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olympic peninsula in the winter

Denver, Colorado
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olympic peninsula in the winter

Help!!!! We are thinking of making a trip to the Olympic peninsula in mid December. I am having a hard time narrowing a location, I have no idea what kind of weather to expect, if the kids 9 and 7 will be bored out of their minds (they love outside). I can't decide south (long beach) mid (la push) or North???? We are trying to keep it fairly inexpensive. Want to be on the ocean, see neat stuff, kids love tidepools, any advise is much appreciated!!!

Port Angeles, WA
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for Olympic National Park
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1. Re: olympic peninsula in the winter

No tide pools on Long Beach; it's completely different from the beaches in Olympic National Park. The beach there, although impressive because of its size, is nowhere near as beautiful as the haunting seascapes near LaPush or even the beaches along the Straits of San Juan de Fuca. On the other hand, there are good restaurants in Long Beach, many lodging choices, and many corny but kid friendly beach town attractions. Some of the latter may be closed in December, so check.

I can tell you what kind of weather to expect: rain, rain, short days, and more rain. There will be snow on Hurricane Ridge. Night will fall before 4:30 pm. It is possible, although unlikely, that there might be a snowfall near sea level, a consideration if you are planning a long drive on the Peninsula. Given the fact that the kids are only 7 and 9, I don't think a trip to ONP at this time is a good idea even though the LaPush beaches can be gorgeous in December. I have hiked Second Beach in shirt sleeves at Christmas, but the truth is that you must always be prepared for rain at that location at that time of year. Hurricane Ridge is often sunny even when lower elevations are rained out, and the snowshoeing up there is wonderful. The wildlife is a lot less shy in December, too. However, I would not advise trying for either the Hoh Rain Forest or the Quinault RF in December. At that time of year, the hiking trails can be so wet they are like streams. Lake Crescent is lovely in the winter, especially in the morning, and the eastern shore is relatively sunny, but, again, you must be prepared for damp weather.

I really think the kids would prefer Long Beach in December, but if you decide to go for ONP, rent a house, preferably in the rain shadow area not too far west of Port Angeles, as that area is much less rainy that LaPush, Forks, or Lake Quinault. Make sure you get a rental with a fireplace, wood stove, or fire pit. Have backup plans in case of bad weather, and, if you plan to drive up Hurricane Ridge (you should; it's magnificent) stash a set of chains in your car.

2. Re: olympic peninsula in the winter

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