Olympic Peninsula vs Whidbey vs Mount Ranier

Old May 15th, 2016, 03:18 PM
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Olympic Peninsula vs Whidbey vs Mount Ranier

We are going to Seattle late August for 7 days. After 2 days exploring Seattle we were considering going to Coupeville, Whidbey island. We were also considering exploring the Olympic Peninsula for 2 nights. We would take a ferry over. We would consider staying in Port Townsend because its in a rain shadow and seems to be central to what we would like to see. This includes Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls, Port Angeles, Forks area for Second Beach and tidal pools, Hoh rain forest, and Hurricane Ridge. We also considered staying in Seabrook instead which is on the west coast. Not sure which location makes more sense. Also not sure if this can be done in 2 days. Wondering if we should return to Seattle along that same Northern path or if we should head south and loop around. Also considering going thru Paradise or timberline lodge, Mt Ranier on our return to Seattle for 1 night.
We would like to explore as much as we can in the few days we have. Is there anything that is a must see that I did not mention??? All help is appreciated!!!
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Old May 15th, 2016, 03:20 PM
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Sorry Mount Rainier!
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Old May 15th, 2016, 04:32 PM
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Some logistics...

Port Townsend is not at all convenient as a base to visit Olympic National Park. In PT you're an hour from Port Angeles and 1h 45m from Hurricane Ridge. La Push is 90 min. past Port Angeles and the Hoh rain forest visitor center is 2 hours from PA.

Even staying in PA a day to visit both the Hoh rain forest and one of the La Push-area beaches is a very full day, so adding the before- and after Port Townsend legs would be too much.

In late August being in the rain shadow won't matter much; it will be the driest part of the year.

With 5 days after visiting Seattle, it's entirely feasible to see all three areas with a schedule like this:

Day 1 - Seattle to Whidbey via Mukilteo ferry. I like Langley as much (more, actually) as Coupeville, but both are cute.

Day 2 - Whidbey to Port Townsend via the ferry from Coupeville, visit PT, then on to Hurricane Ridge, overnight at Port Angeles.

Day 3 - PA to the Hoh valley, then (this is a change from your route) continue south to Ruby Beach, near Kalaloch. It's equally spectacular as the La Push beaches (in my view) but involves less driving. Spend the night at Lake Quinault.

Day 4 - Lake Quinault to Paradise on Mount Rainier, night at Paradise.

Day 5 - Return to Seattle after the morning on Mt. Rainier.

Map - https://goo.gl/maps/mhEuzfzG3732

If you don't want to go all the way around the Olympic Peninsula, spend night no. 3 in Forks and swap Second Beach for Ruby Beach. You could then return to Seattle on Day 4 and, if desired, just do Mt. Rainier as a day trip.

Note Timberline Lodge is on Mount Hood, east of Portland. That's an entirely different trip (but a worthwhile one.)
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Old May 15th, 2016, 04:39 PM
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Two nights in ONP will just scratch the surface. You do no grasp its immensity, and maps do not show how two-lane US-101, clogged with logging trucks and RVs, can make drive time estimates wildly optimistic. However, go to www.kaleberg.com and look for drive times under the ONP tab. Kaleberg lives in Port Angeles and knows more about local driving conditions than any online mapping software.

IMHO Port Townsend is too far east...it is not central to what you would like to see. Port Angeles or Lake Crescent meet that definition. Similarly, Seabrook is too far south.

Timberline is in Oregon and should not be part of this discussion. Paradise is a day trip from Seattle. You might not have enough time for that detour.

https://goo.gl/maps/GhNBs7ZtmaL2
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Old May 17th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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I'm a big fan of Whidbey Island and you could actually see much of it in two days' time. While you can't even begin to see and appreciate ONP in so short a time because it is HUGE and vast.

With only 7 days, I think seeing Seattle, Whidbey, and a day trip to Rainier would be a more reasonable plan.
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