On our recent visit to Seattle to see family, we packed the grands in the van and set out for the Olympic Peninsula to the northwest. Taking the most direct route ("Are we there yet?"), we boarded a ferry in Seattle and took the 35 minute ride across to Bainbridge Island.
Bainbridge Island would have been a nice day trip as well with all the different shops that line the main street (and once the new paving is done, it will be easy to navigate). We shopped a bit and then stopped for lunch at Cafe Nola. After indulging in their specialty, the Dungeness Crab Melt, sampling some delicious mussels, and sharing some truffel fries (fries seasoned with truffel oil), we set out for the drive to Olympic National Park.
Our son stopped at the information center when we arrived about an hour later and purchased a day pass for the park. (Passes are also necessary for the state park as well.) Our first destination was the overlook on Mount Walker about 2800 feet up and accessible by one very long, narrow winding road (or a trail if you want to hike straight up 2.000 feet). Two options allow for a view to the south and north. To the south you get a fantastic eagle's view of the city. On a really clear day it is probably spectacular. The north view is more mountains and below lush green countryside of the rainforest and glimpses of Puget Sound.
A few miles south of Quilcene we parked and hiked the short trail to Falls View Falls. The kids were especially impressed with this as we watchen the water tumble over the smoothly warn path it has made in the rock wall. There are many waterfalls in the park. This was probably one of the most easily accessible. A waterfall trail is available online if you are ambitious and looking for a good hike.
Nest we drove to Dosewallips State Park to walk out to the beach where people are allowed to dig for clams and oysters. There are rules and regulations one of which is that you must shuck the oysters there on the beach and leave the shells. This made for great scavenging for the kids who picked up large shells and dug with them and used them to try to catch small crabs in the water.
While a day is certainly not enough to explore all this region has to offer, our day was filled with spectacular views, great fresh air and even the sun which sometimes doesn't cooperate in the Seattle area. Hopefully we will have the opportunity to return sometime and take the 101 highway all the way around the park.