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).

Pacific Ocean Beaches

Huge waves crash into Rialto Beach leaving giant piles of driftwood, while birds fish for supper in the tide pools at Kalaloch and kids run barefoot in the red-hued sand of Ruby Beach. The Olympic Peninsula's Pacific Ocean beaches are raw, wild, amazing places. Paddle across Ellen Creek to "hole-in-the wall” when the tide is out, explore the tide pools of Second Beach or take a forested trail to beautiful Third Beach with its waterfall plunging down the cliffs.

Find: Lovely Shi Shi (shy shy) beach is often voted Best Beach in Washington. You have to hike in, which makes it extra special. It's a level 4 mile trail, mostly cedar planked. At the end is the big reveal - a gorgeous soft sandy beach with the amazing Point of Arches sea stack formation, coves, caverns and tunnels to explore.

Remember Your Tide Table: Always carry an up-to-date tide table so you don't get stranded by the rising tide. Tide tables are available at visitor centers and coastal ranger stations.

Olympic National Park Visitor Center
3002 Mount Angeles Rd.
Port Angeles, Wa 98362
360-565-3130
Online: nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/exploring-the-coast.htm

photo: Michelle Riggen-Ransom via flickr

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

— Helen Walker Green