Top must see sights of Washington's Olympic Peninsula
Must see sights in Washington's Olympic Peninsula
If you have not visited Washington's Olympic Peninsula you are really missing out!
Choosing a vacation destination is very important. Many travelers aim at choosing a destination that is completely different than any place they have been before. When it comes to choosing a unique vacation destination, vacationers could do a lot worse than choosing to visit Washington State's incredible Olympic Peninsula. This one area offers many different physical features including a rain forest, national forest, mountain range, ocean shores, beaches, sandbars, harbors, and many scenic vistas. Here is a brief look at just some of what the Olympic Peninsula has to offer.
The heavy snowfalls that hit Mount Olympus during the winter make it possible for glaciers to exist on it even though it is a fairly low elevation mountain with its peak measuring in at just 7,962 feet. This is the tallest peak in the Olympic Mountain Range and is a joy to behold. Check the pictures below!
Photo by Scott Macdonald.
One of the most popular destinations in the Olympic National Forest is Hurricane Ridge. This ridge sits at more than 5,000 feet of elevation and is open to hiking and sightseeing during the summer and skiing and snowboarding during the winter. There is a small ski area located there that is popular with locals called the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area.
Hoh Rain Forest
Photo by joshbousel.
The only actual rain forest that can be found in the lower forty-eight states of the United States can be found on the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington State. The Hoh Rain Forest is a temperate rain forest with a completely unique ecosystem. This rain forest sits on the Pacific Coast side of the peninsula and receives in the neighborhood of 150 inches of rain each year.
The vegetation in the area is truly amazing with century old trees including Sitka spruce, red alder, black cottonwood, maple, and western hemlock. It is not uncommon to view trees in the Hoh Rain Forest that reach a height of three hundred feet or more.
Feeding animals at the Olympic Game Farm
Photo by ericncindy.
Located in Sequim, on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula, is the Olympic Game Farm. This game farm preserves and protects a wide variety of wild animals that have been trusted into its care. There are walking and driving tours available for different areas of the farm and some of the animals that can be seen there include wolves, donkeys, lions, bears, tigers, leopards, zebras, and more.
The Olympic Peninsula offers a number of great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors via some of Washington State's nicest state parks. Those found in the area include Old Fort Townsend State Park, Sequim Bay State Park, Triton Cove State Park, Bogachiel State Park, Anderson Lake State Park, Shine tidelands State Park, and Fort Flagler State Park. Many of these not only offer a great chance to experience the outdoors, but are in fact historical sites themselves.
There are two hot springs locations available to visit in the Olympic Peninsula area. Sol Duc Hot Springs offer visitors the chance to soak in outdoor pools filled with hot and pure mineral water. Lodging is available here in the form of both a large lodge as well as individual bungalows. Olympic Hot Springs are also available to be visited, but are a little more rustic in nature. After a nine mile drive up the Elwha River Road, visitors intending to make use of the Olympic Hot Springs must then complete a two mile walk before reaching the six sandy natural pools that offer warm inviting water.
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort
Photo by eropel.
With twelve inch thick brick walls and more than thirty rooms, Manresa Castle, also known as Eisenbeis Castle, was built in the late 1800s by a prominent local family. After serving a number of different purposes over the years, including as a vacation home for nuns, today it operates as a luxury hotel and is well worth a visit.
Forks Timber Museum
The timber industry has played a vital role in the development and exploration of the entire Pacific Northwest. This is true on the Olympic Peninsula too. Much of the fascinating history of the logging industry of the past is preserved at the Forks Timber Museum. There are a number of great exhibits in the museum, many of them offering hands-on experiences, that detail the area's history of logging.
New Dungeness Lighthouse
Photo by thestroms.
There are four operational lighthouses on the Olympic Peninsula. The New Dungeness Lighthouse is located at the end of the famous Dungeness Spit sandbar that juts out into the Strait of Juan De Fuca. Point Wilson Lighthouse is located just north of Port Townsend in Fort Worden State Park and marks the entrance to Puget Sound. Slip Point Lighthouse is located in Sequim on the eastern side of Clallum Bay. Marrowstone Point Lighthouse is located in Fort Flagler State Park near Port Townsend and sits on the eastern side of Port Townsend Bay.
Coast Artillery Museum
For anyone with an interest in military history, a visit to the Coast Artillery Museum is a must. From the late 1800s up through the World War II era, the military defense of a possible invasion of Puget Sound was actually a high priority. A number of forts and gun emplacements were built in the area. The Coast Artillery Museum is dedicated to preserving this very interesting portion of Pacific Northwest history.
Olympic Peninsula Must be Visited
The Olympic Peninsula is a fabulous place to visit with a great many attractions to be experienced. The items listed above are just a small sample of what is available in the area. There are also a number of opportunities for visitors to the area to get out and enjoy the water of both the Strait of Juan De Fuca as well as the Pacific Ocean.
The shoreline offers a number of beaches, sandbars, coves, and rock formations to be explored. There are more than enough diversions and distractions available on the Olympic Peninsula to occupy and interest the pickiest of travelers. The Olympic Peninsula and the Olympic National Forest are truly great, and sometimes overlooked, treasures that are well worth the visit.
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