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14 Things to Do on the Olympic Peninsula (From Hiking to Rafting)

14 Things to Do on the Olympic Peninsula (From Hiking to Rafting)

Post created July 24, 2023

Located in the westcoast of Washington, the Olympic Peninsula is a stunning region filled with diverse natural landscapes and vibrant cultural experiences. From lush rainforests and rugged coastlines to mountain ranges and charming towns, the Olympic Peninsula has it all!

Whether you’re trekking through the wilderness of Olympic National Park, exploring the rich Native American heritage, or simply soaking in the beauty of the region’s beaches and rivers, there is an adventure waiting at every corner.

Here are 14 activities that will make your time in the Olympic Peninsula truly unforgettable:

1. Enjoy an Immersive Journey through Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a must-see spot for all people who love nature. With its unique landscapes, it will feel like moving into a whole new world. From the rainforests to the snowy peaks of the mountains and the untouched shoreline, the views will blow you away.

The park is home to a variety of animals. You may see a Roosevelt elk in a field or notice a bird singing inside the rainforest. You may even spot a starfish on the seaside.

There are lots of trails to discover, too. Whether you choose a mild walk through the woodland or a tough mountain hike, there may be a route for you. Don’t forget to pack lunch for a picnic.

There’s a small price to enter the park. However, it’s really worth each and every penny. A trip to Olympic National Park is greater than only a day out.

2. The Lush Greens of the Hoh Rain Forest

The Hoh Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park is like stepping into a living, breathing postcard. It’s a place of towering trees, dense greenery, and a sense of peace that only nature can provide.

The forest is a real treat for anyone who enjoys plants. With its moss-covered trees and a carpet of ferns, it’s a green wonderland. Look closer, and you’ll see a variety of mushrooms, berries, and flowers.

Trails with signs make it a smooth experience to explore. Some trails are short and gentle. Others are longer and are more challenging, presenting a journey into the heart of the woodland. If possible, you should take your camera to take Instagram-worthy photos.

It’s worth noting that the Hoh Rain Forest calls for a small park entry price. It’s a chance to break out from busy life and get into nature’s quiet beauty.

3. Hiking in the Olympic Mountains

Mountain view in Olympic National Park (Image Credit: iStock / noblige)

With an array of trails that encompass a range of difficulty levels, hiking in the Olympic Mountains offers an opportunity for individuals to indulge in natural splendor, test their physical prowess, and revel in a profound sense of accomplishment.

With just a glance, the stunning mountain vistas stretch out before your eyes, revealing the beauty of nature. Gazing into the distance, you’ll catch a glimpse of a modest summit rising gracefully amongst the rugged mountain range. The vibrant wildlife adds the perfect finishing touch to this unforgettable scene.

For those who love the great outdoors, there is a network of trails waiting to be explored. The various paths cater to all levels of hiking ability, with both leisurely strolls and challenging treks to choose from. Don’t forget to bring along your essentials – water, snacks, and other food. 

Included in the park entry fee is the opportunity to hike in the Olympic Mountains, which offers a unique chance to venture into the untamed wilderness and challenge one’s physical stamina.

4. Explore Rialto Beach

Rialto Beach is a real gem of the Olympic National Park, a place wherein you can explore the beauty of the Pacific Northwest’s coastline. With its rugged landscape and beautiful waves, it’s a lovely place.

You’ll locate thrilling driftwood and pebbles of various styles and sizes on the seaside, and with some luck, you might spot some sea creatures inside the tide swimming pools. 

Whether you need to take a leisurely stroll alongside the shore, experience a picnic with the family, or want to watch the sunset, Rialto Beach is a great spot to go to.

Visiting Rialto Beach comes with no extra price when you’re in the park. It’s an opportunity to loosen up, get lost in nature, and maybe even dip your toes in the Pacific Ocean. This is a beautiful seaside experience.

