Olympic Peninsula

A Weekend Trip with Kids to the Olympic Peninsula

This summer, Mariah Voutilainen went on a whirlwind weekend trip through the Olympic Peninsula with her husband and two children (ages 3 and 5). In just three days and two nights, the intrepid Seattle-based family visited Sequim, Dungeness Spit, Port Angeles, Joyce, Makah Indian Reservation, Cape Flattery, Elwah Dam and Hurricane Ridge. That’s a total of 339 miles — but who’s counting?

Let’s find out more about Mariah’s trip through the Olympic Peninsula.

Q: What was your favorite town or destination in the Olympic Peninsula? What did you like about it?

My favorite part of the trip was the drive from Sequim all the way to Cape Flattery.  I really liked the small town of Joyce, Washington, with its historic general store museum. The museum was open on Sunday morning, and the woman who worked there knew a lot of history, including facts about the train that used to come through the town, and the people who settled there.  Kids were welcome to touch and try out the artifacts in the museum, including the old-fashioned fire truck and the horse carriage.

The Makah Cultural and Research Center at the Makah Reservation was also very interesting, although not completely finished in some places.  There were also kid-friendly exhibits there, and a very nice gift shop where you could buy a permit to be on the reservation as well as Makah/Native books and paraphernalia, including locally made jewelry.

Cape Flattery was absolutely gorgeous!  The hike through the woods was very easy–it was mostly paneled with wood planks so that you could easily stay on the trail.  There were several look-out points that had amazing views of the water.  It was really amazing to be at the western-most point of the United States.

Q. What can you do with kids in the Olympic Peninsula? What did you enjoy most?

I think the boys enjoyed almost everything, but they really liked the Dream Playground at Erikson Field.  We went there and they had a ball.  Additionally, they thoroughly enjoyed getting amazing ice cream at Buzz, a local coffee shop and ice cream parlour in Sequim.  I’d have to say that the small scoop of ice cream was actually half a pint!

Q. Did you come across any child-friendly restaurants while visiting the Olympic Peninsula?

The two restaurants we ate at (a cafe on the Makah Reservation called Whalers Moon Delight, and a Mexican Restaurant called Fiesta Jalisco in Port Angeles) were both fine, although I wouldn’t say that they were particularly “kid-friendly.”   The food was nothing to write home about, really, at either one.

Q. That’s too bad. Did you like your hotel in the Olympic Peninsula?

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Sequim. It was a pleasant, affordable place to stay, with rooms that looked recently updated.  Most importantly, they included continental breakfast, which at these types of hotels nowadays include either make your own waffles or pancakes (this one had pancakes, which were really fun for the boys to make).  Also included was a pool and hot-tub, which were a good distraction for the boys, who went to swim twice.

Q. Anything else you’d like to say? Why would you recommend a trip to the Olympic Peninsula to families?

Definitely would recommend a trip to Sequim and all the other places we went.  The lavender farms in Sequim are lovely, as is the Dungeness Spit beach.  So much to do there, and it doesn’t take long to do if you plan it correctly!

Lora Shinn writes about family travel, Pacific NW travel, grown-up travel...and travel in general. Her travel-related articles and essays have appeared in Family Fun, Parenting, AFAR, National Geographic Traveler, AAA magazines and Redbook, among others.