Tips for Planning the Best Olympic National Park Vacations

A fast-moving Elwha River tributary with bright green mossy banks

Experience dramatic Northwest wilderness, a mild climate, and strong indigenous cultural heritage on your next national park vacation!

This information is brought to you by ExperienceOlympic tour of Olympic National Park, Port Angeles WA 98362.

When is the best season to plan my Olympic National Park vacation?

According to Shultz (1990), the marine climate that impacts the weather for Olympic National Park vacations creates mild temperatures: warm winters and dry summers.  When you are sitting down to plan the best Olympic National Park vacation, it helps to have a better understanding of what each season has to offer.  Whether you plan your trip during the winter, spring, summer, or autumn, giant evergreen conifer trees, mountain vistas, and a wild shoreline set the stage for memorable Olympic National Park vacation at any time of year.  Read more detailed seasonal Olympic National Park wildlife viewing advice.

Close-up of an Olympic Marmot with patches of gold on its coat lounging on a rock as seen on an Olympic National Park vacation

When hiking on my Olympic National Park vacation what gear should I bring?

Check out our comprehensive packing list of hiking gear to assist you in planning the best Olympic National Park vacations.  This list is useful for day trips or overnights to rocky shores, beaches, lowland forests, montane forests, or subalpine ecosystems.  In particular, we discuss appropriate clothing material (not cotton) and clothing layer considerations for the wet Olympic National Park Rainforest.  Shoulld you bring raingear during your Olympic National Park vacation during our typically drier summer weather?  Yes, try to pack it and be thankful if you did not need it.  We offer packing advice on raingear and other related topics in order for you to plan great day hikes in Olympic National Park.

Fog covering the Hoh River valley floor with a clear view of the Olympic Mountains in the distance

How can I leave no trace on my Olympic National Park vacation?

National Parks in the United States offer some of the last great tracts of wilderness and solitude making them popular vacation destinations.  The National Park Service has been tasked with preservation of our natural and cultural resources including the amazing Olympic biodiversity that you will discover on your Olympic National Park vacation.  Read more about how you can protect an International Biosphere Reserve and World Heritage Site and plan the best vacation to Olympic National Park by leaving no trace of your visit.

Sign in a subalpine meadow reads "Please Stay Off Meadows"

What will help to ensure a safe Olympic National Park vacation?

Hikes you take on your Olympic National Park vacation will generally be safe but can always be rendered safer, through good planning, awareness, and place-based education.  Are there Grizzly Bears in Olympic National Park?  How would the presence of Grizzly Bears change your planning for safe day hikes on the Olympic Peninsula (FYI:  we only have Black Bears in Olympic National Park)?  Tips for planning the best Olympic National Park vacations helps you to better explore subalpine meadows, dense forest trails, and rocky shores.  The safety information was written by Olympic National Park hiking guide Carolyn Wilcox who has her Wilderness First Responder certification.

Seven Clallam Transit passengers waiting on the side of the road to take a trip through Olympic National Park

Can an Olympic National Park vacation be planned without a car and what options are there for things to do?

Port Angeles, Washington, is your gateway to Hurricane Ridge, a not-to-miss destination on your Olympic National Park vacation.  Check out our detailed instructions and links to various transit options between Seattle and Port Angeles, specifically between the Seattle Tacoma Airport (Sea-Tac) and Port Angeles and beyond for your next Olympic National Park vacation.  If you choose to get to Port Angeles without a car, we have designed an entire list of Port Angeles things to do to help you in planning your Olympic National Park vacation.  If you can walk or ride a bike, then you can plan your Olympic National Park vacation using various forms of transit.

Northwest Climate Citation

Schultz, Steward T. (1990).  The Northwest Coast A Natural History.  Portland: Timber Press.

Three adult breeding Pigeon Guillemot on the Olympic Peninsula