The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington

Tripoto

The Olympic Peninsula in western Washington has everything you could desire. Olympic National Park takes up most of it, but there is still so much more. Just within the National Park are rainforests, beaches full of haystacks and lighthouses, and jagged mountains that jut up into the sky full of wildlife and beautiful scenery. Then there are all the small towns along the way. From coastal towns to vampire vs. werewolves war grounds to Indian Reservations, there isn't a shortage of things to do in the Olympic Peninsula.

Photo of Olympic Peninsula, Jefferson County, WA, United States by liferidingshotgun

Twilight

Our first stop was Forks, which we chose for its close proximity to the Hoh Rainforest and Rialto Beach. We went to the Visitor Information Center to inquire about boondocking sites. As soon as we walked in, we were inundated with Twilight memorabilia and life size cutouts. I guess if you're a "twi-hard" fan (get it?), you already knew that the books and movies were based in Forks. I'm not, so I didn't. I was the village idiot that day. I think I heard an audible gasp from the three ladies at the visitor center when I said I hadn't seen the movies (or read the books). Anyway, they were very informative in answering all of our questions and even provided me with a town map, which of course listed all of the Twilight areas of interest - the high school where Bella and Edward met, the hospital where Edward's dad worked, the police station where Bella's dad worked, and the main characters' houses.

Photo of Forks, WA, United States by liferidingshotgun

So, just for the heckuvit, we went on a self-guided tour of small-town Forks. Bella and Edward live in town. Here are their houses. FYI, Bella's house is currently for sale if anyone's interested. Edward's house is a Bed & Breakfast. Even so, you are not welcome to enter if you're not a guest, but there is a note from Edward's mom on the front porch and you can peak through the window to see some memorabilia.

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Jacob lives a few miles outside of town, on the way to the beach, where his Reservation is located. Particularly interesting is that there really is a Native American Reservation there. His little shack, which can be rented as a camping cabin, is just past the "Treaty Line".

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

And the little eatery there alerts everyone to the risk of those vicious vampires crossing the treaty line and causing trouble.

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Well, that didn't take long and now my boys want to see Twilight, so off I go to search Netflix...

Hoh Rainforest

This is the most popular of the rain forests, although there are three separate rain forests, separated by about 30 miles each. Ironically, it was sunny when we visited. But all the moss and huge trees were reminders that we just got lucky with the weather. This place gets over 200 inches of rain per year!

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Ruby Beach

This beach is very pretty with several haystack rock formations. The beach is rocky, but the rocks are smooth, flat river rocks. Behind the bank is a pond that a stream flows into. It's perfect for skipping those nice rocks. Our boys had fun for hours.

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Rialto Beach

Another pretty beach with several haystacks, this beach is also rocky and has log jams. But these aren't just logs, these are entire trees, huge trees, apparently tumbled in the ocean then slammed onto the beach. A nearby beach suffered 170mph winds back in 1921 which flattened the forest there, so I'm assuming that that's where these trees came from.

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun
Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

At the top of the peninsula is the quaint town of Port Angeles. This is a little town that has everything. We spotted big box stores and locally owned markets, chain restaurants and hole-in-the-wall eateries that use ingredients from local farms, not to mention both big beautiful mountains as well as gorgeous coast and beaches. The waterfront district has lots of great places to eat, viewing piers of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and a ferry to Victoria, B.C.

Photo of Port Angeles, WA, United States by liferidingshotgun

Olympic National Park is right down the road. Hurricane Ridge offers spectacular panoramic views of the mountain range.

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Sticking out on a peninsula all its own to the furthest northeast of the Olympic Peninsula is the Victorian town of Port Townsend. This is a lovely small town with none of the big box or chain stores. It's Maritime history is evident in the architecture, museums, and watching the ferries, sailboats, and seaplanes from the waterfront.

Photo of Port Townsend, WA, United States by liferidingshotgun

Sea glass collectors flock to North Beach. At one time, garbage trucks used to dump the garbage over the cliffside here into the strait. Over time, the glass pieces were broken and polished by the waves. Small glass pieces can be found all along the beach. We found blue, green, amber, clear, and one pink, a very tiny red, and one porcelain shard. Now, to figure out what to make out of our finds...

Photo of The Diverse Olympic Peninsula, Washington by liferidingshotgun

Trip first published on Life Riding Shotgun

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