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).

Dungeness Spit

Don't be crabby! Dungeness Spit, one of the longest natural sand spits in the world, is best known for its internationally-renowned crabs but there's much more than the famous crustaceans here. From beachcombing to bird watching, there's plenty to keep little explorers busy.

You'll see sweeping views of the Spit as you follow the easy forest trail down to the beach. Off in the distance is the New Dungeness Lighthouse (it's not exactly new - its lard oil lamp was first lit in 1857). Dungeness Spit lies within the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge - a haven for migrating shorebirds, salmon, seals and more creatures. Look out for bald eagles perched on driftwood, harlequin ducks and harbor seals. Psst! See if you can spot an orca whale offshore or an elephant seal lounging on the beach.

Hike to the Lighthouse: The trail to the lighthouse is 11 miles round trip; check the tide tables before you hike and only go at low tide. Visit the New Dungeness Light Station website for the essential details on hiking to the lighthouse.

Good to Know: Your family can be Light House keepers at the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Bonus: You'll get a bone-clattering ride out in a 4x4 (maybe the hike would be more comfortable?).

Parking: A $3 permit fee is required for a party of four adults payable at the kiosk in the parking lot (under 16 Free). There are no required fees at the lighthouse, but donations to support its maintenance and restoration are greatly appreciated.

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
554 Voice of America Rd.
Sequim, Wa 98382
Online: fws.gov/refuge/dungeness/ or Map It 

photo: Helen Walker Green

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

— Helen Walker Green