Olympic National Park is massive at 1,442 square miles – larger than the state of Rhode Island and nearly twice as big as Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Incredibly diverse, it’s home to over four dozen peaks that are at least 6,500 feet in height, 600+ miles of trails, lush rainforest, more than 250 glaciers, and driftwood-strewn beaches.
Wildlife is abundant, including Roosevelt elk, black-tailed deer, mountain goats, bald eagles, bears, and whales that can be seen passing along the Olympic coast during the migration seasons.
When it comes to outdoor adventure, there’s something here in every season. While summer is the most popular time to visit, throughout much of the year hiking can be enjoyed, all you need is a good rain jacket. In the winter, skiing and snowboarding is the thing to do up at Hurricane Ridge. Just a few of the other activities include fishing, kayaking, canoeing and backpacking.
The question isn’t whether to go, it’s where to stay in Olympic National Park.
Planning a Trip to Olympic National Park? We’ve got a few other guides to help you plan an amazing trip. First, make sure to read our Olympic National Park itinerary, which will help you figure out the best things to do and see, and more importantly, how to organize your time. We’ve also got a guide to the best hikes in Olympic National Park to help you plan an unforgettable adventure out on the Olympic Peninsula.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post, like hotel and vacation rental links, are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you we make a little bit of money if you click through and book. That being said, we would absolutely never recommend something to you that we don’t stand behind 100%.
Geography Overview: The Different Regions of the Park
Before we get into specific recommendations, which you’ll find below, let’s take a second to talk about the different regions of the park. It’s important because the park is huge, and you’ll need to choose carefully to maximize your time on your itinerary for Olympic National Park and not spend your whole trip in the car.
Hurricane Ridge & Lake Crescent
This area is closer to the north end of the Olympic Peninsula, with Hurricane Ridge the most easily accessed mountain area in the park, just 17 miles south of Port Angeles. Lake Crescent is accessed slightly further west, about 22 miles south-west of Port Angeles, with multiple hiking trails nearby and many activities focused on and around the lake.
The Northern Pacific Coast
A wild and remote region, the Northern Pacific Coast includes famous Shi Shi Beach along with coastal forest and rocky cliffs. The area from Rialto Beach to Sand Point is one of the most breathtaking stretches of coastline in the country with sandy beaches, sea stacks, tide pools, caves, and arches.
Forks and La Push
In this region you’ll find 70 miles of coastline with everything from surf-worthy waves to sea stacks off First Beach and picturesque forest trails for hiking. It’s also home to abundant wildlife and local Native American tribes for those who want to delve into centuries-old culture.
The Hoh Rainforest
One of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S., the Hoh Rainforest gets as much as 14 feet of rain a year, a unique and lush ecosystem in the western region of the park about 20 miles inland from the coast. Hike the trails to discover ferns and moss that blanket the forest floor, including hollowed out logs that look as if they’re home to fairies, while towering trees draped with moss create a dense canopy overhead.
The Southern Pacific Coast
This remote area includes Ruby and Kalaloch beaches which are directly off Highway 101. The Hoh River just north of Ruby Beach creates a natural boundary.
Interested in exploring the national parks on the West Coast? Don’t miss our complete guide to all 13 West Coast National Parks where you’ll find an overview of things to do, places to stay, and links to our more detailed guides on each park.
Where to Stay In Olympic National Park to Explore Each Region
Since it’s such a huge park with so much to see and do, you’re probably not going to tackle it all in one trip. If you have just a short time here, we recommend choosing one area to explore. Otherwise, consider where to stay on the Olympic Peninsula carefully, ideally choosing different places on a longer trip to reduce the amount of driving time.
For example, if you were to stay in Port Angeles, you’d spend four hours behind the wheel to get to and from the Hoh Rainforest, wasting much of the day. For that trip you might want to overnight in Port Angeles or at Lake Crescent for half your trip and spend the other half right in the Hoh Rainforest or along the coast.
