This sustainable-travel itinerary will have you eating oysters, hiking through a rainforest, watching for whales and much more!
Here on the Olympic Peninsula, magnificent giants still live in the Quinault, Queets, Hoh and Bogachiel valleys Primeval temperature rainforests are home to giant old-growth trees
Day 1: Big Trees, Local Food and Farm Stay
Hike an Old-Growth Forest
Olympic National Park encompasses the center of the Olympic Peninsula, along with a few sections along the western coast, so as you drive the Hwy. 101 loop around the peninsula, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to get into the park. Your first stop? Staircase Rapids Loop near Hoodsport. This easy 2.1-mile hike is a great introduction to one of the park’s many ecosystems: a lowland, old-growth forest.
Lunch on Fresh Oysters
Ready for lunch? Stop in to Hamma Hamma Oyster Saloon and Farm (hamahamaoysters.com) along Hwy. 101 in Lilliwaup, just north of the Hoodsport exit for the Staircase Rapids Loop Hike, for incredible shellfish. Take a seat in the Oyster Saloon which serves a partial menu on weekdays and a full menu Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Reservations are highly recommended.
Don’t miss stopping by the Farm Store on site where you’ll find fresh oysters and clams, house-smoked seafood and a variety of other locally produced goodies from ice cream to cheeses to grass-fed beef.
Sip a Local Cider for Happy Hour
Forty miles north in Chimacum, stop into Finnriver Farm and Cidery (www.finnriver.com) to enjoy hard ciders produced on site from the farm’s organic fields and orchards. Join an Orchard Tour & Cider Tasting on summer weekends to sample while strolling the farm grounds and learning about all the innovative things the cidery is doing to be more sustainable from hosting the North Olympic Salmon Coalition’s Native Plant nursery (nosc.org) to using geese to maintain the orchard, to the on-site research farm helping create more resilient organic seeds.
Day 2: Marine Life
Watch Whales with a Naturalist
A member of the Pacific Whale Watch Association, Puget Sound Express (www.pugetsoundexpress.com) is committed to responsible wildlife viewing, education and conservation. From Port Townsend, 10 miles north of Chimacum, head out on a four-hour guaranteed whale watching tour. A marine naturalist on board will help you learn more about the waters of Puget Sound and the wildlife you’ll encounter like orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, bald eagles, harbor seals and more. Make sure to place your lunch order with your ticket purchase and enjoy a sandwich on the boat.
Learn More About Pacific Marine Life
Still curious about the marine wildlife that calls the Puget Sound home? Head to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center at Fort Worden State Park (ptmsc.org). This education and science organization is dedicated to understanding and conserving the waters and shoreline surrounding Port Townsend. You’ll find touch tanks, microscopes, a hydrophone, an orca skeleton, low-tide walks and more information on how to not just go green, but to take your passion for sustainability to the next level by going “blue.”
CHEVY CHASE BEACH CABINS on Discovery Bay
Offer a Charming Getaway overlooking Discovery Bay! Open daily, year-round. The perfect base-camp for your culinary and Olympic Peninsula adventures! Enjoy our private beach, spectacular views of Discovery Bay and seven immaculate cabins. Dog friendly!
Day 3: Hike to a Triple Waterfall
As you continue west on Hwy. 101 there are lots of opportunities to get into the park. Take Sol Duc Hot Springs Road, just west of the turnoff for Lake Crescent Lodge, to hike the easy 1.6-mile roundtrip trail to Sol Duc Falls to experience the beauty of a temperate rainforest.
Whatever trail you choose be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles to help keep the park beautiful for wildlife, plants and other visitors. One of the most important principles to practice in Olympic? Packing out what you pack in. A single tissue or a stray corner of a granola bar wrapper might not seem like that big of a deal, but when you magnify your piece or two of trash by more than 3 million visitors, it suddenly becomes a huge amount of litter on the trails which affects the entire ecosystem and the oceans this ecosystem drains into. Pack out all of your trash, including food scraps like fruit peels.
Sleep next to the Pacific Ocean
You just might get the best night’s sleep of your entire life at Kalaloch Lodge, tucked between the Pacific Ocean and dense evergreen forests inside the park. Something to help you sleep even better? Knowing that Kalaloch Lodge is committed to sustainability. With ambitious goals related to curbing greenhouse gas emissions, water use and waste you’ll find energy efficient appliances, low-flow plumbing fixtures and recycling and composting initiatives on site. Kalaloch Lodge is on track to diverting 90% of waste from landfills by 2024 and reduced greenhouse gas emissions 40% between 2019 and 2020. Stay in a lodge room or cabin with views of the ocean and dine at the Creekside Restaurant, which sources 60% of all its ingredients within 150 miles.
Another smart way to help reduce your carbon footprint on your road trip is by purchasing carbon offsets. These offsets help sequester or avoid carbon via various projects. We love the Protect Our Winters carbon calculator and offset purchase tool (protectourwinters.org/cost-of-carbon/). It’s user-friendly to calculate the footprint of your vacation and you can choose which programs you want to support with your offset purchase from forest management to emissions reduction to methane recovery.