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one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

San Diego
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one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

My husband and I are coming with our 2 year old in mid-August. This is our itinerary for now - the only variable is that I don't have lodging booked yet (which is a bummer, as it appears many places are booked up, but I think I still have some options if I book this week).

We plan to spend 3 full days in Seattle & 2 full days in ONP, plus some travel days.

A few questions:

1) Does this itinerary look sensible? We're active people, but I will be 6 months pregnant and we do have a 2 year old. We have a sturdy stroller but no camping backpack or anything to carry her. I am trying not to squeeze too much in, but still want to see enough to make this trip worthwhile. Our daughter goes to bed quite early (6-7pm) so we don't have anything planned for the evenings... we'll likely go out for an early dinner each night with her, and then just relax in our hotel in the evenings.

2) The only part of our trip I'm not settled on is what to do on our day of travel between Seattle and Port Angeles. Our only real "goal" for that day is to get from Seattle to PA, which I think leaves some time to do some sightseeing along the way. Would it make sense to go from Seattle to Bainbridge Island to PA on a ferry, so we can experience being on a ferry/boat? Or would it be better to go by land through Port Townsend and explore PT a little? Is there another destination on the way that would be more fun?

3) As it stands right now, we have a free afternoon in the ONP area. (Hurricane Ridge that morning, Lake Crescent & Hoh Rain Forest the next day). Any ideas for what to do? We'd like to get back to PA for naptime at our hotel if possible, so we'd likely only have a 3 or so hours (3-6 pm ish). We are from coastal California, so while I am sure the Coastal/Tidepool areas are wonderful, for the sake of time we are not planning to visit those (I feel like that's the other typical ONP destination).

Thanks so much!!!

Saturday - travel day

Drive to Seattle from Boise area (8 hour drive)

Sunday - Seattle Day 1

Morning: Pike Place Market & first Starbucks & Seattle Waterfront

afternoon: toddler naps at hotel, husband to Boeing Future of Flight Tour

Monday - Seattle Day 2

Morning: Museum of Flight (all 3 of us)

afternoon nap: nap at hotel

Afternoon:Ballard Locks & Botanical Gardens (Surrey Rental?)

Tuesday - Seattle Day 3

Morning: Seattle Center - see space needle, probably visit Children's museum, might take monorail, view Chihuly Garden and Glass

afternoon Nap: nap at hotel

Afternoon:Central Public Library or Elliott Bay Book Company

Evening: (husband to Underground Tour?)

Wednesday - travel to PA from Seattle

Morning: final Seattle exploration OR ferry to Bainbridge Island OR stop in Port Townsend

drive to Port Angeles – 2.5 hour drive

Afternoon: explore & afternoon in Port Angeles - options

Salt Creek Recreation area (World War II fort converted)

Dream Playground

Marine Life Center

Possibly ONP visitor center

Thursday - ONP Day 1

Morning: Olympic National Park – Hurricane Ridge (45 minutes from Port Angeles)

Picnic lunch

Afternoon: Olympic National Park - ANY SPECIFIC IDEAS OF WHERE TO GO?

Friday - ONP Day 2:

Morning: Olympic National Park – Lake Crescent (30 minutes from Port Angeles) - options

Paddle/rowboats (okay for Lydia?)

Sol Duc Falls or 7.5 mile round trip Spruce Railroad Trail

Marymere Falls

Spruce Railroad Trail???

Lunch: Lake Crescent Lodge dining room?? or picnic lunch

Nap: nap in car on the way to Hoh Rain Forest

Afternoon: Hoh Rain Forest (allow 2-3 hours back to Port Angeles) - options

Hall of Mosses Trail

Spruce Nature Trail??

Hike to Tom’s Creek

Saturday - travel PA to Leavenworth

Morning: drive Port Angeles to Leavenworth

Afternoon: explore Leavenworth

Evening: (one of us to play at Summer Theater?)

Sunday - travel back to Idaho

drive Leavenworth to Boise

Mentioned in this post
Lake Crescent Lodge
Lake Crescent Lodge
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Hoh Rain Forest
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Salt Creek Recreation Area
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Sol Duc Falls
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Marymere Falls
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466 Reviews
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Seattle
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Port Angeles
Port Angeles
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Port Townsend
Port Townsend
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California
California
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Boise
Boise
Idaho
Surrey
Surrey
British Columbia, Canada
Leavenworth
Leavenworth
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Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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10,665 posts
18 reviews
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1. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

You have really done a lot of research, which is impressive. I think you most of your plans will work, but here are a few thoughts.

