Washington is a breathtaking place all over, but the large arm of land in the western part of our state that lies across Puget Sound from Seattle is especially remarkable. It holds some of the most fascinating wilderness to explore, coziest small towns to check out, and tranquil beaches right by the ocean. This New Year, here are 12 of the many amazing places you’ve got to discover in this area:
1. Madison Creek Falls
There are picture perfect waterfalls to see all over the peninsula, but this horsetail-shaped cascade near the Elwha River is one of the most beautiful and easiest to access. You can reach it by way of a 200-foot paved path that leads to the base of the falls.
2. Devil's Punchbowl Bridge
This jaw-dropping bridge can be found about a mile in along the Spruce Railroad Trail in the Olympic National Park. It leads across a small cove, highlighting the deep blue waters of Lake Crescent.
3. Hole-in-the-Wall at Rialto Beach
It's only about a two-mile walk along Rialto Beach to reach this rock arch that was once carved out by the surf. During low tides, it serves as an excellent location for exploring tidepools. You may also be able to spot a variety of starfish here, as well as sea anemones, mussels and other critters.
4. Hall of Mosses Trail
This short loop in the Hoh Rainforest only goes for 0.8 of a mile with 100 feet elevation gain, making for a fairy tale adventure everyone can experience. Besides, we're the only state in the contiguous states with temperate rainforests, so exploring them is a must!
5. Sequim Lavender Farms
Purple Haze Lavender Farm features rows of gorgeous organic flowers that smell amazing, as well as a small shop where you can pick up a scoop of lavender-flavored ice cream, tea, soaps and more.
6. Dungeness Spit
This 5.5-mile natural sand spit is the longest in the country, and serves as a peaceful place to go for a walk along the beach. The narrow strip of land juts out from the northern edge of the Olympic Peninsula and encloses the beautiful Dungeness Bay.
7. Staircase Rapids Loop
This scenic trail in the southeastern corner of the Olympic National Park features a cable bridge and passes through old growth forest along the rapids of the Skokomish River. The short loop makes for an easy year-round hike that visitors of all ages can enjoy!
8. Sol Duc Hot Springs
You may have heard of this place in the Olympic National Park as it's one of the most well-known hot springs in our state. The cozy resort provides one freshwater pool and three mineral hot spring pools that'll melt all of your stress away.
9. Cape Disappointment State Park
Located on the Long Beach Peninsula, this state park features 27 miles of coastal beach, two incredible lighthouses you can hike to, a number of scenic trails, and plenty of places to go camping.
10. Ruby Beach
Just off Highway 101 in the Olympic National Park you can find this mystic beach with a rugged coastline and well-maintained trail. Here you'll be able to catch a phenomenal view of sea stacks, some of which are accessible at low tides.
11. Cape Flattery
If you head out on the Cape Flattery Trail, you'll be able to enjoy a breathtaking view from the northwestern-most point of the contiguous United States. At the end of the trail, there's a small lookout where you can see where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean.
12. Kalaloch Tree Cave
Also known as "The Tree of Life," this odd piece of nature in the Olympic National Park somehow still stands, despite the fact that it has roots that lead to nowhere and there's no soil to help keep it alive.
Where’s your favorite place to visit on the Olympic Peninsula?? Add to this list below!