Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Make the Olympic Peninsula your Next Vacation Destination

Looking for an exotic summer destination? One of the best kept travel secrets remains the incredible value that you will find on the Olympic Peninsula. Rocky beaches, magnificent rain forests, organic farm stands and lavender fields framed by snow-capped mountain peaks. Dozens of priceless experiences that cost little or nothing to enjoy!

First, there's the Olympic National Park -- just $15 for a one-week family pass is your ticket to some of the most pristine and unspoiled wilderness on the continent. The Olympic National Park is a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. With 37 peaks well above 7000-feet, the Olympic Mountains are breathtakingly beautiful, rugged and remote. They remain isolated from development with not a single ski resort to mar spectacular views of the wilderness.

The Olympic National Park is so vast that our guests often remark how surprised they were to have trails and scenic overlooks all to themselves even in the middle of summer! We know all the best trails from secluded rain forest waterfalls to high mountain meadows full of purple lupine. We'll even point out hidden beaches where you can spot gray whales in the kelp beds within a few hundred feet of shore.

Or you can explore the nearby Dungeness Spit and National Wildlife Refuge for a mere $3.00 for your entire group (an all-day entrance fee). If you want to splurge, for just $125 per person we'll set up our registered guests with a memorable Kayak tour out to the historic New Dungeness Lighthouse -- the package includes all your gear and a professional guide plus a tasty box lunch. It's the only way to see some of the Elephant Seal breeding grounds that are off-limits to visitors on foot.

If birds are your thing, the Protection Island Cruise is an amazing experience. Approximately 70-percent of the nesting sea bird population of Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca hatch their young on the island. The island is perhaps better known for one of the largest nesting colonies of Rhinoceros Auklets in the world and one of the last two nesting colonies of Tufted Puffins in the Puget Sound area. In addition to the largest nesting colony of glaucous-winged gulls in Washington, nearly 1,000 harbor seals depend upon the island for a pupping and rest area.

If you're a history buff, there's no charge to explore nearby Port Townsend, a National Historic District that's a short and scenic 30-minutes by car. Once larger than Seattle, Port Townsend boasts turreted mansions built by the timber barons and a bustling waterfront that pre-dates the Civil War.

A pleasant, absolutely free spot for a romantic afternoon picnic can be found in postcard-perfect Port Gamble -- a charming village frozen in time in the 1860's. The streets are bordered by picket fences and its New England style church is one of the most photographed buildings in the state and a popular place for fairytale weddings.

Bring your bikes and pedal for free on the Olympic Discovery Trail that winds its way more through more than 30 miles of picturesque farms, across old wooden bridges and along a scenic coastline from Port Townsend to Port Angeles. Along the way, the Dungeness Railroad Bridge Park is a great place to spot Bald Eagles hunting for salmon in the icy Dungeness River.

Unless you've been sequestered on a different planet, you've no doubt heard of Forks, the home of vampires and werewolves made famous in the Twilight series of books and movies. Forks is an easy 45-minute drive from the Lodge and you can pick up a self-guided Twilight Tour map at the local Visitor Center. While the rain pelts Forks with more than 90-inches of rain each year, you'll be happy to return to sunny Sequim which receives fewer than 16-inches of rain per year making it the driest place in Western Washington.

Sequim's location in the "rain shadow" of the Olympic Mountains is the main reason that it has become the Lavender Capital of North America. It doesn't cost a thing to tour dozens of Lavender farms. Follow our recommended driving loop to snap the best photos of the lavender fields with snow-capped peaks in the distance. For just a few dollars, you can pick an armful of fresh lavender or a bucket full of fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries all summer long at nearby U-pick farms that dot the Sequim countryside.

With so much to see and do, book now for a long weekend getaway in a luxury fireplace suite in the Main Lodge (adults only) or reserve one of our fully equipped, kid-friendly private cottages for your family's summer vacation.
Your Travel Guide at Lost Mountain Lodge