You will be taking the Bainbridge Island Ferry as part of your route to Port Angeles, so just head on out. Port Townsend is a strikingly pretty town, and if you feel the need to break up the trip, it would be a good sidespur. However, it will add over an hour to the overall trip, depending on how long you spend exploring PT. The drive from PT to Port Angeles is 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Make sure you have sun protection for the baby and for yourself. August in the North Olympic Peninsula has a lot of sun, and the air is so clean here, we get a lot of UV. This is especially important on Hurricane Ridge, which can be blindingly sunny.

You should go to Lake Crescent after visiting Hurricane Ridge. Try Marymere Falls, but be aware that you may have to carry your toddler up the ascent to the waterfall. An adult would take 45 minutes round trip to do this hike. It is beautiful and shady, but you can't take a stroller on it. In fact, I know of only one trail in the entire park that would accommodate a stroller, and that is the gorgeous Hurricane Hill Trail, which is paved. Not well paved, but paved. Do try for Hurricane Hill; it is a 700 foot ascent but so worth it. If you decide to try for it, write back, so I can offer some real time information about what you can see up there in terms of flora and fauna.

The next day you could go to Log Cabin Resort and rent paddleboats if you liked, and/or you could walk the Spruce RRT. Again, this trail is totally unsuited for a stroller, and it has some steepish ups and downs, so you might have to carry the toddler for a stretch. Try for the Devil's Punchbowl at least. Hold the child; there is a short stretch right past the Devil's Punchbowl where poison oak grows on both sides of the trail. It is quite noticeable if you know what to look for. This is the only place in the park where I have seen it, and it's easy to avoid, but don't let your child touch it.

You could do Sol Duc Falls this day as well. The whole walk is only 20 minutes there and back. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort has a restaurant where you might have lunch, and you might enjoy a swim in one of the pools.

You have left out the beaches. Rialto Beach is only 1 hour and 15 minutes from Port Angeles, less than an hour from Lake Crescent. Do go. It is perfect for families as you can drive right to the beach. There is a honest little hamburger joint, Three Rivers Resort, nearby, if you need sustenance. There are bathrooms at Rialto Beach with running water.

At the Hoh RF, Tom's Meadow is too much for a 2 year old. It's a 6 mile round trip, and you can't do it with a stroller. I am sorry, because it is a lovely hike. You can definitely do the Hall of Mosses; it's less than a mile round trip.

If you can see something of the Hoh RF, Rialto Beach, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc Falls, and Hurricane Hill, you will have had a taste of ONP's great beauty. I know that ONP can be a bit of a challenge to families with very young children, and I hope that it is worth it for your family.

Please write in when you have chosen lodging.

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Port Townsend
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San Diego
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5 posts
2 reviews
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2. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

Kaleberg, I keep meaning to say thank you for your reply and helpful information!

We are getting ready for our trip next week and your tips have helped me prepare a lot. We've stocked up on a UV shirt for each of us and sunscreen, and are borrowing a hiking backpack that our toddler can ride in.

Looking forward to the trip! Will let you know how it goes. :)

Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
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3. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

Yes, please do!

San Diego
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5 posts
2 reviews
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4. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

Just got back from our trip and it was lovely.

Seattle was nice, but we especially enjoyed our time in ONP and wished we would have stayed there longer (we did 4 nights in Seattle, 3 nights in Port Angeles, and wish we would have flipped those for a longer PA stay).

We stayed in this vacation rental - http://www.vrbo.com/481956 and it was perfect for us. Really enjoyed it and recommend it, just a couple miles outside the main ONP visitor center in Port Angeles.

Wednesday -

- arrived in Port Angeles from Seattle via Bainbridge ferry - pleasant and easy drive

- went to ONP Visitor Center (the one in Port Angeles) to get oriented, get maps, etc.

- settled into lodging

- walked around in downtown Port Angeles

- ate dinner back at apartment once daughter was asleep (just picked stuff up from Albertsons)

Thursday

- breakfast at apartment (recommend a big breakfast before hiking!)

