Olympic Peninsula 10 Family-Friendly Adventures (Plus one we couldn’t leave out!)

Flying Solo flickr image by cvanstaneThe Olympic Peninsula may be the setting for the popular Twilight series, but it’s also a very family friendly destination. We’ve already written about the Top Twilight travel sites, but here are some other adventures that you may or may not know about. Oh, and let me know if you see Jacob or Edward running around! ~ CajunMama

A million acres of national park is an adventure in itself. A $15, seven-day pass covers entry to glacial peaks, alpine meadows, jigsaw-puzzle ocean shorelines and mossy rain forests.

  1. Olympic National Park interpretive programs highlight areas through guided walks or campground evening programs amongst a tall stand of trees or within earshot of Pacific Ocean waves. Have you seen a squirrel café or heard about what lives under feet of snow during winter?
  2.  Olympic Discovery Trail. This Rails to Trails project will ultimately stretch about 120 miles. It accommodates many types recreation – horseback riders, runners, walkers, wildlife watchers and cyclers of all skill levels.  The new Adventure Route is physically challenging, 25-mile ride.
  3. Tidepools and sand castles – Find mysterious critters in tide pools. During low tides see starfish, sea cucumbers, crabs, sea anemones, and urchins. Sandy shores provide raw material for sand castle building. During the annual Arts in Action in Port Angeles, pick up building techniques from international sand artists competing for prizes.
  4. Travel the “Magical Misty Tour” on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The Waterfall Trail offers year-round adventures and dramatic beauty, from the cliffs of Cape Flattery to the glacial fjord of the Hood Canal. There is a falls for every level of adventure. One can be seen from a paved, wheelchair accessible path, one can only be reached by kayak or raft, others require short hikes or can be seen from the car, while others require route finding skills or a backpack trip.
  5. Explore World War II Forts – Three forts offer history buffs an opportunity to see where guns were located to protect Hood Canal. Check out Fort Flagler, the still-in-place bunkers or visit the museum at Fort Worden in Port Townsend.
  6. Take a hike to the ocean in search of petroglyphs – A nine-mile, triangular hike (three miles into the beach, three miles along the beach, and three miles back to the trailhead) can be customized to your hiking level. Do complete nine-plus miles or opt to walk the northern trail to Cape Alava to see ancient petroglyphs.
  7. Visit a Victorian Seaport  – Stay in Port Townsend to enjoy boutique shops and art galleries in historic downtown, one of three Victorian Seaports on the National Register of Historic Places.  Dive, snorkel, hike, sail, bike and kayak in the area. The authentic charm of this seaport with its maritime heritage had Sunset Magazine dub Port Townsend the “Paris of the Pacific Northwest.” Restaurants, bistros and cafes consciously choose delicious, local ingredients at their finest, fresh from the farm, field or sea.
  8. Find some sweaters in an outdoor art museum? – Part of the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, Webster’s Woods Art Park is a five-acre, outdoor art gallery featuring art in many mediums from metal sculptured ferns to a small field of knit sweaters to a large, walkable labyrinth. The Woods are open daylight hours year round and have recently added a tour with an art ranger. Downtown Port Angeles has a free Art on the Town guided walk. Come meet our award-winning Avenue of the People
  9. Check out five really big trees  – The Quinault Valley has some really big living trees. The largest in world of their species are Western Red Cedar, Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Mountain Hemlock. The Western Red Cedar is found after a short walk. Climb inside the trunk of this largest tree in the world outside California. (They have Sequoias and Redwoods, after all.) The Sitka Spruce is estimated to be over 1,000 years old and can be seen on an easy, five-minute walk. 
  10. Look for vampires in Forks!  – There are organized Twilight tours to see fictional places from the Stephenie Meyers book series, but you can stop by the Forks Chamber of Commerce to pick up a free Twilight map for a  self-guided tour.  Photo op at a replica of Bella’s truck!
  11. Lavender Fields Forever – Walk fragrant fields at over 40 farms in the Lavender Capital of North America™, Sequim. The U-pick season typically lasts from July to the first of October. America’s largest lavender festival is always held the third weekend in July.

Check out www.OlympicPeninsula.org to create your own itinerary. Simply put things of interest to you in the handy backpack to personalize your itinerary, or peek into the contents of others backpacks.

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