Spring Break could not come fast enough this year. With a semester full of difficult classes and long nights of studying, disappearing into the forest of Olympic National Park was the perfect escape. It also happened to be the one year anniversary of when my boyfriend and I went on our first date. We decided to do something special so we booked the perfect Airbnb and set off for a week of adventures.
We arrived in Seattle early Sunday morning after managing to catch our 7:30am flight on time (a true miracle.) This gave us a full day in Seattle to explore. We were greeted by rain and cold wind, a big adjustment for a California girl. This weather was surprisingly refreshing for the two of us, a much needed change from the rainless, warm weather in Southern California. Luckily, we were staying with friends who gave the insiders tour of the city, starting with the famous Ballard Locks. The Locks are a must see for any Seattle vacation. They carry more traffic than any other lock in the US and visitors can watch as the boats enter, see the water rise and lower, and then watch as they sail away. This process prevents the fresh water of the lakes with the sea water of Puget Sound. The rest of the day was spent browsing antique stores, window shopping, and stuffing ourselves full of amazing food.
We had one more day before we planned to drive out to our cabin in Olympic Park, so we planned a busy day in Seattle. We started with a trip to the famous Space Needle. Originally built in 1962 for the World’s Fair, the Space Needle is now an iconic symbol of Seattle, providing gorgeous 360 degree views from its observation deck at 520 ft above the ground.
Later in the day, we took the Seattle Underground Tour, a historical tour of the city under the city. We got to walk the original streets of Seattle before the massive fire that destroyed the city in 1889, prompting the community to build a bigger, healthier city above the one that once existed. The tour guide led us through old, underground tunnels that once were the home to saloons and general stores of Old Seattle. We finished the day with a delicious dinner at Ivar’s with friends, and a walk along the water.
Day 3 of our trip started the adventure in Olympic National Park. We took the ferry and drove out to Port Angeles, stopping along the way to eat lunch and enjoy the beautiful views. We arrived at our Airbnb cabin in the afternoon, just outside of Port Angeles. It was the perfect location to enter the park but also close enough to town for necessary coffee runs and groceries. The upside to having your own cabin is that you can get groceries to cook and pack food for the day. This comes in handy when you’re spending your days in the park, ready to come back to a hot shower and a homemade meal after a long hike.
There are no words or pictures that could fully describe the beauty of Olympic National Park. We decided to hike near Crescent Lake, where there are numerous hikes ranging from easy, family hikes, to uphill hikes for a more challenging experience. The water at Crescent Lake is a clear, blueish-green that sparkles and stretches for miles. We spent the whole day exploring the trails around the lake, only leaving when it started getting dark and rainy. We left wishing that we had one more day to relax in our little cabin but thankful for the time we had in the beautiful park.
We spent our last day in Washington driving along the coast and through the trees back to Seattle. We wanted to stop by the famous Pike Place Market area, the home to the very first Starbucks and countless little shops and cafes. We grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and strolled around the market. We were there in the evening, however if visitors come in the morning, they can watch the fishermen bring in fresh fish to the market.
We made one last stop in the market at the famous gum wall, where thousands of visitors have stuck their contribution piece to the wall, creating a colorful piece of art.
Seattle and Olympic National Park, you were beautiful. It was the trip that I did’t want to end. Between the fun of the city life and beauty and peacefulness of the park, we had the perfect combination for an exciting and relaxing vacation. Spring Break 2016 is one to remember. We’ll be back!