5. Soothing Retreat at Sol Duc Hot Springs

While visiting the Olympic National Park, you won’t want to miss a visit to the Sol Duc Hot Springs. These naturally heated pools are a unique experience in the lush forests.

The warm springs are known for relaxing and healing residences. Relax your muscles in the warm water. It’s a good way to loosen up after an afternoon of hiking or exploring.

There are many swimming pools at Sol Duc, every with exceptional water temperatures. Choose the only one that’s right for you, or try them all. There’s also a freshwater pool for a refreshing dip.

Entry to Sol Duc Hot Springs comes with a separate fee, but it’s worth it for its relaxation. Whether you’re seeking out a second of calm or a unique out-of-doors spa revel in, Sol Duc Hot Springs is a must-visit spot.

6. A Paddler’s Paradise Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent (Image Credit: iStock / libre de droit)

Lake Crescent is a beautiful spot for people who love water activities. Its deep, clean waters and beautiful surroundings make it an ideal region for paddling.

The lake’s calm waters are perfect for kayaking. You can use your very own equipment or use one from one of the stores. Paddling permits you to explore the lake at your very own tempo, revel in the quiet, and take in the stunning mountain views.

For folks that want to stay dry, the lake’s shorelines are ideal for a picnic or a leisurely stroll. The closeby trails also offer opportunities for trekking and wildlife tracking.

Access to Lake Crescent is free; however, you must take into account that the gadget condo may have extra fees. Whether you’re a seasoned paddler or attempting it for the first time, Lake Crescent gives a fresh and remarkable experience.

7. Exploring the Exquisite Dungeness Spit

The Dungeness Spit is a unique and fascinating place to explore. As one of the globe’s longest herbal sand spits, it gives a unique walking experience.

Following the spit, you may enjoy yourself in a mixture of sandy beaches and pebbled beaches. You can often find seals and seabirds out at sea, so look for seashells and driftwood washed ashore.

The highlight of the spit is the historical Dungeness Lighthouse. If you’re up for a walk, the Five-mile trek to the lighthouse is well worth the attempt, rewarding you with panoramic views and a near-up have a look at the lighthouse itself.

There is a small charge to enter the Dungeness. Whether you’re in for a long walk or a relaxing day by the seashore, Dungeness Spit gives a unique coastal experience.

8. Explore Quinault Rain Forest

The Quinault Rain Forest in the Olympic National Park is a lush paradise that leaves visitors in awe. Home to towering bushes, shimmering lakes, and an array of natural worlds, it is a haven for nature lovers.

The forest gives numerous on-foot and trekking trails, best for all abilities. As you wander thru the timber, you will discover a wealthy variety of plant and animal existence. From colorful birds to cute squirrels and perhaps even deer, the woodland is alive with all sorts of wildlife.

Don’t overlook to go to Lake Quinault, located inside the forest. Whether you fancy a fresh swim or a peaceful boat journey, the lake offers a welcome break out from the hustle of everyday life.

There’s a small fee to get admission to the Quinault Rain Forest, protected by the park entry fee. It’s a small charge to pay for an unforgettable journey.

9. Birdwatching on the Olympic Peninsula

(Image Credit: iStock / BalanceFormcreative)

For bird lovers, the Olympic Peninsula offers a feast for the eyes and the soul. With a wide variety of bird species calling this place home, it’s a paradise for birdwatching.

You’ll find different species in various habitats. From the seashore to the mountain peaks and the dense forests, there’s always a chance to spot something special. Look out for the majestic bald eagles, vibrant hummingbirds, or the distinctive call of the raven.

Binoculars and a bird guidebook would be useful tools to enhance your birdwatching experience. And remember, the joy of birdwatching comes with patience and silence, letting nature reveal its secrets at its own pace.

Birdwatching in the Olympic Peninsula doesn’t require any additional fees aside from the park entry fee. So take your time, stay quiet, and enjoy the beautiful show nature puts on in this spectacular setting.

