Looking for a list of must-see places on your visit to the Olympic Peninsula? Live around the Olympic Peninsula and haven’t taken a moment to enjoy all the area has to offer?
Well, look no further. You are absolutely in the right place, and I am happy to help you start planning your adventure. The following list is a compilation of the top seven sights on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington.
Spot Whales on the Open Water
A whale-watching excursion with Island Adventures Whale Watching Tours is an amazing adventure. Whether you want to see orcas, humpbacks, minke, or grey whales this is your tour!
Island Adventures Whale Watching Tours has a 96% success rate of whale sightings, with various locations around the Olympic Peninsula offering tours. On our excursion, we saw Orcas and Humpback whales. The tour is about 4 hours.
Before taking to the water, I admit I was a bit worried about being on the water that long. Four hours flew by, and no one was ready to come home as the time passed by out on the water, spotting wildlife.
Visit the Island Adventures website to reserve your Whale Watching Tour. Check out the post on our experience to answer all your FAQs.
Walk-through the Hoh Rainforest
Take a gorgeous drive along the Pacific Coast Highway into the enchanted Hoh Rainforest. The green covering everything is simply magical. Walking around the Hoh Rainforest feels as though you are entering a fairy’s world underneath a canopy of the trees.
The Hoh Rainforest offers plenty of easy walks to difficult hikes. Depending on the time of year you visit you may even get to see the Roosevelt Elk crossing and feeding in the Hoh River.
While visiting the Hoh Rainforest, add on a pitstop worth every second at the Tree Root Cave. This tree seems to thrive even though you can easily view the root system above ground. The Tree of Life is an amazing photo op or even a place to sit and reflect as you listen to the waves crash on the beach behind you.
Explore Sea Caves on Ruby Beach
Ruby Beach, located directly off Highway 101, is another gorgeous stop along the Pacific Coast Highway. On a hot summer day, the parking lot can be super crowded. You will have to park along the side of the road but trust me, this is a beach worth a little trek. Even on a rainy typical PNW day, this beach is impressive and worth experiencing.
Once down at Ruby beach, a slight walk down from the trailhead, there are many things to explore: sea stacks, rock caves, tide pools, driftwood, sea glass, and even an island. Simply walking along the sandy beach at low tide, can take all day. Check the tide schedule here before planning your day to take full advantage of Ruby Beach.
Step Foot on the Northwestern – Most Point in the US in Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is the northwestern-most point in the United States. For a scenic route take Highway 112 along the Straight of Juan de Fuca. For those that get a bit motion sick I suggest a less windy bumpy option: take Highway 101 from the Olympic Peninsula to Sappho and then hop on 113 until it runs into 112.
There is plenty of parking at the Cape Flattery trailhead, along with restrooms. The .75 mile trail is well maintained with bridges and boardwalks.
From the tip of this scenic trail, you can see the lighthouse on Tatoosh Island. Four observation decks spaced along the trail provide spectacular views of the rugged rocks and waters of the Pacific Ocean.
Want to learn more about exploring this area? Here is a detailed post featuring more about our full day in Neah Bay.
Hop Aboard a Ferry to Victoria B.C.
Want to leave the country for the day? Perfect, hop on a ferry boat and head to Canada. Port Angeles, a hub of the Olympic Peninsula, offers incredibly easy access to Victoria B.C. by way of the Blackball Ferry Line, located in the heart of downtown.
Drive or walk on the ferry, with only a slight price difference. I have always walked on, as the ferry drops you right into Victoria Harbour where I find everything is within walking distance, or worst case scenario cabs are at every corner.
Aboard the M.V. Coho ferry, cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and arrive in Victoria in slightly less than 90 minutes. There are ferry schedules that allow you to arrive in Victoria in the morning and back to the Olympic Peninsula for dinner.
Once in Victoria, there are unlimited options on how to spend your time. Butchart Gardens is a must-see if you enjoy strolling through breathtaking gardens. More of a bug person and want to hold a scorpion? They have that too at Bug Zoo.
Museums, IMAX, royal high tea, carriage rides, delish food, shopping– you get the point, there are so many options. Here are a couple of itineraries to help plan your day or just wing it and explore when you arrive.
Take in the Views at Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge, located in Olympic National Park, is 100% a bucket list experience while visiting the Olympic Peninsula. I suggest checking out the webcam before you drive the 17 miles to the top of Hurricane Ridge from the base of the park entrance.
On a clear day, you can see across the Juan de Fuca into Canada, and it is gorgeous. If it’s a blue sky, crystal clear day at sea level it may not be the case at the ridge, and vice versa.
As you drive into Olympic National Park and up the mountain road, you will start to get a slight glimpse of what is to come once you park at the top. Get ready to enjoy a view of a lifetime once you arrive!
There are several hikes to choose from around Hurricane Ridge from just a simple walk on a paved trail to more strenuous day hikes. The visitors center, which is where you will park, has a small café and viewing area. So even if you are not a hiker, this stop is for everyone to take in the beauty of Olympic National Park.
For some things to know before your visit to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park read our full post with all the details.
Spend Time on the Rocky Shores of Salt Creek Recreation Area
One of the many hidden gems of the Olympic Peninsula is Salt Creek Recreation Area. The Pacific Northwest has some of the most beautiful coastal shorelines I have ever witnessed and Salt Creek Recreation Area is no exception.
It offers dramatic rocky coastal water views, an expansive sandy beach, and a backdrop of rugged, snowcapped mountain peaks. Salt Creek is on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and along Crescent Bay offering spectacular views of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.
Open year-round with free day-use this 196-acre Park includes forests, rocky bluffs, tide pools, sandy beaches, and amazing campsites. Salt Creek also has a playground, picnic pavilion, restroom, and shower facilities.
Visitors can play in the water, lounge on the sand, hike through the woods, explore the tide pools, comb the beach for unearthed treasures, or search the sky, land, and sea for a wide variety of wildlife, both big and small. Check out all the things you can do here.
So there you have it, Seven Sights to See on the Olympic Peninsula. Where are you going to explore first? I truly hope you enjoy the Olympic Peninsula, it is a magical place. Cheers to making every day an adventure.
My name is Kileigh Knott. I am the mom behind The Road Knott Taken. We inspire everyday families to get out and adventure by offering quick and easy tips, travel ideas, packing lists, must-see destinations, and product recommendations.