Looking to escape the Seattle-area for an outdoor adventure this spring? Well, take advantage of the extra hour of daylight and celebrate the return of Spring by embarking on the ultimate Olympic National Park daytrip from Seattle!
1) Catch the 8:45 AM Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry
What an amazing start to your trip! The Seattle-Bainbridge ferry provides scenic views in all directions as you cross the Puget Sound. As you depart the dock, you’ll be drawn to the impressive views of Downtown Seattle’s waterfront. On a clear day, you will have an unobstructed viewpoint of Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountains showcase an incredible western view as you approach Bainbridge Island. I wouldn’t consider this 35 minute sailing travel time, but rather your first excellent photo opportunity!
Tip: You should aim to arrive to the Seattle Ferry terminal at least 30 minutes early for the 8:45 AM sailing. I would also recommend filling up your gas tank between Bainbridge and Port Angeles, as options will be limited beyond that point and many miles left to cover.
2) Enjoy an early lunch at Granny’s Café (11:15 AM – 12:00 PM)
About 15 minutes West of Port Angeles along Highway 101 is the well-known dining pit stop, Granny’s Café. Granny’s Café is famous for its soft-served ice cream cones, but you can enjoy tasty burgers, milkshakes, handmade pies, among other tasty entrees and treats. Better yet, the café is just 10 minutes away from Lake Crescent and the adventures in Olympic National Park.
3) Explore Lake Crescent and Marymere Falls (12:15 PM – 2:00 PM)
After enjoying your meal, continue westward along Highway 101 and take the right turn for the Storm King Ranger Station and Marymere Falls. Follow the signs for the Marymere Falls trail, which is a 1.5 mile nature loop that leads you through the beautiful forest at Lake Crescent and ends with a spectacular waterfall! If you have some extra time, swing by the Lake Crescent Lodge and take a picture from its famous dock, which provides a sweeping view of Lake Crescent.
4) Hit the Pacific Coast at Rialto Beach (3:00 PM – 4:00 PM)
Have you picked up on the theme yet? Head west! Set course for Rialto Beach via Highway 101, then Highway 110 to La Push. You’ll know when you have arrived when you see the massive sea stacks begin to emerge out of the coastal horizon. There is nothing quite like the Pacific Coast along the Olympic Peninsula. The best part? Rialto Beach is one of the few Pacific Coast beaches in Olympic National Park with direct drive-up access. From your car, you're only a few steps to watch the crashing waves, admire the mighty sea stacks, stand next to the enormous driftwood logs, and feel that fresh Pacific Ocean sea breeze.
5) Dinner in Downtown Port Angeles (5:30 PM – 6:45 PM)
Wow! What a day of adventures! Bet you’re hungry. Swing by Downtown Port Angeles to grab a nice dinner to celebrate the roads traveled and the scenic sights seen. Next Door Gastropub and Kokopelli Grill are two popular downtown dinner options.
6) Drive back to Bainbridge Island: 8:25 PM arrival to catch the 8:55 PM Ferry
Finish up a well-deserved, tasty dinner in Port Angeles and hit the road no later than 6:45 PM, headed back to Bainbridge Island. This should have you back in Bainbridge (assuming normal traffic, no stops) around 8:25 PM, which would give you a 30 minute buffer for the 8:55 PM sailing.
Additional Info & Ideas:
Want to take an earlier return ferry or more time at the Pacific Coast? Consider heading to Madison Falls instead of Marymere Falls. Madison Falls is just 5 minutes off of Highway 101 on the Elwha Valley turnoff and is a quick 0.1 mile jaunt from the trailhead parking lot.
Click the link below to view both daytrip options in full detail with links to the Seattle-Bainbridge ferry schedule, Google Maps driving directions, and a step by step itinerary.
Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to have your own personalized Olympic Peninsula itinerary created. Happy adventures!