During the government shutdown, while the Olympic National Park is closed, here’s a list of beautiful places to explore on the Olympic Peninsula, all within easy driving distance of Sea Cliff Gardens:
- Walk the scenic one-mile rim trail of Dungeness Spit, along the edge of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
- See wildlife up close and personal at the drive-through Olympic Game Farm. What a hoot! Pet an elk, feed a bear, get stalked by a buffalo running alongside your car, and so much more.
- Bike or walk all or part of the 30-mile Olympic Discovery Trail. My favorite part is in Sequim, where the trail passes over the Dungeness River on the old railroad bridge, through the Railroad Bridge Park.
- Drive around the part of Lake Crescent that is near the Lodge. A spectacular mini-rainforest experience with beautiful moss-covered old trees. The lake is breathtaking.
- Hike out to Tongue Point at Salt Creek Recreation Area, which is a county park. At low tide you’ll see exceptional tidal pools. The natural beauty of the park includes rocky bluffs, sand beach, and panoramic water views. Great spot to birdwatch too.
- Freshwater Bay, which fronts the Strait of Juan de Fuca is a perfect spot to launch your kayak. You might see eagles, river otter, orca, dolphins, harbor seals, or gray whales.
- At Neah Bay, the ¾-mile boardwalk trail leads you to Cape Flattery, the farthest NW point of the contiguous US, and arguably the most scenic overlook on the Olympic Peninsula. Watch for puffins!
- The Makah Museum is a must-see when you’re at Neah Bay.
- Not far away, in Sekiu, hike the One-Mile Trail. It’s an easy saltwater beach trail that meanders past caves, tidal pools, and vistas perfect for whale watching and birdwatching.
- La Push Beach, made famous by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, is part of the Olympic National Park, but still accessible because it is on tribal lands. See picturesque sea stacks and enormous drift logs that have been tossed like toothpicks onto the shore by winter storms.
- Twilight fans (or their relatives) can also enjoy a stop in the town of Forks, and take picture in front of Bella’s red truck.
- In Port Angeles, catch the ferry to Victoria, BC, for a memorable day trip. Butchart Gardens, the Inner Harbor, the Royal BC museum, and tea at the Empress Hotel await.
- Tour the fun and historic town of Port Townsend. The town is listed on the national historic register for its fabulous Victorian architecture. You can also visit Fort Worden State Park and the military museum there, which sit on two miles of high-bluff shoreline above Puget Sound. Or, like me, you can go for the dozens of artsy and unique gift shops.
- On the Hood Canal, Dosewallips State Park offers a long stretch of beautiful shoreline, and easy hiking on the 3.5-mile Steam Donkey Loop Trail, where you’ll catch views of the silent forest, the Dosewallips Rivers, and possibly the resident elk herd.
- A visit to the local wineries is a great way to top off your day. At the B&B we offer coupons for free wine tasting at three of the best local wineries.
Or just spend the day relaxing in comfort at Sea Cliff Gardens! Soak in your ensuite Jacuzzi or hot tub. Turn up your fireplace, sip some complimentary hot chocolate, and pick a movie from among the hundreds in our eclectic dvd collection. Between movies, stretch your legs with a stroll through the gardens out to the cliff to watch for eagles, and listen to the waves lapping the shore below. When dinnertime rolls around, browse through the menus of the best local restaurants, many of which offer memorable ambiance and cuisine.