Trip Planning

Olympic National Park

Growing up in the Midwest, I always thought of Olympic National Park as one of those places that “one day” I’ll get to experience. That day arrived…

There was just one problem - we only had two weeks to stay in this scenic paradise and there were too many great areas to explore! If this isn't on your RV bucket list, you'd better add it.

One thing to keep in mind is Olympic National Park is HUGE. We set up our base camp at the Elwha Dam RV Park. It's perfectly located to take day trips and hit all the great spots, but also is close enough to Seattle so that you can visit the big city as well.

First Beach

It seems fitting that the first place to visit is First Beach. It's located in La Push. My wife warned me that I need to watch out for vampires as this is where they filmed the hit film series "Twilight." There are sea-stacks all around this beautiful beach as well as a lot of driftwood to sift through in search of unique pieces of wood. 

Because all of these beaches are far from the big cities, there are not a lot of people and you can easily find spots where you have it all to yourself.
man surfing
It’s also a good spot to hit the waves (which I did) if you’re a surfer. It doesn’t get more scenic of a place to ride on top of a wave than here!
man fishing
While I was surfing this guy was catching fish. He would wade a little ways out, cast his line into the surf and BAM!

Second Beach

The next logical stop is Second Beach (I figured numerical order was the logical thing to do). It’s a beautiful 2 mile hike through the thick forest. It’s always nice to be able to hear the sounds of the waves as you get closer to your destination. Then finally, the view of the massive sea-stacks pop up through the trees.

The view of the massive sea-stacks pop up through the trees.
people on beach
I didn’t want to carry my surfboard on the hike in and decided just to enjoy the beach as a hiker. I did, however, run into a guy who I spent some time talking with who went paddling out and hitting the waves near these big rocks!

Third Beach

This was another wooded hike in to get to the beach. It was so green! One of the highlights for me was that I didn’t see another person the entire time. When you get to the beach you see these massive sea-stacks. Tide pooling and beachcombing are great activities to enjoy here as well.

path in the woods

Spruce Railroad Trail

One of the best bike rides I’ve ever been on is on the Spruce Railroad Trail. It’s also excellent for hiking. The trail itself was nice, part of it was even paved. The highlight is that it’s mostly right along the crystal clear water! I was blown away at the blue/green color of the lake.

man biking in the woods
bike next to water

Salt Creek Recreation Area

The closest beach to our campground was the Salt Creek Recreation Area. Although it’s not part of Olympic National Park, it’s a great spot to catch the sunset or even better, to catch some waves!

man with surfboard
Looking north, across the water you can see Canada in the distance.

Ruby Beach

I did extensive online research before coming to the area and Ruby Beach was consistently listed as THE SPOT to catch the sunset. One of the perks of this beach is that the stunning scenery is easily reachable. The hike is around .25 miles long but the memories of this bucket list location will last a lifetime.

Words can’t even come close to describing how amazing it is to sit back and watch the sunset here. There’s lots of driftwood and sea-stacks. You’ve got to experience it yourself!

Rialto Beach

Take a relaxing stroll on down this accessible beach as the parking lot comes right up to it. That allows you to experience this gem without having to hike to the beach, so you can save your energy to hike at the beach.


Marymere Falls

If you’re looking for a beautiful waterfall where the hike to get there is equally as beautiful, this is it! The 1.8 mile in and back trail is well maintained and also has a decent amount of hikers.

walking trail
The hike is so green and lush. There’s also a lot of water around the trail which makes for a nice sound as you hike to the falls.

Lake Crescent Lodge

Danielle couldn’t get enough of this place. It’s a beautiful lodge that has picture perfect views of the lake while you enjoy a nice meal. Sometimes she would drop me off at a hike and then come here with Ella to relax, eat, and soak in the views until I was done. It’s a hot spot for hikers to refuel their bodies and kick back and relax their muscles.

indoor dining area
But the views and the water color are what makes this place extra special. It isn’t very often that you’ll find somewhere to enjoy a meal with a view like this. It’s no wonder why we kept coming back here, and you should too!

Mount Storm King

This 3.8 mile roundtrip hike will burn some calories. It starts out on the same trail as Marymere Falls, but quickly heads up the switchbacks towards the peak. The views from the top are truly unique and as good as it gets. I was surprised that the views of the lake don’t open up until the end of the hike, but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

The well maintained trail heads through a very dense and beautiful forest.
path in the woods
At one point near the top, the trail gets steep but they’ve installed ropes for you to pull yourself up with.
woman on top of mountain
Allow enough time to stay at the top for a while. You won’t want to head back down once you see this view!

Elwha River

You’ll notice right when you pull in to the Elwha Dam RV Park that it’s labeled a “Drama Free Zone.” Part of that is because the owners do a fantastic job of making sure you enjoy your stay. Another big part is because it’s perfectly located to immerse yourself in nature. In fact, my trips where I walked out from the RV and hiked or biked down to the river were just as wild and adventurous as any other hike in Olympic National Park.

The trail starts at the edge of the campground and because this place isn’t as well known as many of the hot spots in Olympic NP, every time I headed down to the river I had the entire place to myself. It was like having my own wilderness playground and I couldn’t get enough of it! My favorite thing to do was bike down to the river (in less than 2 minutes from stepping out of the RV) and then head off the trail to explore.

I recommend that anytime you go camping, you speak with the owners/rangers at the campground and ask about any unique spots you should visit. They led me to a bridge that we were able to climb and sit on the ledge overlooking the river. It was such a random and incredible adventure!

We’ve lived in 43 states in the past 3 years and out of all the places we’ve been, Olympic National Park is in our top 5 favorite places for beauty and adventure (we don’t put our top 5 in any order). This place is as good as it gets!

family in front of RV

Shore Looks Nice

Eric Hannan

Have you ever wanted to pack it all in and hit the road full time in an RV? That’s exactly what the Hannans did when they ditched the corporate lifestyle of Orange County, CA to travel across America. They work full time in the RV while visiting friends, family and the scenic areas of this country.