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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A view of the Olympic Mountains and forest with snow and cloud cover

Why you should spend the night on the Olympic Peninsula and hire Experience Olympic?

Family and kid-friendly tours with a certified teacher and wildlife guide

Pacific Northwest tidepool tours appeal to families (recommended for children 6 and up) due to its particularly hands-on nature and exploration of an exciting underwater world during a low tide. Our nature tours have a multi-generational appeal for both slightly stiff grandparents and the luckily limber grandchildren.

Whether you are interested in tidepooling, hiking, birding or wildlife watching, we work hard to make our nature tours enjoyable for all ages by structuring our day together to fit participant needs. Children who enjoy naps might prefer tours with a longer drive so they can nap in the car.

Three hour trip to Port Angeles from Seattle (ONP is even further)

Some tour operators advertise Olympic National Park tours from Seattle for a day but approximately eight hours of your time will be spent driving/traveling (with ~2 hours of that time waiting and traveling on a ferry) and little time left for hiking.  Additionally, Olympic National Park rainforest animals are generally not active in the middle of the day. 

If you take one of the ferries (Seattle-Bainbridge or Edmonds-Kingston), it is about an 82 mile one-way trip from Seattle to Port Angeles, the gateway city to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.  It is approximately a 20 mile one-way drive to Hurricane Ridge from Port Angeles but this is a slow windy road so drive time is about 45 minutes one-way.

The closest Pacific Coast beaches (Rialto and other La Push beaches) are an estimated 70 mile (one-way) trip from Port Angeles (3 hour round trip drive). The Hoh Rainforest is a 91 mile (one way) trip from Port Angeles (4 hour roundtrip drive). Seattle is about 82 miles (one way) from Port Angles for comparison.

Solitude experienced on Experience Olympic tours

The act of visiting Olympic National Park ensures a certain amount of solitude as Port Angeles has a population of just under 20,000 and it's the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula.

The Olympic Peninsula is in so isolated of a location that Twilight wasn’t even filmed here despite being set in Forks, Washington.

We take special care to start our private guided nature tours as early as possible, include hiking in order to stay away from popular parking lots, and use local knowledge to access alternative routes as it makes sense.

If you're not much of a hiker and do not want to experience any possible parking-lot crowds, consider visiting Olympic National Park sometime before Memorial Day or after Labor Day for maximum park tranquility. 

Experience Olympic tour logistics

Private guided nature day tours are scheduled by making a reservation with us. We have been able to arrange tours for the following day though we generally request 24 hour notice. Please first contact us to check on our availability. 

We will meet in Port Angeles, Washington unless other arrangements have been made. Our actual start time is largely based on your preferences, the time of year, and type of tour (for example, tours to the tidepools are based on tide schedules).

In general, we advise starting as early as possible. During the summer, dawn is an excellent times for viewing Olympic wildlife as well as finding more solitude on the trail.

Experience Olympic vehicle

If you want us to drive, transportation will be provided by a minivan that seats six passengers. It is kept in good condition and cleaned regularly between tours. 

If you have more than six people interested in exploring Olympic National Park or already have your own transportation and have space for one more passenger, please consider driving us.

Roots of Experience Olympic tours

Experience Olympic LLC was created in 2012, with business officially starting in 2013. You can read our excellent reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, or Yelp by searching Experience Olympic.

Carolyn first started taking family and friends on unofficial tours in 2006, with a coastal backpacking trip designed for her aunt.

Being a teacher, Carolyn considers her guiding roots to have started as a student teacher in Costa Rica in 2003. She fondly remembers guiding students on public transit in San Jose to volunteer at Amigos de las Aves (a rehabilitation center for Scarlett and Hyacinth Macaws).