Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Old Jan 28th, 2024, 07:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2024
Posts: 1
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Pacific Northwest Road Trip

My wife and I are flying into Seattle on May 1st and will spend 10 days touring the surrounding areas by rental car and the occasional ferry. We know, it's still the rainy season, but wanted to avoid the peak travel times. Other than visiting friends in San Juan Island and Bellingham, we don't have a set itinerary, but want to make sure we take in the best coastal and forest views possible. We won't be based out of Seattle and plan to find lodging along our route, preferring quaint towns and villages. Any suggestions?
oscarhinojosa6955 is offline  
Old Jan 28th, 2024, 08:38 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 22,982
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I recommend Neah Bay for its Makah Museum ( and the walk to Cape Flattery

The temperate rain forest is best seen on the western side of Olympic National Park

Michael is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2024, 09:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 97,177
Received 12 Likes on 11 Posts
Where do you want to go? Are you asking about National Parks? I can't really think of any "villages" to suggest. Maybe somewhere like Whidbey Island would pair well with Bellingham and the San Juans.

Welcome to Fodors! There is a very active Seattle/Washington State forum over on Trip Advisor that you might like to also read. You'll find itineraries already outlined and lots of different trip reports from people who've done road trips around the area.

suze is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2024, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 12,159
Received 26 Likes on 4 Posts
I suggest Port Townsend, a great place to hang out for a couple of days.

My visit here:

MmePerdu is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2024, 10:30 AM
Join Date: May 2022
Posts: 303
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I second Port Townsend. I liked Olympia when I visited there. It has a vibrant downtown and progressive Evergreen College makes the town have a "funky, indie" vibe. Also, go to Mt. Rainier National Park which features Mt. Rainier, a majestic snow-covered mt, jutting up from the valley floor to over 14,000 feet. Hike the Wonderland Trail and enjoy the beauty.
PrairieHikerI is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2024, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1,901
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hike the Wonderland Trail and enjoy the beauty.
In May? What are the odds of scenery, 20%? Just trying to be realistic, seeing Mt Rainier is kind of like seeing the Northern Lights, well, it happens....
tom_mn is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Jan 2024
Posts: 12
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Driving along the coast of Olympic National Park and stopping at all the beaches is one way to spend. As other said Mt Rainier is another good option.
slotman_p is offline  
Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,394
Received 79 Likes on 8 Posts
Indeed, welcome to Fodor's!

When you check back, could you mention how many days/nights you plan to spend with friends and on the San Juans? You indicated a total of 10 days, but presumably only a fraction of those will be available for touring.

A couple of logistical issues, however. First, the Pacific coast rain forest valleys in Olympic National Park - the Hoh and Quinault valleys - are arguably at their best in May. Of course they're not called rain forests for nothing - expect very wet conditions throughout the region.

You could combine a visit to the Hoh rain forest with a visit to one or more of the spectacular beaches on the Olympic NP coastal strip. If you're visiting the San Juans, you can access the northern side of the Olympic Peninsula via a ferry between two picturesque small towns, Coupeville on Whidbey Island, then (after the ferry) Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula.

From Port Townsend it's a day's drive (and not a terribly scenic one) to the Hoh valley rainforest OR to the marvelous Pacific beaches near the Native American village of La Push. You can overnight in the (not very picturesque) town of Forks for the night between the rain forest or coastal beaches, then your return to Seattle can be via the scenic Bainbridge Island ferry. Here's a map showing this plan; note that Google is notoriously optimistic on drive times.

Both the Anacortes - Friday Harbor and Coupeville - Port Townsend ferries accept vehicle reservations, and both are recommended, especially if travel is on the weekend. Washington State Ferries Vehicle Reservations System (WSF VRS)

Finally, any high elevation destinations - anywhere on Mount Rainier, or Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park - are going to be snowbound in May. In addition, the high likelihood of clouds and rain (or snow) in the mountains really inhibits much sightseeing then, unless you're quite lucky. Do you feel lucky?
Gardyloo is online now  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
Road Trips
Feb 18th, 2016 12:16 PM
Road Trips
Jun 20th, 2011 10:58 PM
Road Trips
Jul 23rd, 2006 05:53 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -