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allyboy Sep 24th, 2011 07:07 AM

Seattle and Olympic National Park in Ocober
Since our son lives in San Francisco and we travel out to see him and our grandchildren at least 5 times a year, we have decided to add on a trip to Seattle and Olympic National Park.

I have made the following reservations and would love your comments and suggestions for restaurants, must see sights and any other valuable tips.

I must really thank Candace Kaleberg for her invaluable help in shaping our itinerary!

Day 1: Oct. 7 Arrive in Seattle (from NYC) @ 11 am . Hotel : Mayflower Park

Day 2: Oct. 8 Pick up car rental early (Enterprise) and then proceed to Port Angeles via Bainbridge Ferry. Hotel: Olympic Lodge. Explore Hurricane Ridge and drive Deer Park Road

Day 3 Oct. 9 Hoh Rain Forest , Sol Duc Falls and Lake Crescent Lodge for 2 nights (Marymere lake view room)

Day 4, Oct. 10 Explore Second Beach, Rialto Beach and either Marymere Falls or Spruce RR Trail to Devils Punchbowl

Day 5. Oct. 11 **Will be returning to Seattle so looking for a short hike nearby Lake Crescent in the morning Hotel: Warwick Hotel for 2 nights

Day 6. Seattle and Warwick Hotel
Day 7: Flight to San Francisco

happytrailstoyou Sep 24th, 2011 07:39 AM

I like your planning, including your Marymere room at Lake Crescent Lodge.

You don't mention the ages of your grandchildren. If they are young and easy to entertain, you pacing may not be too slow. Also, I suppose you are aware that October is the start of the rainy season on the Olympic Peninsula and that average rainfall there in October is 12 inches.

The restaurant at Lake Crescent Lodge is good.

Sabai Thai in Port Angeles (903 West 8th Street) is a cute place and one of the best Thai restaurants in the state. (In the past twenty years, we haven't been pleased with any other restaurant in Port Angeles.)

We were advised to have dinner at Alder Wood Bistro, in Sequim. When we ate there this summer it was clearly "the" place to be, but our entrees were misconceptions. We noticed a lot of diners were eating pizza. You might have a good meal there if you go for pizza or something simple like mussels (which are good) or Steak Frite (which I wish I had chosen).


allyboy Sep 24th, 2011 06:34 PM

Thanks HTTY for you suggestions! Our grandchildren are not coming with us on the trip to Seattle--just me and the mrs.

Nice to hear that food at Lake Crescent Lodge is good. I was under the impression that it may not be up to standard this particular season. I will certainly check out Sabai Thai and if you have any other restaurant suggestions in Seattle I would appreciate it.


hawksbill Sep 24th, 2011 08:31 PM

It seems like you have some unnecessary driving there, no? Maybe you should do the Hoh Rain Forest and the beaches on Day 3, and the stuff closer to Lake Crescent (Sol Duc Falls, Marymere Falls) on Day 4? Or vice versa?

I would suggest that, whenever you see the beaches, you arrange to be at one at sunset. Why not watch a sunset over the ocean if you're going to be there anyway?

I'm not sure about this, because I never quite made it through the hike to Second Beach, and people say it's quite beautiful. But I wonder if it might be redundant to see both Rialto Beach and Second Beach. As you've probably noted, they're on opposite sides of the Quillayute River, and you have to backtrack quite a ways until you get to a bridge that goes over the river. It would save a fair amount of time if you just went to one side of the river or the other.

If you go to Rialto Beach, you can walk about a mile north on the beach to reach an interesting rock formation called "Hole in the Wall." You should check the tide tables in advance, and arrange to be there at or close to low tide. That's not for safety reasons -- there are places along the beaches in this area where you can get trapped if the tide rises while you're there, but this isn't one of them. Rather, you should go to Hole in the Wall near low tide because (1) that way more of the "hole" will be open, and (2) there are some nice tide pools that you can walk around and look at the creatures therein, including some really pretty starfish.

Once you venture off of 101 toward the ocean, on La Push Road, you'll basically have only two restaurant options. One is Three Rivers, which looked like kind of a tacky greasy spoon, which I guess it is, although it has some good reviews on Tripadvisor. The other is River's Edge, an inexpensive restaurant with a more upscale menu, though it's very casual and pretty inexpensive. I had some good salmon there. River's Edge is in the actual town of La Push, which of course is part of the Quileute Indian reservation, and that made for a bit of an interesting cultural experience. Just a bit though - the Quileute seem to tolerate tourists' presence, but their town is the real thing, and they haven't set up any cheesy shops where you can buy cheesy Indian souvenirs. They go about their business, and they don't like to be stared at. River's Edge is in a fairly picturesque spot. On one side is the Quileute Tribe's marina, and on the other side is First Beach, where I watched a very nice sunset.

There's another joint along La Push road somewhere whose name I don't remember, but the sign said "a smoked salmon lounge." I was not inclined to go in there, nor was I entirely sure I'd make it out again if I did. And of course you could also go back to the town of Forks for dinner, but I'd strongly recommend against that, unless you're a huge Twilight fan and you feel compelled to do so. I got a weird, awful vibe from Forks. I think it may be my all-time least favorite town that I've ever visited.

suze Sep 25th, 2011 06:54 AM

I'm no expert on the itinerary, but I love your choice of Seattle hotels. My two favorites!

happytrailstoyou Sep 25th, 2011 08:11 AM

<i>Nice to hear that food at Lake Crescent Lodge is good. I was under the impression that it may not be up to standard this particular season.</i>

I haven't eaten there this year. In the past, though the food has been as good as or better than most of the restaurants in Port Angeles--twenty miles away.

An article about travel on the Olympic Peninsula in today's Seattle newspaper recommends Alder Wood Bistro in Sequim. Despite our experience there, Alder Wood Bistro is probably as good as it gets on the OP:


allyboy Sep 26th, 2011 07:22 AM

A few responses:

Hawksbill: I agree with you regarding seeing the beaches with my visit to Hoh. Since I will be staying at Lake Crescent Lodge how difficult would it be to visit Hoh and both Rialto and Second beach and return to the Lodge before the sunset? Should I consider Ruby beach in place of either one?

Happytrailstoyou: We will be leaving Seattle around 9:30 am on a Saturday heading for the Olympic Lodge and then onto Hurricane Ridge. Would you suggest us stopping off for lunch first at Alder Wood Bistro before heading to Port Angeles? My question relates to how much daylight will we have after stopping off for lunch, checking into the hotel and then heading out to Hurricane Ridge and possibly another hike?

happytrailstoyou Sep 26th, 2011 07:42 AM

<i>Would you suggest us stopping off for lunch first at Alder Wood Bistro before heading to Port Angeles?</i>

That would work and, if you have not been to Port Townsend, it is very much worth a look and a good place for lunch (though I don't have current restaurant experience there).

It is about 20 miles from your hotel to Hurricane Ridge. The drive takes 45-60 minutes, and the sun will set at about 6:30 p.m. in early October.

We have not talked about getting to and from the OP. These are my favorite routes:

*If you take the ferry from Edmonds you will drive through the charming town of Port Gamble and avoid the not-very-thrilling drive through Bainbridge Island.

*The drive on 101 as is skirts the Hood Canal is one of the most scenic in Western Washington.


hawksbill Sep 26th, 2011 09:16 PM

Allyboy, Google Maps says that if you drive from Lake Crescent Lodge to the Hoh Visitor Center, and then to Rialto Beach and La Push, then back to the Lodge, the total driving time would be 4 hours 55 minutes. That's a lot of driving, if you want to actually spend some time at each place too. I'm not sure why you want to return to the Lodge before sunset. Is it because you don't want to drive on windy roads at night? I think if you have any hope of seeing all of these places in one day, then the way to do it would be to first drive to the Hoh in the morning, walk for a few hours there, then go up to the beaches, stopping to grab a sandwich in Forks if you don't bring your own food). You'd want to see Rialto first, then end up in La Push, where you could eat dinner at River's Edge, and watch the sunset either from Second Beach or First Beach. Then you'd drive back to the Lodge in the dark. Realistically I don't think you could go to all of these places and do it all in the daylight.