10. Raft Through Elwha River

Elwha River (Image Credit: iStock / Jesse Stephens)

The Elwha River, a part of the Olympic National Park, is a place of natural surprise and quietness. Flowing through lovely landscapes, it is a haven for the ones looking for peace and a journey.

Along the river, there are many spots perfect for picnics or simply enjoying the surroundings. Watch the river float by, enjoy the encompassing greenery, and appearance out for neighborhood wildlife.

If you’re more adventurous, the river gives more than a few water activities. Kayaking and rafting are popular choices that I would reccomend.

The Elwha River is offered together with your park access charge. Whether you are after an interesting water adventure or simply enjoy a good view, the Elwha River offers unforgettable experiences.

11. Unveiling the Native American Culture of the Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula is an area rich in Native American records and culture. A visit here gives an insightful view of the traditions and way of life of the indigenous tribes of the region.

Local museums show off artifacts and reveal the tribes’ history. You may also stumble upon cultural centers showcasing demonstrations of traditional crafts, dances, and storytelling classes.

Participating in a guided excursion led by a member of the local tribes can be a memorable experience as well. They offer first-hand knowledge of their traditions, ideals, and their robust reference to nature.

Exploring the Native American tradition of the Peninsula can include various fees depending on the activities you pick out. But it is a unique opportunity to learn and respect the rich history.

12. Swim at Ruby Beach Tide Pools

Ruby Beach, located inside the Olympic National Park, is known for its tide swimming pools. These clear pools are domestic to plenty of marine lifestyles, making them an outdoor aquarium waiting to be explored.

As the tide recedes, it shows swimming pools filled with colorful sea stars, agile crabs, and other sea creatures.

Remember to tread gently around this sensitive area. Observing from a respectful distance ensures the protection of each of you and the creatures living inside the pools.

Visiting the Ruby Beach Tide Pools is included in the park entry fee. So, bring your curiosity and a keen eye for detail to fully appreciate this unique feature of Ruby Beach.

13. Road Trip on the Olympic Peninsula Loop

Embarking on a road trip on the Olympic Peninsula Loop is a must-do for any visitor. This scenic drive takes you through some of the most beautiful landscapes the peninsula has to offer.

The loop covers a number of terrains, from the stunning coastline to the lush rainforests and majestic mountains. Each corner brings a brand new view, and there are lots of spots to pull over and soak inside the scenery.

Along the trip, there are several towns and sights to stop at. Whether it is a meal at a neighborhood diner or a quick hike on a trail

Costs for this adventure are mostly limited to your vehicle’s fuel. But the memories and photographs from this picturesque drive? Is priceless. 

14. Do Some Fishing

Fishing (Image Credit: iStock / nickrlake)

The Olympic Peninsula is a high spot for fishing fans. Whether it’s freshwater fishing inside the rivers and lakes or saltwater fishing inside the Pacific Ocean, there’s a spot for every angler here.

The area is home to various fish, including salmon, trout, and halibut. Depending on the season, you could catch a big one! Remember to check the most recent regulations for fishing seasons and licensing requirements.

There are several fishing charters and courses available for people who choose a prepared experience. They offer equipment and knowledge and can regularly take you to first-rate spots.

Fishing experience charges can range based totally on your particular plans. But the fun of the catch and the peacefulness of being on the water while fishing in the Olympic Peninsula can be a good experience for everyone.

Ashleigh on ferry Island hopping.

Hi, I'm Ashleigh! Welcome to Seattle Travel, my little piece of beautiful PNW. This is home and I'm here to share all my experiences so visitors and locals alike can find the best experiences this part of the country has to offer. I started Seattle Travel in 2012 as a way to journal my experiences and over the years have been encouraged by family and friends to open up my adventures to everyone. I actively seek out the best food, activities, and day trips and give you a local perspective.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful areas in the world and my goal is to let you explore it to the fullest. 


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