- Port Angeles/Lake Sutherland: This is the best place to stay to explore Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and the Sol Duc Valley. There are many accommodation options in the city of Port Angeles, from hotels to vacation rentals that will put you in close proximity of the park, particularly Hurricane Ridge. Lake Sutherland is another good option, located roughly equidistant between Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent. There are a bunch of charming lakefront cabins to choose from, which will mean spending your days exploring the park and evenings relaxing on the lake.
- Northern Pacific Coast: There are limited places to stay on the Olympic Peninsula in this remote region in particular, but it offers an unforgettable wilderness experience close to Shi Shi Beach and Ozette Lake, including the Ozette Loop hike.
- Forks: If your focus is the La Push Beaches, Hoh Rainforest, or both, there are multiple options in the town of Forks, a popular destination among anglers home to the world-class Bogachiel River, and for fans of the “Twilight” film series with numerous scenes shot here. As this is the arts and culture hub of the Olympic Peninsula’s western region, you can also enjoy some cultural attractions along with dining and shopping. The Woodlands Inn and the Misty Valley Inn are our two top picks in Forks.
- Southern Pacific Coast: You can explore Lake Quinault as well as Ruby and Kalaloch beaches by staying in this region, with places to stay at Lake Quinault and Kalaloch. There are also options for camping in the park and just outside its boundaries in the Olympic National Forest. The region is fairly sparse when it comes to opportunities for shopping and dining, but there are a handful of eateries and small markets, particularly around the shores of the lake.
The Best Places to Stay in Olympic National Park
From campgrounds to lodges and vacation rentals, there are plenty of places to stay on the Olympic Peninsula and right in the park – these are our top picks in each region.
Hurricane Ridge & Lake Crescent
To explore Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent, you’re going to want to stay either in Port Angeles, which is the gateway to Hurricane Ridge, or along the shores of Lake Sutherland, which is conveniently located between Port Angeles and Lake Crescent and has a bunch of amazing lakefront cabins (like this one, which is perfect for groups!).
Hotels & Lodges
There are actually a surprising number of hotel and lodge options, both in Port Angeles, and along the shores of Lake Crescent.
Lake Crescent Lodge
Located along the shores of beautiful Lake Crescent with its stunning waters ranging from emerald to sapphire hues, rooms at the Lake Crescent Lodge are nestled among hemlock and giant fir trees.
The property also hosts the Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, with fireplaces and unbeatable lake or mountain views. The lodge includes an outstanding restaurant that attracts guests and non-guests alike and you can rent a variety of watercraft here too, like kayaks and canoes for paddling around the lake.
Log Cabin Resort
Situated on the opposite side of the lake from Lake Crescent Lodge closer to the north end of the park, this resort offers a variety of accommodation with everything from tent camping sites and basic, rustic cabins at budget-friendly prices to lodge rooms and lakeside chalets. Kayak, canoe, and rowboat rentals are available here as well as a small grocery store and cafe.
One of the best hotel/lodge options for those that want to stay in Port Angeles, Olympic Lodge hosts comfortable rooms with all the essentials along with scenic views of the Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca. An outdoor pool and hot tub are included as well.
Vacation Rentals near Lake Crescent
If you’d prefer a vacation rental, which will give you a bit more space and a kitchen to cook your own meals, here are a few options that you might like.
Treehouse – Eagles Perch Over the Water
Accommodating up to three guests (12 and older), it looks over the Strait of Juan de Fuca with floor-to-ceiling windows that showcase the view. Watch the wildlife, including bald eagles that soar by the window, along with the ferries and cruise ships that glide in and out of the port. There are some kitchen essentials and tools for preparing your own meals, including an outdoor grill and sink, a hot plate, microwave, refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker, all the basic cookware and utensils.
Halibut Hole Beach Front Cabin
Located directly on the water at the beachfront, the Halibut Hole Cabin is more of a glamping experience as a rustic space with no electricity, but it does include lights and all the necessary appliances which are powered by propane. There’s a cozy wood-burning stove to keep you warm too, but the best part is arguably waking up to a view of the Strait right from your bed – and, after exploring the park, you can look forward to coming back and relaxing on your own stretch of beach.
