It might interest you to know that if you plan to go to the Olympic Peninsula on July 4th weekend, you should make reservations around January for where you want to stay. We searched every campground, hotel, motel, bed and breakfast, you name it- for a place to stay this past weekend and there was nothing available. Well, there was the Red Lion in Port Angeles but it was also around $250 for a night and we weren’t paying that. Instead we decided to just go for a day and catch all the sights and drive back that night. I’ll run you through Friday and Saturday really quick though- we slept in Friday, did all of our laundry and ended up eating at Famous Dave’s for dinner, pretty uneventful but it was nice to relax. Saturday we took the kids out mini golfing for the first time ever- that was funny! Caleb did get the ONLY hole in one of the day, his face was priceless but each time I tried to get a picture he was wiggling or dancing or in constant motion of some kind. Faith felt the need to smack the golf ball with all her might each time- thankfully the course was pretty empty so she didn’t hit anyone. When we got back to the hometel we made them nap- that night we had pizza and watched Wimpy Kid Roderick Rules. We also fit in a trip to the dog park so Dixie and Bella could run. On to Sunday…
Our first stop was Beach 4, just north of Kalaloch, Wa on Hwy 101. Just so you know, we have a book called The Dog Lover’s Companion to the Pacific Northwest by Val Mallinson, it has been so helpful in finding places to go, eat and stay during our trip here. Traveling with Dixie and Bella would have been much harder without it.
For our trip we checked out the tide chart, we wanted to make it for low tide so we could check out all the tidepools. That was so cool. The dogs lost interest in them quickly, but they enjoyed all the people coming to pet them and tell them how pretty they were. They also got to sniff out a few new friends- much tail wagging ensued. They even enjoyed a visit from a park ranger, she was telling us about the different things we’d see in the tidepools and letting us know to watch out for the barnacles because they could cut the dog’s feet. Did you know that anemones sting if you touch them? Also, touching one then putting your hand in your mouth can lead to a stomachache? We didn’t test out that theory but it was more info the ranger told us. She also gave us some tips on hiking trails in the Olympic National Forest that we could take the dogs on. She recommends Bogachiel if anyone ever heads out to this area.
Faith and Caleb- I should have changed them into their shorts and water shoes in the parking lot- for some reason I thought maybe they would stay somewhat dry. Shows you what I know!! They were fascinated by the anemones and star fish- we saw hundreds of each! Faith even had a hermit crab encounter. She thought she found a pretty shell, but there was something stuck inside. She kept tapping at it and said to me, hey mom, what is in this shell?? I could see her fingers just missed getting pinched a few times, when I told her it was a hermit crab- he went back into his tidepool pretty quick. Then as we looked around we could see holes in some of the rocks, those holes were filled with pretty shells- and yeah, they were all hermit crabs!! She really wanted to take one home, but she understood they needed to stay in their environment. Caleb was just awed by the star fish, he pointed out tons of them. They had plenty to look at from the giant rocks and tidepools, the crashing waves, all the smooth rocks on the beach and the giant driftwood logs. We spent about two and half hours on Beach 4, I took a ton of pictures of this light house, even using my zoom lens to get a closer look at it. The light house is on Destruction Island, check out the link if you want more info. We also had to change the kids once we got back to the parking area, they were totally soaked.
After our first beach stop of the morning, we were pretty hungry. The drive from Tacoma to Beach 4 was about three hours or so, we drove farther on 101 North back to Forks, Wa- it was the closest town for food. We ate at The Forks Coffee Shop, we had eaten breakfast here when we visited Forks the first time, excellent service and food. The place was packed for lunch but we didn’t mind the wait, between us we had the club sandwich, grilled cheese, mushroom burger and cheeseburger. The burgers were kind of thin, Tim just wants to make sure you’re aware. My club sandwich was huge- and very filling. The dogs enjoyed their kibble and chewy bones.
After lunch we headed back down 101 South to Ruby Beach. Supposedly the beach was named for the tiny red garnets you can find in the sand…we didn’t see any. It was also really cold on this beach. Getting down to the beach was a little tricky, once you get to the bottom of the trail you have to climb over a bunch of driftwood logs- no easy feat for us with 2 kids and 2 dogs. It was different too because once you got over the logs there was a huge freshwater lagoon surrounded by the stony beach. The lagoon was on our right, the ocean on our left. The dogs had a blast running into the surf chasing pieces of driftwood and then rinsing the sand off in the lagoon and grabbing a drink. We only stayed here for an hour or so, it was just really cold, but both Beach 4 and Ruby Beach have parking areas and bathrooms- excellent kid locations- Ruby Beach even had pet poo bags, which was handy because we ran out after Beach 4.
We drove farther on 101 South towards Lake Quinault. The Lodge here is beautiful, there is also a Rain Forest Village, I think we would have enjoyed a full weekend here, but we would have needed reservations way earlier. We drove around the lake for a little bit then turned around and headed back to the Quinault Rain Forest. There was a half mile nature trail we wanted to check out. Once we finished the trail it was time to make the drive back to Tacoma. The kids were worn out, the dogs worn out- and Tim and I- definitely worn out. We had a great day, but man were we tired. We stopped at Shari’s in Tacoma for a very late dinner, got back to the hometel and cleaned up the kids and they crashed for the night.