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My 3-Day Getaway to The Olympic Peninsula

Staying at Lake Quinault Lodge was a quick trip to refresh the soul.

By: Alexis Martin + Save to a List

Recently, I was invited to stay at Lake Quinault Lodge, a hotel built in the Quinault Rainforest on the land of the Coast Salish and Quinault tribes. The hotel was built for the Olson family in 1903. The Olson’s sold their share to the Seaman family in 1921. The hotel burned down in 1924, but the boathouse, also known as The Annex, was not harmed.

A lumberman named Ralph Emmerson from Hoquiam, Washington funded the hotel rebuild that was completed in August of 1926. In 1988, Emmerson sold the hotel to the Aramark Corporation that still owns it today.

The lodge is located in Olympic National Forest just outside Olympic National Park, which offers many breathtaking landscapes and dream-like coastal scenes. The nearby Hoh Rainforest is lush with moss-covered trails and countless waterfalls. We can't forget about glorious Hurricane Ridge, where you can peak into the amazing alpine wonders of Washington's mountains.

Day 1

The adventure starts once your GPS leads you off Highway 101. The two-lane road winds through wetlands and small towns in Grays Harbor County. 

You can hold your breath driving through the tiny, quaint streets full of mom and pop shops. You'll spot the occasional porch cat or livestock guardian dog keeping watch over fields of farm animals.

Once you’ve entered Olympic National Park, you are so close to the lodge! Cell phone service drops and that’s when you know you are about to see the property for the first time.

Views of the lodge from The Annex, formerly used as a boathouse.

Instead of staying in the main building, I stayed in one of the 8 rooms in the boathouse. The first floor of this building are pet-friendly, so be sure to ask if you're planning on bringing a furry friend! One of the rooms is in the center of the structure with a second floor offering 360-degree views of the surrounding property. It was beautiful! 

The wrap-around deck on The Annex.

My cozy room had a big bed and walk-in shower. I felt especially welcome when I found the dog bed in the living room awaiting my dogs to snuggle. Thank you, front desk and staff for thinking of our fur babes!

They provided a bed for humans and one for fur friends.
Don't forget to bring toys from home!

We settled in, fed the dogs, and covered the couch with blankets from home. Then, we started exploring the property by taking the short stroll to the lake. The sun was radiating warmth as it set over the hills. There are chairs along the shore where you can sit and enjoy the sounds of the waves hitting the shore. 

Visit the Roosevelt Room Restaurant for an adult beverage of your choice. Ask the friendly wait staff about their favorite area hikes and vistas! Bring your drink down to the lake and enjoy some solitude before it's time to wind down and get some rest for the early morning adventure awaiting you the next day.

The Roosevelt Room Restaurant is located in the main building.
The "Great Room."

Day 2

Waking up on the second day, I had high hopes of a dreamy sunrise over the hills overlooking the lake. The alarm rang at 5:30 a.m. and I peeked out the window, half asleep. Unfortunately, the weather was as is to be expected in this region: a good old PNW downpour. Secretly, it was nice to hear the rain because it meant I got to shut my eyes for a couple more hours.

A boat launch on Lake Quinault.
Waiting for the rain to break.

Growing up in Washington, we would often visit the Olympic Peninsula to explore the beaches and spy on Canada from Neah Bay. As a kid, I did not fully appreciate the PNW or the tiny towns my parents would take us to visit. 

Fast forward to the age of 33 and I jumped at the opportunity to go stay in my old stomping grounds. I experienced nostalgia as the GPS took me down old roads I used to drive and through my old town.

Ruby Beach, Washington State

When I woke up on day two, I already had a destination in mind: Ruby Beach. I wanted to explore it for years but just never got around to it. It's known for majestic rock formations jutting out of the Pacific Ocean. 

You don’t need a pass to park here, but I always carry my Northwest Forest pass or Washington State Parks pass just in case. The short walk down to the water is ADA accessible and all ages can use it. The beach is dog-friendly for pups on leashes.

Once you get down to the beach, it becomes rocky, and you must climb over piles of driftwood at times. The main sea stack visible in front is called Abbey Island. At low tide, you can walk the path to the structure and explore the tide pools.

Watch for the alien features of starfish and sea anemones in the water! Make sure you don’t disturb the wildlife by touching them or littering.

Once we'd had our fill of exploring, I started the trek back to the car with the dogs. The weather was sunny and warm, and everybody was in a great mood. It was time for food. There are not many options on the way back to the lodge, but I found a delicious pizza place that did not disappoint.

Once back at the hotel, I fed the dogs. It was time for me to head into the Great Room to order dinner.

Unique detail on the Great Room ceiling.
The Great Room piano.

It was delightful sitting in the Great Room while looking out into the courtyard and  reminiscing on this fast trip. I got to adventure in the PNW where I grew up and bring my dogs to explore the area, but going home the next day would be bittersweet, as I always wish I had more time. Next time, I must drive the 31-mile loop around the lake!

Views of the boat rentals.

Day 3

The trek back home to Oregon was bittersweet. I was excited to lay in the comfort of my bed, yet I didn’t want to leave. The Lake Quinault Lodge getaway was refreshing and made me nostalgic for living in the area. 

Reminiscing about the trip.

On my way out, I took that winding road back to my little town. I continued down memory lane, later making my way back to the highway that would take me home back to Oregon.

I cannot wait to return to Lake Quinault Lodge.



The courtyard at Lake Quinault Lodge.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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