A Lakefront Cabin on Lake Sutherland
Lake Sutherland is situated just east of Lake Crescent and west of Port Angeles, which makes it a perfect home base for exploring the region. Plus, who doesn’t love a good lakefront cabin, right? Spend your morning and afternoon exploring Olympic National Park, and your evening relaxing on the deck by the lake. Sounds like a great trip to me!
Here are three great options on the shores of Lake Sutherland.
- Dreamlike Lakefront Cabin on Lake Sutherland (1BR / 1BA): The perfect lakefront retreat for couples visiting Olympic National Park! This modern studio is cozy – not a whole lot of room for maneuvering inside – but has a nice kitchen and a deck on the lake complete with a patio table and barbecue. Plus, you can use their kayaks and stand up paddleboards to explore the lake!
- Jaw-Dropping House on Lake Sutherland (2BR / 2BA): This rustic home on the lake has its own private deck and floor-to-ceiling windows that bring in plenty of natural light. Spend the evening relaxing in the hot tub on the deck, or in the Adirondack chairs on the private dock.
- Cozy Lakefront Cabin with Bonus Treehouse (3BR / 2BA): Another lakefront cabin with a private dock. Plenty of space for your group, plus a huge waterfront deck. There’s a separate “tree house” that is an in-law unit just up the hill from the main house.
Heart O’ Hills Campground (FCFS): This first come, first serve campground is the closest to Hurricane Ridge, hosting 105 sites that provide plenty of privacy with picnic tables and fire rings along with access to restrooms, potable water, and firewood (for a fee).
Fairholme Campground (FCFS): Set along the west end of Lake Crescent offering direct access to Fairholme Beach, with a swimming area, boat launch, and general store, Fairholme offers 88 non-reservable sites with the best walk-in tent sites; RVs are welcome but there are no hookups.
Sol Duc Campground (Reservable): Located near Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, sites can be reserved here for stays between late May and late October, with a dozen private walk-in tent sites, 17 sites with hookups and 70 without that are more spacious, tucked into the trees.
Forks and La Push
Forks and La Push make a perfect home base for exploring the beaches along the Pacific Coast and the Hoh Rainforest. It’s central to both, but offers amenities like a grocery store and plenty of hotels, resorts, and campgrounds.
Hotels & Lodges
There are a few hotels in Forks itself which are a good choice if you want to be within walking distance of the grocery store and few restaurants in town – the Pacific Inn Motel is the best of the bunch.
If you want a special stay in Forks, look outside of town, where you’ll find a nice array of resorts and vacation rentals that will make you feel at home in the woods.
This place is downright gorgeous! The Woodland Inns has comfortable cabins located just south of the center of Forks.
The cabins are rustic on the outside, modern on the inside, outfitted with all sorts of amenities to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Plus, they all have kitchens, which you’ll be happy about when you realize that the restaurants in Forks aren’t exactly world-class.
They have standard options with a single king or queen bed, and options with two queens which can accommodate up to four people. Plus, deluxe one-bedroom cabins which give you a little more space and a living area to relax in.
Quillayute River Resort
Located 10 miles outside of Forks and seven miles from the La Push beaches, this resort is tucked into a secluded forest at the confluence of the Quillayute and Bogachiel rivers.
It offers a scenic setting with just five suites that all have their own kitchens, separate living and bedrooms, fireplaces, satellite TVs, and covered patios that overlook the Quillayute River. There are also amenities on the grounds, including a shared laundry facility, riverside trails, a tree swing, and picnic tables.
Misty Valley Inn
The Misty Valley Inn might just be the best place to stay in the entire park. It’s a charming bed & breakfast just outside of Forks where you’ll have a tranquil retreat to return to after a day of exploring.
Plus, breakfast! The breakfast here is legendary. It’s not your usual, run-of-the-mill continental breakfast. Instead, you’ll get a huge portion of things like French Toast and biscuits and gravy made-to-order.
