Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Best Way to See the Olympic National Park in Washington? By RV!

Rain Forest in Olympic National Park

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The Olympic National Park in Washington State is a dazzlingly beautiful natural wonder and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also a perfect place to visit if you have children or teens who are Twilight fans, as the ├╝ber popular vampire-werewolf tale is set in and around the area. Established as a national park in 1938, Olympic boasts diverse flora and fauna (from giant Sitka spruces to towering Douglas firs), which thrive in its rain forest climate and the Hoh and Queets rain forest valleys.

The park is large and surrounded by water on three sides and is rather undeveloped on its south side, making it hard to get around in unless you have a vehicle (there is also no mass transit to Olympic and no shuttle within the park). Instead of touring the park in a cramped car why not opt for a comfortable RV rental in Washington instead? Some of the not-to-be-missed scenic drives and sights at Olympic National include:

  • Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive - This 454 mile drive will allow you to see the majority of the park's natural wonders.
  • Hurricane Ridge - Discover the 17-mile stretch that winds through snow-capped peaks and thick forests.
  • Hoh Rain Forest - One of the largest temperate rain forests in the U.S., filled with majestic trees and lush vegetation.

  • Ruby Beach - This gorgeous public beach, one of the most visually appealing in the state, is located about 35 miles south of Forks (the main location in Twilight). The beach can be reached by Highway 101 and on a clear day the sunsets here are spectacular. While camping on the beach is not permitted you can enjoy a picnic or barbecue while admiring the rugged landscape that surrounds you.

  • Rialto Beach - In addition to spending time at the beach you can also take a hike (about a mile and a half) to Hole-in-the-Wall. The large rock arch was carved out by the surf and is not accessible at high tide.

  • Hoh River - Fed by glaciers from Mount Olympus, the highest point in the park, the river is also one of the road entrances to the park.

  • Hood Canal - The longest fjord in the United States, this is a great scenic drive.

  • Hot Springs - Visit the Olympic and Sol Duc pools.

  • Crescent Lake - A pristine 10-acre natural lake.

  • Waterfalls - Two gorgeous water falls in the park are the Sol Duc Falls and the Marymere Falls.

  • Quinault Rain Forest - One of the four rain forest canopies on the west side of the park, it is less talked about than the Hoh, but no less beautiful.

  • Take a drive from the Olympic Visitor Center in the park to Rialto - approximately 3 hours, 80 miles.

  • Drive along Highway 101, the Olympic Peninsula's main highway, and see the Strait of Juan de Fuca near the towns of Sequim and Port Angeles (where most ferries are located).

The park and the surrounding area enjoy relatively moderate marine temperatures, with generally sunny summers and moderate winters with quite some rain fall. In fact, the average amount of rain in the area every year is some 15 feet, which comes off the nearby Pacific Ocean. The Olympic Mountains in the west do absorb some of the precipitation from the Pacific and some towns in its shadow, like Sequim, experience much less rain than others in the area.

The entrance to the park costs $15 per vehicle. If you require a ferry Black Ball Transport will transport your rental camper from British Columbia to Port Angeles for $44 per vehicle (the tickets are $12 for adults and $5.75 for children). In the park the Fairholme Campground, on the western edge of Lake Crescent and located at an elevation of 580 feet, offers 88 sites at $12 a night and an RV dump station. The Hoh Campsite in the Hoh Rainforest on the banks of the Hoh River is located at an elevation of 578 feet and also offers 88 sites at $12 a night and an RV dump station. Click here for more camp ground information.

If you are looking to discover the stunning natural beauty of the Olympic National Park and its rain forests why not opt for the practical choice and check out Motorhomeroadtrip.com for more information on renting an RV for what is sure to be an unforgettable journey.

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