Explore the PNW: The Olympic Peninsula in 5 days

Thanks to our friends in the Explore the PNW Facebook group, we tried to do a quick trip around the Olympic Peninsula. We saw a lot but we also missed a lot, too! Michelle Li shares her vacation around the peninsula. 

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We did the Olympic Peninsula in five days and four nights, and we still missed a lot.

I spent so many hours searching for what to do, so I thought I'd put our itinerary out there as well.

Day 1: We drove our car to the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry and drove to a VRBO in Port Angeles. A better description would be a little bit beyond Lake Crescent. If you head that way, make sure you stop and get groceries, wine or whatever because once you get going, there are fewer places to stop. We stopped at Walmart off Highway 101 for a little bit of everything, though later down the road we saw a Safeway. We are the type of people who like to cook breakfast and dinner, though we don't have any hard or fast rules. It just usually happens that way.

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Our VRBO was perfect for us – a tiny loft above a garage by a river. There are more cabins on the property that are bigger, but the loft was available, and it was fine for us. Our loft is the far right part of the building.

NOTE: This place had everything we needed – great little kitchen and seating areas. If you stay in our unit, you will want to download Netflix videos or something if you like watching TV. They had satellite, but I was hoping to connect my phone to the TV – as you can see below, the TV is older and had no HDMI cable. It was not an issue for us, just thought we'd pass it along.

Day 2: We hit the road and backtracked slightly to go to Lake Crescent. This is a really great stop because you can visit the Lake Crescent Lodge (we would have stayed there too, but there were no vacancies.)

We went canoeing (kayaks are also available), and we took a short hike on the Marymere Falls Trail, which is also on site. So it's all one-stop shop beauty with amenities (like a nice bathroom in the lodge!)

After that, it was time to go home and feed our girls.

WHAT WE MISSED: Going to the Sol Duc Hot Springs. It was on our list, but we didn't feel like we had time to do it.

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Day 3: We got up, checked out of our VRBO and headed to Neah Bay. We really wanted to see Cape Flattery and get as far west as we could. Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point of the contiguous U.S. and apparently, Captain James Cook named it such in 1778. And just to balance it out, we stopped at the Makah Museum to pay homage to that culture. Also, let's be frank here... it was nice to use a clean bathroom facility. DO NOT USE the bathroom at the trailhead at Cape Flattery. I read about this and was prepared to stop beforehand. Jim did not read the warnings and came back to the car disgusted. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.

Also, this is a great trail for dogs. My dog Minnie has bad wheels and can't walk very well due to a former CCL tear and TPLO surgery. She did it! She was a little sore the next day, but really it was a doable walk.

See more pics here.

From there, we drove to La Push to check into the Quileute Oceanside Resort, thanks to a recommendation by my friend and co-worker Michael! He and his wife got married there a few years ago, and I can see why.

A great perk – some units are dog-friendly. We opted for the two-bedroom standard cabin, because it was all the dog-friendly units left. They are right on the beach! One downside – it seems like people have to sometimes check out of their unit and check-in to another. It happened to Michael, it happened to us, and I heard it happen to some guests checking in behind me. It seems like this could be avoided somehow, but apparently, this is fairly common. It's still worth it.

There aren't a lot of food options, so again, it's best to either stop and buy groceries in Forks (HOME TO TWILIGHT OMGGGGGG) or support a local restaurant. By the time we got to La Push and checked in, we were ready to chill on the beach and eat dinner. You can build a fire – we were too lazy – but it was a nice idea.

Also, take note – there are no TVs in the standard units. We were so glad to have our MIFI and laptop at the end of the day. I mean, it's another first-world problem, so we would've been fine without it.

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WHAT WE MISSED: Second, Third or Rialto Beaches. We really wanted to see some of the tide pools, but we were bushwhacked. We enjoyed the pictures on the internet, though. :)

Day 4: We decided to wake up slowly that morning, but we did not want to waste the day. We ended up driving to the Hoh Rainforest, which was a little more than an hour away. As you can imagine, the rainforest is beautiful, mystical and rare. It is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S. Also note, dogs are not allowed.

On the way back we ended up grabbing a pizza at the Home Slice Take N Bake eatery – we didn't have time to stop and sit because we were already an hour late getting to Minnie and Piper. We originally wanted to go to Sully's Drive-In but it was closed! We wanted to eat at the BBG Blakeslee Bar & Grill, but we were running out of time. The pizza was good!

WHAT WE MISSED: Any Twilight opportunity in Forks (I mean, not really... but also sorta.) Also, I wanted to go salmon river fishing. If you'd like to go, we were going to use Randy Lato from Always Fishing, (360) 374-2052.

Day 5: We spent day five traveling back home. We didn't continue south and close out the loop because that would've tacked on several more hours. I kind of wanted to stop in Sequim to see if I could see some lavender farms, but ultimately, we were ready to go home. What a wonderful trip! We thought we left the peninsula with a deeper appreciation for nature in Washington.

It was also awesome to take our girls with us. They traveled so well, and we just loved having them near us. We had to spend a little more money on accommodations since we brought our dogs, but it was worth it to us. We saved a lot of money by doing cheap or free things and eating in. And that wasn't even intentional.

PHOTO: Michelle Li

This was our last big adventure for 2017, and it was truly a great trip. Highly recommend! That's also why I added things that we couldn't get to just in case you are looking for more things to do around the peninsula.

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PHOTO: Michelle Li