Enjoy it on their beautiful patio overlooking the valley, or inside the cozy dining room if it’s a little cold for eating outdoors.
Vacation Rentals in Forks
If you prefer having your own space and access to a kitchen, which is helpful in this remote part of the Olympic Peninsula, here are a couple of vacation rentals that caught our eye.
Centrally Located in Forks (1BR / 1BA): If you’re looking for a place to stay in Forks itself, this place is a good starting point. It’s nothing special in terms of design, but it’s a nice space that will be a good place to rest your head at night after a day of exploring the beaches and rainforests around Forks. It’s walkable to the town center, where you’ll find restaurants and a grocery store.
Little House, Big Adventures (Studio): We’re all-in on tiny homes, and this one is perfect for couples visiting the Olympic Peninsula who don’t mind being a little cozy. You’re going to be spending most of your time outside anyway, right? Despite the tiny footprint, you’ll still have a kitchen with a stovetop and toaster oven. Plus a nice outdoor space for those warm summer evenings. They have a nearly identical listing here if that one is booked.
Beavers Den Cabin (2BR / 1BA): This cabin is north of Forks, in the town of Beaver, and would make a good middle ground between the northern Pacific Coast and Forks and La Push. It has a full kitchen and lofted bedroom, which is an efficient use of the relatively small space.
Here are two solid options for camping near Forks and the La Push Beaches.
Mora Campground (Reservable): Tucked into a coastal forest near the Quillayute River close to Rialto Beach, this campground offers 94 sites that can be reserved during the peak season (late May through mid-September), or accessed on a first come, first serve basis the rest of the year.
Bogachiel State Park (Reservable): Located along the Bogachiel River less than a 10-minute drive from downtown Forks, this state park has a campground that’s an excellent alternative to Mora, including two hiker-biker sites, six sites with water and power, and 26 standard sites.
Near the Hoh Rainforest
There aren’t very many places to stay near the Hoh Rainforest, but here are two options if you want to get up early to see the rainforest at its best in the early morning.
Hoh Valley Cabins: These cabins offer the essential comforts, including separate bedrooms and living areas, kitchenettes and propane fireplaces, located right in the heart of the Hoh Rainforest for easy access to the trails.
Hoh Campground (FCFS): The Hoh Campground isn’t reservable but it’s a great first come, first serve option nestled in a setting of ancient moss-draped trees in the rainforest, with RV and tent sites, some of which are right along the Hoh River.
Northern Pacific Coast
On the remote Northern Pacific Coast, between Forks and Neah Bay, there are very few places to stay. It’s a lovely place to visit, but be prepared to book early or make it a day trip – these spots book up early in peak season.
Hobuck Beach Resort: This resort sits within the Makah Indian Reservation in Neah Bay in the extreme north-west corner of the state along the Pacific coast; a variety of accommodation options are offered, including cabins, tent and RV sites.
Chito Beach Resort: Located in Sekiu less than 20 miles from the northwesternmost point in the U.S., this resort features cabins with full kitchens, TV, and Wi-Fi, some right on the beach, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
If you want to camp on the beach, this is the place to do it. There’s only one other campground in the vicinity, and it’s tiny.
Ozette Campground (FCFS). The 15 sites here are located adjacent to Lake Ozette, offering spectacular lake views and access to a three-mile boardwalk trail that leads to the coast.
Beach camping: This is a great area to camp on the beach, particularly at Shi Shi Beach, one of the most spectacular places in the entire country. While it’s located in the national park, the entrance and trailhead are within the Makah Indian Reservation so you’ll need a park permit as well as a Makah Reservation permit which can be purchased at the Washburn General Store in Neah Bay.
Southern Pacific Coast
Your options in this remote area are limited, with no Airbnbs and just a few hotels, but the accommodation options that are available provide a comfortable base for exploring the region.
Hotels & Lodges
There are two historic lodges at the south end of the park that are worth a look if camping isn’t your thing (or you don’t have the gear with you).
