Drive the Olympic Peninsula: Washington’s adventure route

With all there is to see, do, discover and explore, it’s tough to narrow down the top spots to see on the Olympic Peninsula loop. But we’ll give it a try.

On the don’t-miss list you’ll find Olympic National Forest, ridges, lakes and rainforests thick with moss, stunning coastline and ocean beaches. Take an iconic Pacific Northwest wilderness hike. Trek a miles-long sand spit. Ferry to Canada or drive one of the most scenic highway stretches in this part of the world.

Regardless of where you explore or what you plan for your Olympic Peninsula adventure, be sure to experience these top-15 sites on the map below.

CHIMACUM VALLEY

Historic farming community that now embraces artisan food creation: grass-fed meat, artisan cheeses, organically grown fruits and vegetables. Award-winning wines and ciders. Watch the art of cheese making, buy fresh goat cheese and meet goats at the farm.

Chimacum Valley, Port Hadlock-Irondale, WA, USA

CULLEN HOUSE

The honorary home of the “Twilight” Saga’s Edward Cullen and his adopted family of vampires is actually the Miller Tree Inn! Forks’ townsfolk like to imagine that this large house would be most fitting for the reclusive family.

654 E Division St, Forks, WA 98331, USA

DUNGENESS SPIT

Longest natural sand spit in the U.S., stretching 5.5 miles into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Hike to its tip to see the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Within Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. Watch for waterfowl, seabirds, marine and land mammals.

Dungeness Spit, Washington, USA

HIGHWAY 112 SCENIC BYWAY

Dramatic coastline is beautiful in all seasons. View rugged cliffs and thick forest. Watch for oft-seen eagles, otters and gray whales. Take a side trip to Lake Ozette. Enjoy hiking, birding, kayaking and beachcombing along the coast and beaches.

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HOH RAIN FOREST

One of the most popular destinations in Olympic National Park. Towering, moss-draped trees and lush greenery due to average annual rainfall of 168 inches. Walk nature trails, explore along the Hoh River, spot many birds in this dense habitat.

18113 Upper Hoh Rd, Forks, WA 98331, USA

HURRICANE RIDGE (VISITOR CENTER)

Crown jewel of Olympic National Park: dazzling vistas of mountain peaks from 5,242-foot-elevation Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. A year-round experience: recreational opportunities from hiking, cycling, skiing to wildlife and wildflower viewing. Most easily accessed mountain area in Olympic National Park.

3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, WA, USA

LA PUSH/SECOND BEACH

Scenic beach located near the town of La Push. Reach it via an easy short hike and steep stairs. Great place to walk, beachcomb, watch for whales and wildlife. Views of dramatic coastline dotted with sea stacks.

Second Beach, WA, USA

LAKE CRESCENT

Glacially carved lake with clear-water views to 60-foot depths. Canoe, kayak and boat in turquoise-hued, alpine waters. Cast a line for wild salmon. Bike, hike, jog and walk through surrounding old-growth forests. Just 20 miles west of Port Angeles.

Lake Crescent, WA, USA

LAKE OZETTE

Crystal waters surrounded by old-growth forests define Lake Ozette. Hike several three-mile boardwalks to Pacific Coast beaches to spot sea birds, seals and migrating gray whales. Stay at Ozette’s campground or campsites and cabins just outside the park boundary.

Ozette Lake, Washington, USA

LAKE QUINAULT

Tucked into the SW corner of Olympic National Park, surrounded by the Quinault Rain Forest. Hike to photogenic waterfalls and giant, record-setting trees. Drive around the entire lake. Bask on the lake shore at one of the local lodgings.

Lake Quinault, Washington, USA

OLYMPIC NATIONAL FOREST

Diverse, 628,115-acre forest nearly surrounds Olympic National Park and the Olympic Mountain range. Varied landscape from lush rain forests to deep canyons to high mountain ridges to ocean beaches. Encompasses parts of Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson and Mason counties.

295142 Highway 101 S. Quilcene, WA 98376

RUBY BEACH

Named for its red-hued beach pebbles. One of the most beautiful beaches in Washington—a must-see destination within Olympic National Park. Explore tidepools, beachcomb, traverse sun-bleached driftwood logs. View shore birds, marine life and spectacular sea stacks just offshore.

Ruby Beach, Washington, USA

SHI SHI BEACH

Touted as one of the last wild beaches in America, this gem is worth the eight-mile, roundtrip hike. Enjoy stunning views, sandy beaches, tide pools, wild ocean waves and dramatic sea stacks. Camp overnight on the beach to stay longer.

Shi Shi Beach Rd, Clallam Bay, WA 98326, USA

SOL DUC VALLEY

Old-growth forest and the scenic Sol Duc River below, subalpine lakes and snowy peaks above. Just 40 minutes west of Port Angeles, this valley features hiking trails to backcountry, stunning Sol Duc Falls, a hot springs resort, camping and cabins.

Sol Duc Valley, Washington, USA

STAIRCASE

The family-friendly trail through second-growth forest beside the rapids of the North Fork Skokomish River. See mushrooms and hanging moss, enjoy several swimming holes. Take marked trail spur to see a massive, fallen, old-growth cedar tree.

Staircase, Hoodsport, WA, USA