Olympic Peninsula Road Trip Map

Your complete Washington state Olympic Peninsula road trip guide

You don’t have to drive the full 300+ mile loop around the Olympic Peninsula, but if you do, you’ll see picturesque shoreline, waterfalls, pristine lakes, mountain views and even a rainforest.

Lavender in front of the Olympics by MikesRoadTrip.com

Start your trip with a ferry ride from downtown Seattle (which is located just below the famed Pike Place Market).  As soon as the ferry leaves the docks, so too will your anxiety after enduring the Seattle traffic.  As you disembark onto Bainbridge Island, you’ll immediately feel a sense of serenity.  Tall pine trees and winding scenic roads await.  Your first destination is the Norwegian town of Poulsbo, where your first stop has to be the world famous (no really, it is) Sluys Bakery for some apple strudel.  Take a stroll and enjoy the quaint shops and seaside views.  If it’s lunch or dinner time, check out Mor Mor Bistro, which serves up northwestern cuisine in a lovely setting in the heart of town.

Head west on 305, then north on Hwy 104 toward Port Gamble, or what I like to call, “Pleasantville.” Be sure to stop by the General Store (trust me, it’s cool) or one of the fresh produce stands.  Olympic Peninsula - Photo by MikesRoadTrip.comHwy 104 meanders north, then turns into 101 west where you’ll head to the town of Sequim. Depending on how much time you have, there are a number of activities indicated on the Google Map below.  You’ll also see that I recommend a couple very nice B&B’s, one of which won “Best Inn” on my “2011 Best of” list.  Staying in Sequim makes for the perfect home base to see the rest of the sights on this Olympic Peninsula road trip. Make reservations at George Washington Inn or Colette’s for the next couple of days…both are located on a cliff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and are fantastic lodging choices.

After a relaxing evening, the next stop is a hike down to the Dungeness Spit.  If you time it right and are adventurous, make the 11-mile (round trip) trek to the lighthouse located at the tip of the spit. Take a backpack with provisions along with a packable hammock.  An additional stop, or in lieu of the Dungeness Spit hike, is a stop at the Railroad Bridge Park (aka: Dungeness River Audubon center).  Railroad Bridge park in the Olympic Peninsula Road Trip - Photo by MikesRoadTrip.comAlso nearby is a drive straight up the Olympic Mountains to Hurricane Ridge, where on a clear day you can see Vancouver Island. You can simply enjoy the views, or, there are a number of hikes to glacier lakes, rivers and streams.

Time to wind down for the evening…try one of these local eateries:  Alder Wood Bistro, Sawadee Thai Cuisine, Michael’s, Smugglers Landing for good fish & chips, and Toga’s for an outstanding lunch.

The next day there are several forks in the road—if you want to go on a hike through a spectacular rain forest, head to Sol Duc in the Olympic National Forest.  For a scenic and historic drive, peruse by Lake Crescent for awe-inspiring views of the massive body of clear blue water.  While in the area, stop by Lake Crescent Lodge for a history lesson, or, a leisurely walk to Marymere Falls.  If you’ve sufficiently enjoyed your drive by the lake, continue west along Hwy 112 to the most northwesterly point in the contiguous U.S., Cape Flattery. This is a wonderful stroll through a rain forest, where you’ll come upon a cliff with all kinds of unique and wonderful vantage points, including a small island with a lighthouse.  If you want to explore the area further, and enjoy camping, I have a spot for you!  Click here for Google Map of the most perfect, somewhat secluded camp spot right on the beach.  If the weather is nice, don’t pass this up…there is no one around and the morning walk on the beach when the tide is out is a memory you’ll never forget.

Cressent Lake along an Olympic Peninsula Road Trip - Photo by MikesRoadTrip.com

In recent years the Olympic Peninsula has become well known as the setting (Forks) for the popular Twilight books and movies. Whether you come to the area for fascination or inspiration, you’ll enjoy this scenic and diverse road trip—no other place in America can match its diversity in terrain and weather in such a small geographic area. From mountain views, strolls along the beach, waterfalls, outstanding lodging, to rain forest hikes, an Olympic Peninsula road trip is not to be missed.

Olympic Peninsula ocean view by MikesRoadTrip.com

[Expand the map below until the icons are revealed, click on them for detailed information on doing an Olympic Peninsula Road Trip]


View Olympic Peninsula Road Trip map in full size

Notes: This is the Pacific Northwest, so you do need to plan for rain, however during the summer months, good weather is likely on your side. As a matter of fact, few travelers probably know that the far northern half of this region benefits from a “rain shadow,” often yielding more sunny days with milder temperatures than Seattle. Best months to visit are August, September and often the first half of October.

If you’ve been on an Olympic Peninsula road trip, please leave a comment below and share your experiences and/or questions.

Olympic Peninsula Road Trip Guide Pin by MikesRoadTrip.comOlympic-Peninsula-road-trip-guide by MikesRoadTrip.com

7 Comments

  1. Thank you for this guide! Amazing photos and interesting places, thank you for sharing, I truly enjoyed this. We have been visiting Olympic national park and the surrounding area during our road trip from Seattle to Minnesota twice, but still there were many places we haven’t known about. I think this area is the most beautiful place on earth, my favorite is Lake Crescent <3
    Greetings from Finland!

  2. This is super helpful information – thank you so much! Glad I came across your site. My husband and I just moved to the PNW from Florida so we have lots of exploring to do — I’ll be sure to come back for more information.

    1. Hi Dani…glad you like it and find it useful. It took me a ton of time to put it together, so it’s nice to hear from folks that find value from it. Thanks for stopping by and sharing. Cheers, Mike

  3. Helpful piece. I spent much of my 20s and 30s backpacking the Olympic National Park and the peninsular west coast. That said, we we’re usually making a bee-line for a trailhead. Now I’m 44 and planning to do “the loop” with my wife and toddler via our RV. We’ll be on the road about 9 days, ending (by demand of the Commander In Chief) at Ocean Shores for the July 4th fireworks. Departing from West Seattle, I’ve roughed out the following. Would you make any changes? Any insight would be much appreciated!

    Day 1. Drive to Staircase Campground or Lake Cushman State Park. Spend night there.
    Day 2. Drive to Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend. Spend night there.
    Day 3. Do one of the following three options (Olympic Game Farm, Dungeness Spit, Hurricane Ridge) on way to Sol Duc Hot Springs. Spend night there.
    Day 4. Drive to Neah Bay via Lake Crescent. Do the Cape Flattery Trail. Spend night at Hobucks.
    Day 5. Drive to Forks via Lake Ozette. Take short day trip out to La Push. Spend the night somewhere in area.
    Day 6. Drive to Hoh Rain Forest. Hike the Hall of Mosses trail. Spend night here.
    Day 7. Drive the loop around Lake Quinault on way to Ocean Shores. Stay two nights friend’s house.
    Day 9. Drive back to West Seattle.

  4. My husband and another couple are planning a road trip through the Olympic Peninsula in September this year (2017). Could you kindly advise the amount of time we should allow to get a good overview of this area?
    I very much look forward to your reply.
    Kind regards
    Fran Liddy

    1. Hi Fran, I would say 4-5 days would be sufficient. Of course it depends on your pace as you could certainly spend a lot more time, but I think 4-5 days would be a fair amount of time to budget. Thanks for your questions and for stopping by. Hope you have a wonderful trip. Cheers, Mike

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