If you do want to cut out one of these places, I think it should probably be Rialto Beach. I think it probably won't offer you anything that you can't get in La Push, unless you take the time to walk to Hole in the Wall, and that takes a while.

I can't comment on Ruby Beach, as I didn't go there. It would certainly save you some time if you went there instead of the other two beaches.

happytrailstoyou Sep 27th, 2011 10:04 AM

There is a supermarket (Thriftway) in Forks that has a good deli for take-out: 950 South Forks Avenue.

allyboy Oct 21st, 2011 05:51 AM

We have returned from a wonderful 6 day trip to Seattle and the Olympic Natiional Park!

This vacation was filled with magnificent sights, invigorating walks, delicous meals,  friendly people,  cooperating weather and tons of photos!  I want to express my thanks to all Fodorites who had previously written about their trips and posted them on this site and in particular want to send some special shout outs to Candace Kaleberg, happytrailstoyou and hawksbill for their helpful suggestions.

Rather than posting a day by day itinerary I have chosen to break down our trip by categories.


We used the Link Rail Line from Seattle Airport into the center of town:  Westlake to be exact.  How easy and inexpensive it was especially for Seniors.  We were not more than a few blocks from our hotel and the ride was approximately 40 minutes.  No reservations needed--just need to purchase tickets before boarding at either end.

Our car rental was through Enterprise.  We chose to walk a mile to this location (leaving our luggage back at the hotel), picked up the car and then picked our luggage up at the hotel.  This gave us an opportunity to get some exercise before leaving for Port Angeles and a chance to walk through some neighborhoods in the early morning.  The staff at Enterprise were friendly and very accomodating and drove us back to our hotel when we returned the car.

The Bainbridge Ferry that takes you from Seattle to Bainbridge Island was a beautiful ride allowing us to see Mt. Rainier (the only time during our visit).  This ferry has lots of room, food, adequate toilet facilities and with the weather cooperating a very smooth ride which lasted about 35 minutes.

The Monorail that we rode from The Music Experience to the downtown area was a quick and fun ride (especially sitting in the front car).  It was inexpensive and interesting to see the streets and buildings from up above after walking through these same streets only hours before boarding.  It is definitely a fun thing to do with the kids!

Our Feet! We walked everywhere using street maps in the city and guide maps in the Park. Seattle is a very walkable city and should be experienced by wallking through neighborhoods. Don't allow a little rain to get in your way. Bring a small umbrella with you and just explore.



 We ended up using two hotels:  The Mayflower (1 night)  and The Warwick (2 nights). and loved them both!  Great location, staffs friendly and helpful.  The room at the Warwick had us on the 14th floor with a magnificent view of the Space Needle.  Our Entertainment Card was used at The Mayflower which gave us quite a good rate and we would have stayed there for the other 2 nights , however, we couldn't secure the same rate.  We arrived in Seattle and were settled into our room at The Mayflower by noon and stayed just the night as the next morning we left for Olympic National Park.


 Olympic Lodge.  I chose this instead of the Red Lion simply because the room I wanted at the Red Lion was not available.  There was a Crab Festival in town and all the rooms were taken, however, I wasn't disappointed in the least as the Olympic Lodge room was spacious and had a lovely view of the Golf course.  It had a nice lobby, fireplace and an outdoor pool/hot tub.  There isn't a restaurant here so you will have to travel to one if necessary.

