18 Dec 2018
If you’re looking for a beautiful, winding highway where you can see some of Washington State’s most stunning natural landscapes and attractions, a journey down the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway is a must. This 350-mile stretch of road allows you to travel all the way from Olympia around the entire Olympic Peninsula to the Washington-Oregon border. During this mesmerizing journey, you will encounter breathtaking views from scenic overlooks, vast beaches, and lush forests on one of the most unique tracts of land in the U.S. It’s easy to venture out and explore our great wilderness from Washington’s Beach Town. Seabrook’s cottage rentals have everything you need for the perfect adventure. Check out our Things to Do page for a full list what our town has to offer in addition to our excellent location on the Olympic Peninsula!
The Top 9 Stops on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway
Your journey starts at Port Townsend on the far northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula. This 19th-century Victorian seaport boasts elegant architecture throughout the charming town. Shops and galleries line the main street in town and make for a nice stroll. Grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants before driving a couple of minutes north of the town to Fort Worden State Park, which boasts great views and some interesting military fort history.
Head out of town back to the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway for 55 minutes to Dungeness Spit. This sandy wildlife refuge protruding out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca provides fantastic views of the waterway and is a great spot to get a peek at some of Washington’s birds and sea mammals. While you walk along the spit or kayak around Dungeness Bay, keep your eyes peeled for elephant and harbor seals popping their heads up out of the water! Make sure you bring your camera for excellent photo opportunities here.
Drive down Route 101 through Port Angeles to the Olympic National Park welcome center. Once you buy a pass, start your 30-minute drive up to Hurricane Ridge. Stop and take a couple of pictures from one of the scenic overlooks before you reach the 5,242-foot summit. The views here are nothing short of spectacular. If you look to the north, you can see tree-covered valleys, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and if it’s a clear day you can even see Canada! Turn around to face the southern portion of the park and the towering head of Mount Olympus greets you with its snow-covered peak. Take a walk around one of the paved pathways stemming from the parking lot where deer and mountain goats roam. Make sure you scan the treetops for a potential bald eagle or hawk sighting.
After you head back down the mountain, get back on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway and drive over to Lake Crescent. This glacially carved lake boasts plenty of scenic stops, water activities, and trails surrounding its shoreline. Kayaking, canoeing, and hiking are the main attractions here, where you can jump into the “Devils Punch Bowl,” or explore Spruce Pine Railroad Trail tunnel.
One of the best stops along Route 101 around Lake Crescent is the Barnes Creek Trail near the Lake Cresent Lodge. The trail branches of into the forest and takes you along the banks of Barnes Creek before making a sharp turn near Falls Creek. As you start to climb a mix of hills and wooden stairs, the roar of water begins to become clearer and clearer until you reach the top. The 90-foot tall Marymere Falls greets you with its delicate cascade of water into the pool below. This is a perfect spot to snap a couple of pictures before wandering back through the picturesque forest full of giant ferns and tall spruce and fir trees.
Hoh Rain Forest
One of our favorite spots to stop along Route 101 is the Hoh Rain Forest. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Lake Crescent on your way south to Seabrook. This temperate rainforest is a mix of lush, green vegetation, towering spruce and fir trees, and a turquoise river. Once you reach the visitor center, hike around one of the many cleared paths leading to the banks of the Hoh River, where you’ll feel like you are standing in a scene of The Revenant. As your eyes scan the banks of the river, you’ll slowly look up through the dense trees up the tall, stately mountains to the rich, blue sky. Here, you can finally be one with nature.
Once you leave Hoh Rain Forest, travel further south down the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway for about 40 minutes to Ruby Beach. This long stretch of sand becomes an excellent place to explore the sea stacks, tide pools, and rocky coastline during low tide. Washington’s coast is one of the wildest shores in the country, so a stop here is well worth on your way down to Washington’s Beach Town.
Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge
Before you end your journey in Seabrook, drive 30-minutes past our town to Grays Harbor Wildlife Refuge for a birding experience like no other. From April through May, hundreds of thousands of birds flock to the muddy tide flats of Grays Harbor Estuary. Bring your camera for some excellent photo ops.
Your Final Stop: Seabrook
You’ve made it! You conquered some of the most exciting sights and sounds that the Olympic Peninsula has to offer. It’s time to kick back and relax in one of our cozy and comfortable cottage rentals in our quaint and charming oceanfront town. Stop by one of the boutique stores and restaurants for a Washington souvenir or a bite to eat. We host plenty of fun and engaging year-round events in addition to the long list of Things to Do and see around the town. If you didn’t get enough of the Olympic Peninsula’s sights and attractions along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, take a look at our blog on the best things to do in Olympic National Park!