Kalaloch Lodge is located in the park right along the southern coast just steps from a pristine, driftwood-strewn beach on a bluff overlooking the Pacific. It’s owned by the National Parks Service and offers an “unplugged” experience meaning no Wi-Fi or cell signal; however, rooms include satellite TV, microwaves and minifridges. Higher-end options included wood-burning fireplaces with wood supplied and/or ocean views.
Lake Quinault Lodge
This historic lodge sits right on Lake Quinault and includes a variety of room options, some of which are pet-friendly, with the Fireplace Rooms the best featuring a magnificent view of the forest and lake, along with a fireplace. The property also includes an outstanding restaurant, an indoor pool, sauna, gift shop and other facilities. Activities like guided hikes and boat tours are available, and there are also paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes for rent.
There is a ton of camping in this area, most is reservable in peak season (May to September), and first-come-first-served outside of that timeframe.
Kalaloch Campground (Reservable): Located on a high bluff adjacent to the ocean, this campground is one of the most popular on Washington’s Pacific coast with some sites overlooking the water, so you’ll want to make reservations well in advance for camping between late May and mid-September.
Falls Creek Campground: Set along the southern shores of Lake Quinault next to Falls Creek in the rainforest, this campground offers sites for tents, trailers, and RVs that can be reserved from late May through mid-September.
Willaby Campground: Another great option, all campsites at Willaby are located near the Lake Quinault shoreline and can be reserved between mid-April and mid-October.
Campbell Tree Grove: If you’re looking for a true wilderness experience with lots of peace and quiet, access to scenic trails, cool dips in tranquil pools and the opportunity for occasional day trips to Lake Quinault or the coast, Campbell Tree Grove is ideal. It’s located in a very remote area just outside of the park borders in the rainforest along the West Fork Humptulips River. You’re unlikely to get cell service here, but it’s a no-fee, first come, first serve campground with sites for both RVs and tents, some right on the water.
Camping in Olympic National Park
There are tons of options for camping inside the park. Here’s what you need to know.
If you want to camp, you’ll have a long list of options in the park. Most are first come, first serve and fill quickly during the peak summer season.
To get one, arrive early during the middle of the week – if you get there just before the 11 a.m. checkout time you might be able to grab as spot as someone is leaving.
There are three campgrounds in the park that can be reserved, including Kalaloch, Sol Duc, and Mora. You’ll find more information including details for reservations via the National Park Service here.
There are 23 backcountry camping areas right on the coast, every one of them stunning. Second Beach is a favorite, requiring a short and easy .7-mile hike to reach. There are magnificent sunsets, endless tide pools and jaw-dropping sea stacks just off the sandy shores. It’s also close enough to civilization if you need to run to the store too.
Kalaloch is an organized beach campground with 170 campsites, many of which are right above the bluffs with each campground loop beginning and ending at the beach, showcasing spectacular sunsets while providing access to miles and miles of scenic hikes. As this is a reservable campground (between late May and mid-September), if you plan on camping during this period you can reserve your site and pay your fees online without having to worry about a backcountry wilderness permit. Keep in mind, this isn’t camping on the beach, but it’s as close as you can get without all the backpacking equipment you’d need to camp on the beach itself.
- Backcountry camping on the beach requires a wilderness camping permit throughout the year for every person on the trip. If you plan to camp on a weekend, it’s best to make a reservation at least two weeks prior to your departure date. Walk-in permits during the week are typically easier to obtain. You can pick them up at the Wilderness Information Center along with a bear canister.
- When camping on the peninsula in most places, including all the beaches, bear canisters are required to keep food from the bears as well as racoons and other animals (bring your own, or rent it from the visitors center). You’ll also have to have your National Park Pass or a Northwest Forest Pass showing in your car, ideally hanging from your rearview mirror.
- When you get your permit, a ranger will also give you a printed table of the monthly tides. If your camping plans involve hiking on the beach, you’ll have to time it based on the high and low tides in order to reach a site. It’s also essential to set your tent up above high tide to ensure you and your gear aren’t swept away by rising ocean waters. The higher the better, as rogue waves have been known to hit.