Lake Crescent Lodge inside Olympic National Park.  Absolutely loved this place!!!  Great room overlooking the lake (Marymere Room), two Queen size beds (only needed one), wonderful welcoming staff that always greeted us with a smile and allowed us to use their utensils when we brought our own wine and cheese.  A highlight for us was sitting in their front room overlooking the lake sipping a glass of wine and sitting by the fireplace in the main room.

***Restaurants, Sights, Suggestions to follow!

happytrailstoyou Oct 21st, 2011 07:05 AM

Thanks for the enthusiastic report.

allyboy Oct 21st, 2011 07:19 AM


SEATTLE : Serious Pie Virginia 316 Virginia Street ** They have a Happy Hour each day 3-5 with pizzas @ $6 and wine @ $5. A great deal! No reservations taken.
Etta's Seafood 2020 Western Avenue (located across from Pike's Market
TASTE (at Seattle Arts Museum)
Kells Irish Restaurant and Pub 1916 Post Alley ( located across from Pike's Market). They have music almost every night. Make sure you look at the wonderful photos of Ireland on the wall in both the rooms.
Macrina Bakery and Cafe 2408 1st Avenue. Found this gem of a cafe while on a walk. Great coffee, baked goods, yogurt and all natural ingredients.

SEQUIM: Alder Wood Bistro 139 W. Alder Street. This restaurant came highly recommended and it was wonderful! We planned to arrive by lunchtime (after taking Bainbridge Ferry from Seattle) and it absolutely well worth it!

PORT ANGELES: Breakfast at Cafe Garden 1506 E. First Street. This is very close to the Olympic Lodge where we stayed the night. Great breakfast choices and wonderful staff!!

LAKE CRESCENT LODGE: Dined in the main dining room here. Food is adequate; service is good; a bit costly. Chose only to have one meal here.

LA PUSH: Three Rivers which is more like any roadside cafe with lots of Twilight posters surrounding you, however, it is the only restaurant around. We had driven to Second Beach in La Push and had planned to dine at the River's Edge only to find it closed. Not sure if it was closed for lunch, or on a Monday or closed for the season.

THRIFTY in Forks and SAFEWAY in Port Angeles to purchase food which we brought back to the Lodge.

allyboy Oct 21st, 2011 05:13 PM



Self guided tours to Pikes Market, Olympic Sculpture Park, Pioneer Square, Space Needle area, The Music Experience. If you go to Pioneer Square there are two things you should not miss: The Waterfall Garden and The Firemen Sculpture. The Seattle Arts Museum (suggested donation rather than a specific fee) and the Library (unbelievable building and you should spend some time walking around). I also suggest you somehow get over to the Fremont neighborhood which is just a few miles away. You can go on your own tour and see things like the Troll under the bridge, a neon rapunzel, houseboats on Lake Union (think Sleepless in Seattle), Lenin Statue, Rocket Ship and a bunch of wonderful shops and cafes.


Hikes to Marymere Falls, Sol Duc Falls, Hurricane Ridge (closer to Port Angeles), Hoh Rain Forest, Rialto Beach, Lake Crescent.


If you are flying into Seattle and considering going to the Olympic National Park: Rent your car in town rather than the airport.
You don't really need a car while in Seattle. Walk where you can and take public transportation when you cannot.
Bring an umbrella and perhaps rain gear if you are planning some hikes in the Park.
Bring along a plastic bag for your camera so that you can keep it dry.
Be prepared for colder weather at the top of Hurricane Ridge.
Use the Link Rail from the Airport.
Buy some snacks/food from Safeway and Thriftway if you are staying in the Park to get you through some meals.
Schedule Hoh Rain Forest and one of the beaches on same day (especially if staying at the Lake Crescent Lodge) as it at least 11/2 hours drive and at least the Rain Forest and Beaches are in the same vicinity.
Also we discovered that it is best to select one beach rather than several. If you can arrange to see Rialto at low tide it will give you the best views and the ability to walk on the beach for longer distances.
Have fun; make new discoveries and take lots of photos!

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