Olympic National Park or Mt. Rainier

Old Dec 30th, 2002, 04:15 PM
  #1  
Cathy
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Olympic National Park or Mt. Rainier

Hi,
We are a family of four that loves hiking, kayaking and outdoor activity. We would like to visit Seattle and make side trip to one of the 2 parks. Plan to go around July 2003 for a week.

Which would give us better scenery and variety of things to do: 1) Olympic, the Northwest coast, lavender farm & Vancouver or 2)stay closer to Tacoma and visit Mt. Rainier ?

Thanks for your help,
Cathy
 
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 07:25 PM
  #2  
Paula
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Cathy,
How much time do you have? I live outside of Seattle and honestly have to say that both are wonderful! Mt. Rainer is closer to Seattle and more accessible, but the Olympic Pennisula isn't that far away and can include a ferry ride, which would be great for the kids.

Maybe check out some guide books (Washington Handbook is a good one) and some websites and see what appeals to you.

Whatever you decide, you'll find plenty of outdoor activities in this area.

Will be curious how others respond.
 
Old Dec 30th, 2002, 11:54 PM
  #3  
ALF
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Mt. Rainier is spectacular, of course. There are many fine walking and sightseeing opportunities; and Mt. St. Helens is only a bit further to the south.

Still, the Olympics have a more varied terrain and there's more to do along the way. If you have the time, you could drive up to Vancouver, spend a couple of days there, then ferry over to Victoria for a day or two, then catch the ferry to Port Angeles. From there, you can go on up into the Olympic Mtns, as well as the beaches and rain forests on the west coast. Probably this is too ambitious for a week.

You could do both in a week by heading down to Rainier, then across to the west coast of the Olympic Peninsula to visit the beaches and rainforests. There is a fine 10-mile overnight backpack loop hike from Lake Ozette to Cape Alava, down the beach, then back to the Lake via Sand Point. The Hoh Rain Forest is a great place for short walks. You could then enter the Olympic Mtns from the north, up to Hurricane Ridge, where there is some spectacular hiking. A good place for kayaking would be at nearby Lake Crescent. From there, continue back to Seattle via the Kingston or Bainbridge Island ferry.
 
Old Dec 31st, 2002, 12:30 AM
  #4  
Pam
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Olympic National Park..also check outthe Olympic Park Institute for good classes for kids. It's right down the road from the Lodge.
 
Old Dec 31st, 2002, 12:50 PM
  #5  
suzanne
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Olympic is much more varied in its scenery. It has Hurricane Ridge (mountainous, with tons of wildlife), Lake Crescent for boating, a hot springs resort not too far from Lk. Crescent, the ocean (with tide pools full of starfish and sea anemone) and the Hoh rain forest, a jungle of vines and roots with a milk-colored river! There are also nice streams for fishing on the east side of the park...I remember a beautiful pool of turquoise-blue water where some kids were jumping off rocks and swimming.

I have also been to Mt. Rainier, which was quite impressive (looked like the moon had landed on earth!), but it was smaller, 10x more crowded, and didn't have the variety that Olympic has.
 
Old Jan 1st, 2003, 12:50 PM
  #6  
Julie
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If you decide on the Olympic Pennisula, I'd suggest you go to the Animal Park in Sequim. They have all sorts of animals that have been "retired" from movies and you can feed the deer and antelop from your car (bring crackers or bread). You can walk through as well and practically pet the wolves. Your kids will love it--so will you, for that matter.

But Mt. Rainer is wonderful too!
 
Old Jan 2nd, 2003, 03:46 PM
  #7  
steve
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Olympic. You get 3 different natural areas - ocean, rain forest, mountains.

I can recommend taking the 2 short trails at the Hurricane Ridge Visitior Center just outside Port Angeles (not the one on the mtn)

In Forks, visit the Timber museum, in Sequim, the town musuem. Both are small, free, and interesting.

Near Sequim, visit DUngeness SPit, Lavender Farms, and Strawberry/Raspberry/Blueberry U-Pick farms
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 05:23 AM
  #8  
Cathy
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Thank you everyone for the replies. We've decided to go with Olympic. I'd like to stay in Seattle a couple of nights, then around Port Angeles or Sequim to concentrate on the park or ferry to Victoria.

Would you recommend getting a vacation rental in Port Angeles or Sequim? We don't really care for night life, but would like accessibility to grocery, restaurants, etc. In addition, scenery (of where we stay) is important too.

I've ordered Washington Guide online and am waiting for delivery. I also have read the Frommer's Guide to National Parks but would like to hear Port Angeles or Sequim from personal experiences.


Thank you in advance,
Cathy
 
Old Jan 4th, 2003, 11:11 AM
  #9  
Pam
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Port Angeles I would think is the preferable place to stay. If you do stay in Sequim I recommend you make certain you are closer to the Dungeness Spit. There are some vacation cottages on the water there with kitchenettes. The Juan de Fuca cottages(206)683-3565. We stayed there several years ago on our way to the park. There is also a fun restaurant called "The Three Crabs" again down closer to the spit. Either town will have groceries and the like.We also stayed at the Lake Crescent Lodge in the park. I think it is possible to stay outside the Park and still see the sights easily.
 
Old Jan 5th, 2003, 06:12 AM
  #10  
steve
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Also ate at the 3 Crabs. Right on the water, nice menu, moderate price
 
Old Jan 15th, 2003, 07:47 AM
  #11  
Linda
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We are a family of 5, also avid outdoors folks. We visited Seattle and extended area and did so much in a week's time. Upon arrival to Seattle, we spent a day or so in Seattle, doing the waterfront, etc., but we were more anxious to head out to the south. Next early morning (very early) we one headed south to visit Mt. Rainer. We spent a day there, hiking, seeing glacier, etc. We that same evening headed south, almost to Mt St. Helen, (stayed the night in great mountain place that was clean and reasonable and what a view!). Next day got up and did Mt. St. Helen (very interesting, glad we did, excellent ranger presentation). Evening we then headed back to Seattle, stayed the night before we got to the bay area, someplace to recoop, get rested, etc. Then it was off to the ride back to Port Angeles, took time out to do Hurricane Ridge (must do for the view), stayed in Port Angeles that night. Next day early we went to do the Hoh Rain Forest (lovely ride out to coast). It was wet, as the rain forest is, but beautiful and we did a great hike through some of it. Following day took the day to take ferry to Whidbey Island, then on to mainland. A day adventure with island stops. Our last tour/stop was at the Boeing Plant (my husband an airplane fanatic and pilot. We then took the red eye flight back to Florida.
We do most vacations this way (occasionally slip in a sit and one place beach, resort, etc.) I guess we all feel we should see all we can when we can. I have a great Southwest US itenerary too!
Good luck!
Linda
 
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