Planning a Visit to Olympic National Park


Back in late September, I was off for a conference in “lovely” Bremerton.  The fall conference that is put on by one of the professional associations I belong to alternates between beautiful Chelan (located on a lake in wine country), and not quite so beautiful Bremerton, home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and the Bremerton Annex of the Naval Base Kitsap.  In short, it’s a Navy town.  Bremerton is located right on the Puget Sound, which makes for some beautiful views, but it has been largely an industrial center and it has struggled in recent years.

The downtown area right near the Convention Center has gentrified in recent years, but get out of the immediate vicinity (and by immediate, I mean 2 or 3 blocks) you see the evidence of a community that has had its share of difficulty.  There are a ton of empty buildings and ramshackle homes in and right outside of downtown.

I call these the Volcano Fountains because they erupt with water at periodic intervals - they are loud and scare me!  They are right near the ferry dock in downtown Bremerton.

I call these the Volcano Fountains because they erupt with water at periodic intervals – they are loud and always startle me! They are right near the ferry dock in downtown Bremerton – an example of the revitalization in the downtown core.

Jon and I took a long weekend around my conference last year and spent a few days exploring Chelan, and I asked him if he would like to do the same this year.  I got a firm and resounding “NO!”, until I explained that we didn’t have to STAY in Bremerton…  Then you could see the wheels start to turn in Jon’s brain.  We thought about places on the Olympic Peninsula where we could have a nice weekend, and thought no further than Olympic National Park.  The plan was hatched…

The Plan:

  • Leave Bremerton right after the conference wrapped up at noon on Friday (well, right after getting some lunch…)
  • Head up to the upper end of the Olympic Peninsula, to our lodging in Sequim
  • Tour Olympic National Park – 3 spots in particular: Hurricane Ridge (outside of Port Angeles), the Hoh Rain Forest (30 minutes south of Forks, Washington), and Rialto Beach
  • Other potential itinerary items (depending on time and weather): Dungeness Spit and the New Dungeness Lighthouse, the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, wineries, and some of the waterfalls in Olympic National Park

However, as we got closer to the weekend, the forecast called for rain.  How much would we be able to see and do?  Stay tuned!

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3 thoughts on “Planning a Visit to Olympic National Park

  1. My friends have a cabin west of Bremerton, on the Hood River Canal. It’s a beautiful area…but you have to get away from Bremerton to appreciate it. 🙂

  2. Maybe I’m strange, but now I’m curious about the struggling industrial center with empty buildings and ramshackle homes. Probably not an area you want to be wandering in, taking photos, but I think that it would be interesting.

    • I don’t think you are strange for being curious – but I didn’t end up taking any photos. The downtown core, that isn’t immediately next to the convention center, isn’t dangerous or sketchy, but just empty. It reminds me a lot of my hometown after the mall was built on the outskirts, and all the businesses moved away. It is just block after block of mostly empty buildings.

      Then you move a few more blocks out, and you have older homes in an area that has not been kept up or gentrified. Cars parked on blocks, peeling paint, and some people who do make you a bit nervous wandering around or drinking beer on the porch. A friend and I took a walk and got into this area, and quickly turned around because we were uncomfortable (plus it was getting dark). I might not have worried so much had I been with a man, but it didn’t seem like a safe place for two women. Certainly not to the level of Detroit, but more derelict than I was expecting for what is essentially a pretty small city (less than 40,000 people).

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