If you’re planning a backpacking/camping trip into the inland wilderness areas of the park, you’ll also need the wilderness permit and a bear canister. With over 600 miles of trails that criss-cross the park, you’ll have more options than it would be possible to explore in a lifetime, but there are some that deliver a truly unforgettable experience.
Seven Lakes Basin and Enchanted Valley offer two of the best backpacking experiences in the entire state.
The High Divide / Seven Lakes Basin is a 19.3-mile loop trail that will reward you with awe-inspiring sights of pristine alpine lakes and breathtaking mountain panoramas. You’ll pass wildflower-filled meadows along with plenty of marmots and mountain goats along the way. Try to tackle it during clear summer nights as you’ll be able to take advantage of unrivaled stargazing as well. As this is a popular route, be sure to get your permit well in advance.
The Enchanted Valley will bring you through what looks like a “Lord of the Rings” kind of fantasy, traveling to the Enchanted Valley of the Quinault Rainforest, taking you deep into the Olympic Mountains with little elevation gain. It winds along the Quinault River through ancient old-growth forest, into prime elk and black bear country. Once you reach the valley, you can relax and watch the deer and bears roam.
Headed to Olympic National Park? We’ve got a guide to the best hikes in Olympic National Park, and a complete Olympic National Park itinerary to help you plan an unforgettable adventure out on the Olympic Peninsula.
Don’t miss our other guides to Washington State’s Amazing National Parks!
- The Best Hikes in Mt. Rainier National Park
- What to Do in Mt. Rainier National Park
- A Complete North Cascades National Park Itinerary
- The Best Hikes in North Cascades National Park
MORE TO EXPLORE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
If you’re planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest, we’ve got you covered with all sorts of super detailed travel guides to our favorite places in Washington and Oregon.
- Seattle: Find the perfect place to stay in Seattle, use our itinerary and complete Seattle city guide to plan your weekend in Seattle (we also have a guide to one day in Seattle for shorter trips), find a new hike near Seattle to tackle, and plan your next day trip or weekend getaway.
- Portland: Get a local’s take on what to do in Portland and where to stay in Portland, plan your weekend itinerary (we also have a guide to one day in Portland for shorter trips), find the best hikes in and around Portland, and discover the best day trip and weekend getaway destinations.
- Road Trips: Explore the best of the Pacific Northwest on a 14 day Pacific Northwest road trip. Plan an amazing Washington road trip or Oregon road trip with our detailed guides, including a couple of itineraries that you can copy/paste.
- The Oregon Coast: Explore the best of the Oregon Coast on a 7 day Oregon Coast road trip. Discover the best hikes on the Oregon Coast, and figure out what to do in Cannon Beach and Astoria.
- Hiking in Oregon: Get a local’s take on the best hikes in Oregon, the most spectacular Oregon waterfalls, and dive deeper into each region with our guides to the best hikes at Mt. Hood, in the Columbia River Gorge, and more.
- Hiking in Washington: Add to your Washington hiking bucket list with our guide to the best hikes in Washington. Then dive into our regional hiking guides to discover the best hikes near Seattle, hiking at Mount Rainier, in Olympic National Park, in the North Cascades, and at Mount Baker.
- Mount Rainier National Park: Plan the perfect trip to Mount Rainier with our guides to the best things to do, the best hikes, and how to plan a perfect day trip to Rainier.
- Olympic National Park: Explore the best that Olympic National Park has to offer – the best hikes, a complete itinerary, and exactly where to stay in Olympic National Park.
- North Cascades National Park: The least visited of the National Parks in Washington, learn how to plan a perfect itinerary, and figure out the best hikes to add to your list.
- Crater Lake National Park: Discover the best that Oregon’s only national park (isn’t that crazy?) has to offer with our guide to planning your Crater Lake itinerary, and our guide to the best hikes in Crater Lake. Plus, a guide to planning an amazing Seattle to Crater Lake road trip.