Olympic National Park/ Rainforest
Olympic National Park is a national treasure, dedicated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1938. It contains beautiful coastline, glaciated peaks, and a temperate rainforest. The Hoh rainforest receives up to 150 inches of rain per year, the most in the continental United States (beat in the US only by Waimea Canyon, in Kauai, Hawaii). The Park is quite large, consisting of nearly one million acres. Seabrook is a good home base for adventures in the western part of the park. The closest access to the Park from Seabrook is at Lake Quinault, about an hour North and East of Seabrook. Here are directions: Drive North to Ocean Beach Road, go Southeast for about ten miles until you reach Copalis Crossing. At Copalis Crossing take a left on Kirkpatrick Road and head Northeast until you reach Highway 101 (12 miles). Continue on Highway 101 until you reach South Shore Road (16 miles) you will turn right on this road and you will then reach the park.
One of our favorite hiking trails on this side of the park is the Ozette Loop. This loop goes from the lovely Lake Ozette through a primal cedar swamp to the ocean (3 miles). The path then continues 3 miles along the beach and then loops another 3 miles to the Lake. Ancient Petroglyphs can be seen on this hike. More information about the Lake Ozette Loop can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/ozette-loop.htm.
Unfortunately, it is about a three-hour drive from Seabrook to the trailhead, taking Highway 101 through Forks, so plan on making this an all-day trip.
A high-resolution pdf map of the Olympic National Park can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/upload/olym_map.pdf.
The beautiful Lake Quinault (http://www.quinaultrainforest.com/Lake-Quinault/valley-of-the-giants.html) is the southern entrance to the National Park. Here you can see one of America’s great park lodges, The Lake Quinault Lodge, built in 1926. You can go on hikes in this area and see some of the biggest trees in the world in the “Valley of the Giants.” This area of the park boasts of the world’s largest Western Red Cedar (174 feet), Sitka Spruce (191 feet), Douglas Fir (302 feet!!!), Yellow Cedar (129 feet), Western Hemlock (172 feet) and Mountain Hemlock (152 feet). Some of these trees are quite a ways into the park, but the Sitka Spruce and the Western Red Cedar are just five-minute hikes from the road. Here is a map: http://www.quinaultrainforest.com/pdf/GIANTSpg.pdf.
River Fishing-Salmon and Steelhead
Aside from a trip to Alaska, you will find some of the best river fishing for salmon and steelhead in the United States right here on the Olympic Peninsula. The major salmon bearing rivers in the Peninsula clockwise from the Southwest on this side of the Peninsula include the Humptulips, the Quinault, the Queets, the Quillayute, the Hoh, the Bogachiel, and the Sol Duc. King salmon, Coho salmon, and Steelhead run at different times of the year (Salmon in the Fall, Steelhead Winter and Spring). A table that shows fish runs is here: http://www.piscatorialpursuits.com/wafishruns.htm. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you may want to hire a fishing guide. We’ve been told that you can fish several of the local streams, such as Joe Creek. A list of Olympic Peninsula Fishing Guides (both fresh and sea water) can be found here: http://www.olympicpeninsula.org/things-to-do/fishing-guides-and-charters.
Westport-deep sea fishing/bottom fishing/crabbing/surfing
Westport is a small town on the south side of Gray’s Harbor, about one hour and ten minutes from Seabrook. It is one of the largest ocean marinas on the West Coast and the home of a large number of charter fishing and sightseeing boats. Here you can charter a boat for bottom fishing, halibut, tuna, salmon, or whale watching. About 23,000 California Gray Whales migrate through the area in March, April and May on their way to their Arctic Feeding Grounds (http://www.westportwa.com/activities/whalewatching/). During crab season, Westport is a great place to catch your own Dungeness Crab dinner. You can rent a pot and catch crab right off the dock: http://riptidefish.com/crabbing-for-dungeness-in-westport-washington/. A license is necessary and there are limits to harvesting crab in terms of number, gender and size. For clamming, crabbing, or fishing, please be familiar with licensing requirements, limits, and areas and times where these activities are allowed. You can find all the information you need at the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife website here: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/. Westport is also the surfing, yes, surfing! Capital of Washington. Visit one of the surf shops in town, and check out the surf report: http://www.swellinfo.com/surf-forecast/westport-washington.
The town of Ocean Shores is about 16 miles south of Seabrook. Ocean Shores is a vacation town that has a much different feel than Seabrook. The beaches at Ocean Shores are a 6-mile long peninsula. Popular activities here include driving on the beach, flying kites, horseback riding, and bird watching. Cars are allowed to drive on the beach here. There are a number of souvenir shops, restaurants, and other services. There is a small movie theater, bowling alley, Go-Kart racing, and a family fun center with bumper boats, mini golf and a video arcade. To get to Ocean Shores, head South on Highway 109. The route is beautiful, but quite curvy. Please obey the speed limit if you wish to avoid a ticket.
Enjoy learning about regional history? The Museum of North Beach is just a quick five-minute drive North from Seabrook. This fun museum is open from 11 am to 4 pm Thursday through Monday from May 1 to October 31, and in the Winter is open those hours Saturday and Sunday only. Here is their website: http://www.moclips.org/.
The Aberdeen Museum of History is larger, and is located in the old Aberdeen Armory and contains interesting historical exhibits of Aberdeen and the Gray’s Harbor area. If you are a grunge music fan, the museum even offers a walking tour of “Kurt Cobain’s Aberdeen” honoring Aberdeen’s most famous citizen, the departed lead singer of the 1990’s band “Nirvana.” Museum site here: http://www.aberdeen-museum.org/history.htm.
The Polson Museum is a large mansion in Hoquiam is dedicated to the area’s logging heritage. Museum hours are Wednesday – Saturday 11-4 and Sunday 12-4: http://www.polsonmuseum.org/.
Interested in Natural and Native American History? The Coastal Interpretive Center is a hands-on learning center in Ocean Shores- It is open daily from 11-4 during the summer. Check the website for hours after Labor Day: http://interpretivecenter.org/.
If you are like Maritime history, a side trip to the Westport Maritime Museum is worth a visit. It is located in the old Coast Guard Station and is open variable hours depending on the season: http://www.westportmaritimemuseum.com/. You can also visit the Gray’s Harbor Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Washington State.