See the Best of the PNW in Just 4 Days
Clearly I am an East Coast girl, but I am not going to lie... I love the West Coast too. Specifically, the Pacific Northwest Coast. This past May I took a trip to the PNW. I had just graduated from Indiana University and it was a little celebratory trip. I spent four days in the PNW and saw Seattle, Olympic National Park, Gig Harbor, and Victoria, B.C. This was not my first trip to the PNW. I took a trip out to Seattle, WA and Portland, OR the previous year. That trip I saw both of the cities as well as hiked Mt. Rainier, Olympic National Park, and The Columbia River Gorge. I would not say I am a PNW pro, but I am well travelled in the area.
Warning! This Blog Post is picture heavy! The trip I took this past May was 6 days long. However, I only had 4 days to see and do all that was on my list. I packed A LOT into 4 short days, but in my opinion that is the best way to travel/site see. I arrived on a Tuesday evening. The nice thing about flying West from Indiana is that because of the travel time and time change it basically works out that you get there the same time you left. Long story short I met my mom in Seattle. We stayed at a close family friend's house the first night. They picked me up from the airport and we grabbed dinner and then got some rest because I had plans to hit the ground running the next morning.
Day 1. Wednesday morning we made our way to British Columbia. We took the ferry from Seattle to Victoria. It was about at three hour ferry ride and we passed the San Juan Islands and Friday Harbor. One day I would love to visit both of these places. I have heard nothing but lovely things about them. Our first strop when we arrived on BC soil was The Butchart Gardens in Brentwood Bay, British Columbia which is located near Victoria on Vancouver Island. Y'all have probably caught on to how much I love flowers if you have been following me for awhile. I think it is because both my mom and my grandmother are florists. The Butchart Gardens were B-E-A-UTIFUL!!!! Like unreal. I highly recommend seeing them if you are in the area.
Then we drove to downtown Victoria to see The Fairmont Empress and the beautiful British Columbia Parliament Buildings. The Renaissance, Romanesque, and Baroque architecture is exquisite. There is no fee to tour the Parliament Buildings. I love history and learning about other country's government systems so I found this interesting.
On our way to our hotel we stopped and saw Fisgard Lighthouse and a castle that were both on my list of things to see. Fisgard Lighthouse was the first lighthouse on the West Coast of Canada and was first lit in 1860. It is a part of a national historic site located on Fisgard Island at the mouth of Esquimalt Harbour in Colwood, British Columbia. Y'all have probably figured out I also love lighthouses. If I am being honest the castle was something I saw on Pinterest and itself was beautiful but there was nothing to see on the inside. In fact, it was is building on the campus of a university and the doors were locked. Hindsight's 20/20 as we left downtown Victoria, we were wishing we had booked a room at the Empress, but our hotel ended up being such a treat. We stayed at the Bear Mountain hotel for the night. However, I could have easily stayed six, haha. When we got to our hotel at Bear Mountain we had dinner and a cocktail at the restaurant at the resort. It did not disappoint.
Day 2 and 3. We spent these two days in Olympic National Park. In the morning on Thursday we took a different ferry from Victoria that dropped us off closer to Olympic National Park at Port Angeles. Olympic is one of my favorite National Parks and I have seen a lot of the National Parks. I enjoy this one because there are a lot of different things to see in it (beaches, waterfalls, rainforests, mountains, etc.). We stayed at the Lake Crescent Lodge which is an upscale, waterfront lodge just off Route 101. It was a charming place. A perfect place to unwind. I honestly felt like I was in a dream. It is on Lake Crescent and you can rent kayaks and paddle boards, go fishing, and swim in the lake. There are also a number of hikes/trailheads that are easily accessible from the lodge. A good short hike is to Mereymere Falls. It is a fairly flat and easy 0.9 miles (each way). Some more challenging hikes that I have done are Mt. Storm King (4.5 miles total) and Pyramid Peak (7 miles total). On Friday we drove west to the beaches. We hit Ruby Beach and Kalaloch Beach. These beaches are not your typical beaches. They are windy and cool, but beautiful. The waves are huge. I have always wanted to see the Kalaloch Tree Root Cave, so we found that and I hung my hammock in the cave for a while. Before making our way back towards Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge and eventually Seattle, we stopped at the Kalaloch Lodge at Olympic National Park for a late lunch. It was delicious. I highly recommend stopping (or even staying the night) here if you plan to go to the beaches. After lunch we made our way inland. We drove up to Hurricane Ridge, a mountainous area in Olympic National Park open year-round to hiking, skiing and snowboarding. Hurrincane ridge was our last stop before taking the ferry back to Seattle.
As we approached Seattle on the ferry, it was night time and we had a beautiful view of the city-scape as the ship was coming in.
My mom and I spotted the Seattle ferris wheel and could not turn down the opportunity, so we took a ride on the Ferris wheel while enjoying a cocktail. Yes! Cocktails on the Ferris wheel... how fun!
Day 4. Saturday was our last day in Washington before heading home. We have some dear family friends that have a boat docked in Gig Harbor and they were so kind to invite us out for a day at sea with them! We took the boat out in the Puget Sound and even stopped at Blake Island Marine State Park for a 5 mile hike before lunch on the boat. Our family friends are originally from the south so their cooking is out of this world delicious. We had smoked salmon, pimento cheese, and toasted bread for an appetizer and for lunch we had shrimp tacos. Let's just say we were well fed that day! This day at sea concluded our trip. It was the icing on the cake to a wonderful time in the PNW.