodge. Classic 30's lodge with good restaurant . Some of the Lakeside Rooms have been recently remodeled..

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
377 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

We stayed in one of the renovated rooms at Lake Quinault Lodge (it's all part of one complex). The only other rooms available on our dates--older rooms, in the main lodge-- were reportedly larger, and some had fireplaces, but in July a fireplace wasn't needed. We stayed for 3 nights, took a paid tour there (van and walking), walked the short trail in the nearby rainforest, and drove to Hoh Rainforest (took two "hikes" there and went to the visitor's center). On the way back to Quinault, stopped at a couple of scenic beaches. When we left Quinault, on our way to Hurricane Ridge and Sequim (where we spent a night, before looking at properties), we stopped in Forks just long enough to buy gas, and pick up "Twilight" souvenirs for my wife's nephew; we both found it a rather uninteresting, non-descript town, but maybe it makes sense to stay there as a base to see La Push.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
8,617 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

Sutter where did you stay or eat in Forks if you are giving people advise on Forks. Are you aware of how many hikes there are using Forks as a base?

Fortaleza, CE
Level Contributor
9,183 posts
377 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

glaciermeadows, I clear gave our impression from a brief stop. Not quite the same as "advise" (I think you meant advice). This is an open forum. Everyone can give their impression. I gave mine. If you have a different one, you can give it. No proprietary rights. Many people will give "advice" on an airline, a place, a hotel, or a restaurant, based on one visit without saying so. See the many reviews on TA (not just the forum) Some will say, "never go to xxx" or "never use airline X," etc. I clearly stated our visit was brief and it was our impression (an impression much less harsh than I've seen on various forums). And added that, as OP opined, it could make sense to say there as a base for La Push. That's all. Time to move on.

Edited: 19 August 2013, 17:40
Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
8,617 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Timing and best overnight stops???

What good does it do for you to give an impression of a place based on a brief stop. Please explain to me how that in any way helps a first time visitor in any way. I could care less about harsh criticisim if it is based on true experience. I HAVE given my opinion dozens of times having visited there since 1972. It does not help us local advisors in anyway with aiding visitors if people give advise based on drive through impressions.