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Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

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Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 180
reviews: 218
Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

I'm in Oak Harbor on business, and will have this weekend to sightsee. I am wondering whether it is doable to visit Olympic National Park (visit the major stops--Hoh Rain Forest, Forks, Port Angeles) as a day trip.

If so, what is the most time-efficient way to do this itinerary? Would it be the Coupeville to Pt. Townsend ferry, then from Pt. Townsend to Olympic NP? I know the ferry schedule changes this weekend (summer schedule in effect on Sunday, 6/16); what other things should I be aware of with regards to the ferry?

Thanks for your help!

9 replies to this topic
Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,765
reviews: 45
1. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

The DEs for ONP will post, I'm sure. In the meantime, clarify please. You say you have this weekend to sight-see, implying two days, but ask about ONP as a day trip. Can you tell us if you have, are willing, to spend, two days visiting ONP (i.e., lodging on the Olympic Peninsula for one night)? If not, suggestions as to what to see will vary. There's a lot to see on WI alone and other nearby locations.

Edited: 6:55 am, June 13, 2013
Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 180
reviews: 218
2. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

A friend is coming down from Vancouver late on Saturday night, so we only have all day Sunday to sightsee before she drives back home. Otherwise, I would consider lodging overnight at ONP. Is an auto tour of ONP doable in one day, also accounting for travel from/return to Oak Harbor? I'm keen to see Forks, Port Angeles, Hoh Rain Forest.

Do I need to crosspost this question to the ONP forum for the ONP DEs to see?

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
3. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

It can be done! It stays light very late. Watch your ferry times going back to Whidbey from Port Townsend. Sunday can be busy. Not sure what you want to see when you say Port Angeles? You will enjoy the drive along Lake Crescent West of Lake Crescent. I would head straight for the Hoh and see how much time you have before deciding if you have time to see anything else. Of course I have no idea how much time you want to spend at the Hoh. Saturday is supposed to be glorious, but the Hoh this time of year is just as beautiful on overcast days! Stop at Sunny Farms in Sequim for some great sandwiches to take for a lunch on the River.

western WA
Destination Expert
for Seattle, Outdoors / Adventure Travel, Family Travel
posts: 8,628
reviews: 14
4. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

Do you have your own car? If so go ahead and go to Port Townsend and Hurricane Ridge on Saturday and meet your friend in Port Angeles. She can take the ferry from Vancouver to Sidney and Victoria to Port Angeles. Then Sunday, head south to the beaches at La Push and to the rainforest, then back.

Be sure to make a reservation on a late Sunday pm ferry.

Edited: 11:18 am, June 13, 2013
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 6,083
reviews: 5
5. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

Look at GoogleMaps and check the distance between Oak Harbor and the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, then make your decision.Make sure you take into consideration that the GoogleMaps time estimate does not account for missing a ferry or for a long ferry wait. I would not even consider this trip. ONP is not like other national parks such as Yellowstone. You do not enter the park and then drive through spectacular scenery. Except for Lake Crescent, virtually all the spectacular scenery in ONP is well away from the road. Most of the driving is dull, as the road runs outside the park.

If you were staying in Seattle, I would encourage you to take a day trip to Hurricane Ridge or Lake Crescent, and even that would be a lot of driving.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
6. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

I do agree with what Kaleberg says, it is a lot of driving and very little of it is scenic. I will ,however, add this. If I was visiting from Virginia and I wanted to see the Hoh Rainforest knowing the time it will take you, I would not hesitate. It is one of my favorite places on earth! I am impressed every time I visit Including three times this year. Will you find it worth it? That I can not answer. Last weekend I walked by two very young bear cubs near Lake Quinault. If that was all I had seen on my visit it made the effort worth it to get there. Reality is you may never get another chance. It is a big world and there is so much to see. I can tell you this there is nothing like it in Virginia!

Seattle
posts: 2,086
reviews: 18
7. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

Doable Day Trip?

I suppose, but don't bother. You won't really get any sense of the place.

Come back when you can take your time hiking the rain forest valleys on the west side. For the best of the Hoh, that means going well past where most of the tourists turn around. And for still better experiences, hike the Queets and the Quinalt.

Poulsbo, Washington
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
posts: 4,837
reviews: 4
8. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

Most people that visit the Hoh are not hikers and the OP said nothing about hiking they just want to sightsee. This time of year there are not that many people at the Hoh. Walk a mile and you will loose people fast. The weather is supposed to be great. If you understand the what it will take to get there and still want to visit, go for it. We that live here can visit any time we want. I have been there three times this year. Virginia is a long way.

Alexandria, Virginia
posts: 180
reviews: 218
9. Re: Whidbey Is. to Olympic National Park: Doable Day Trip?

Thanks all, for your feedback. One dependency is that I don't know what time my friend will get here from Vancouver on Sunday, so that will affect whether or not we can even a) still get a reservation on the (Coupeville-Pt. Townsend) ferry and b) how much time we'll have for an auto tour.

I am potentially returning to this area next year, but will be based in Bremerton instead of Oak Harbor, so if I miss out on Olympic NP this year, I can try again then.

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