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Olympic Peninsula Road Trip

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572.4 miles: 13 hours, 6 minutes
Washington’s Olympic Peninsula is filled by Olympic National Park. It’s one of the nation’s most dramatically scenic, a primeval wilderness of mountains, towering trees and lush rain forest. But all is not stunning isolation; along the way are picturesque outposts of civilization like Port Townsend, where you can eat good seafood and check out the local arts scene.
1
Seattle to Hoquiam
115.8 miles: 2 hours, 16 minutes
From Seattle, zip down I-5 past Tacoma and Olympia (Tacoma has a couple of attractions worth your while). Then continue on toward US 101, which will take you around the perimeter of the peninsula. The most spectacular scenery is yet to come, but this is the Pacific Northwest, and you’ll see rolling, tree-covered hills and valleys dotted with picturesque dairy farms.
2
Hoquiam to Port Angeles
235.6 miles: 5 hours, 34 minutes
US 101 offers view after spectacular view. For a side adventure, take SR 110, just past Forks, to Rialto Beach (follow the signs). The crashing waves, craggy sea stacks and mist-shrouded cliffs are breathtaking. En route to Port Angeles the highway runs along the south shore of gorgeous, deep blue Lake Crescent, created by glaciers and framed by mountain peaks.
3
Port Angeles to Port Townsend
52.9 miles: 1 hours, 30 minutes
Lavender is not only an important local crop but an aromatic one—its delightful scent perfumes the midsummer air around Sequim (skwim). Tours of local lavender farms are part of the fun at the Sequim Lavender Festival in July. Port Townsend offers an appropriately seafaring atmosphere, lots of history, charming B&Bs and beautiful views overlooking Admiralty Inlet.
4
Port Townsend to Seattle
168.1 miles: 3 hours, 44 minutes
US 101 skirts Olympic National Forest as it twists and turns through dense woodland, blazing with yellows and reds in fall (peak color is in October). The highway then parallels Hood Canal, offering mile after mile of gorgeous scenery. Celebrate the end of your Olympic adventure with a visit to one of Seattle’s top attractions and a stay at one of its finest hotels.