Go on a banana slug safari in the Hoh Rainforest, paddle a boat on Lake Crescent, soak in Sol Duc Hot Springs or explore low tide at Dungeness Spit. The Olympic Peninsula is a wonderland of natural beauty and full of adventures any time of year. Read on for 10 ways the Olympic Peninsula rocks (vampires not included).

Fort Worden Historical State Park

Bring sturdy shoes and a sense of adventure to this 19th century fort, which once guarded the entrance to Puget Sound. It's a warren of military buildings with batteries, gun turrets and bunkers for you and the kids to explore (great for playing hide-and-seek or flashlight tag!). But Fort Worden is not just for history buffs - there's a sandy beach with lots of shells, rocks and sea glass to be found. It's also a good spot for fishing and there are kayaks and rowboats for rent. Hikers will enjoy the 12 miles of hiking trails that run through the park - it's also great for mountain-biking (you can rent bikes if you left yours at home). You'll see the Point Wilson Lighthouse perched on the bluff - there's a 2.5 mile easy trail that leads to it and it's open for tours on summer Saturdays. Bring a picnic or visit The Cable House Canteen (offering burgers and a hot breakfast).

Overnight at the Barracks: There's so much to see and do at Fort Worden, it's definitely worth an overnight trip. There are two campsites (one on the beach), RV parking or you can SPLURGE on a historic officer's row house or non-commissioned officer's quarters.

Good to Know: A Discover Pass ($10) is required for vehicle access for day use (you don't need to buy one if you're staying overnight as it's included in your accommodation fee). Fort Worden is equipped with an automated pay station where you can buy your pass. If you'll be visiting a lot of Washington State Parks, we recommend the Annual Discover Pass ($30).

Fort Worden Historical State Park
200 Battery Way
Port Townsend, Wa 98368
360-344-4431
Online: parks.wa.gov/Fort-Worden or Map It

photo: Delanah Reudink 

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What Olympic Peninsula adventures would you add to our list? Tell us in the Comments below.

— Helen Walker Green