- drove to Hurricane Ridge. Stopped at visitor center first, then drove to trailhead for Hurricane Hill. It was foggy down in Port Angeles but beautiful at Hurricane Ridge area. This was the biggest "hike" we did and I was glad we did it first. My husband carried 2 year old on his back in a hiking backpack. I am 7 months pregnant and carried our (small) backpack with snacks and water. We took the hike slowly but really enjoyed it and were able to do it even pregnant and with a toddler (we were proud - felt like an accomplishment!) I am in good shape but haven't been "hiking" in pregnancy, and I did fine. Beautiful views and pictures.

- that took all morning, and daughter was ready for a nap. She napped while we drove to Sol Duc Falls. We had only planned to drive to Lake Crescent, but she was still sleeping in back seat of car, so we drove to Sol Duc - glad we did. We checked out hot springs but were too crowded for our liking (probably 1 pm), so went to Sol Duc Falls and did that (short) hike/walk. (picknicked first right outside it in the parking lot). Our daughter walked the whole way to the falls and loved it (then she rode in backpack on the way back). I know Sol Duc Falls had been recommended, but it wasn't really on my "radar" and I am so glad we ended up going there. It was beautiful!! A really pleasant walk for our family with our "little hiker" who was happy to explore rocks and sticks along the way.

- dinner at Next Door Gastropub in Port Angeles - delicious! (Not extremely family friendly - very crowded - but they have a nice kids menu and lots of noise so kids aren't a problem).

Friday

- breakfast at apartment

- drive to Hoh Rain Forest visitor Center

- did Hall of Mosses & Spruce hike/walk (can't remember the exact name of the Spruce one - it is the short walk right by Hall of Mosses). These were beautiful, pleasant, and "easy." We liked walking by the river.

- drove to Rialto Beach. It was VERY foggy and cold so we didn't stay at the beach long - it was high tide (we knew that before arriving but the only time we could really work into our schedule. We are from Southern California so have been to tide pools before, so wasn't quite such a priority as some other ONP spots). Our daughter LOVED playing with rocks and sticks near the parking lot, though (away from coastal winds) so we stayed there awhile (not quite on the "beach" but just behind it), which was fun.

- stopped at Lake Crescent Lodge, which was LOVELY. What a pleasant, peaceful place! It was around 5 pm so the sun was starting to go down. We were going to do the Moments in Time walk but switched that to just go wading/swimming in the lake and enjoy a drink/appetizer at the lodge. This was a wonderful way to finish our time in ONP - peaceful and with an old-fashioned feel. My only regret is that we didn't do Marymere Falls - just not enough time.

Saturday

packed up, stopped by visitor center in Port Angeles for postcards, stopped in Port Townsend for mid-morning coffee and walk, and then drove to Leavenworth/Ellensburg (then on to Idaho on Sunday). We did not take the ferry because it looked really crowded (1-2 hour wait) online. We just did a toll road and the 5 through Tacoma - worked for us (though probably not the prettiest drive we could have taken).

Thanks for all the helpful tips, @kaleberg and Trip Advisor community - we had a lovely time and really appreciated all your insights. One of the nicest trips we've taken... we've been to Yosemite twice (just on day trips) and I found that personally, I enjoyed ONP more. Such beautiful views and far less crowds.

Mentioned in this post
Lake Crescent Lodge
Lake Crescent Lodge
883 Reviews
Olympic National Park, WA
Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge
1,437 Reviews
Olympic National Park, WA
Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls
429 Reviews
Olympic National Park, WA
Hoh Rain Forest
Hoh Rain Forest
1,130 Reviews
Olympic National Park, WA
Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach
539 Reviews
Olympic National Park, WA
Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls
466 Reviews
Port Angeles, WA
Next Door GastroPub
Next Door GastroPub
663 Reviews
Port Angeles, WA
Seattle
Seattle
Washington
Port Angeles
Port Angeles
Washington
California
California
United States
Port Townsend
Port Townsend
Washington
Leavenworth
Leavenworth
Washington
Tacoma
Tacoma
Washington
Port Angeles, WA
Destination Expert
for Olympic National Park
Level Contributor
10,665 posts
18 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

Wonderful trip report, and it sounds like a wonderful trip. I hope you get to come back someday. Good for you for doing the Hurricane Hill Trail while pregnant.

6. Re: one week in Seattle/ONP with a toddler - itinerary

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