Planning a trip to America’s national parks usually involves camping or staying in a historic lodge. Olympic National Park is no exception, with countless campgrounds, lodges and resorts to choose from. To narrow down the options, we’ve rounded up five of the most notable properties in the Olympics. Most of these historic properties date back to the early 1900s. Some were burnt down and rebuilt over the years; others have stood the test of time. All of them are worth seeking out for an unforgettable trip to the Olympic Peninsula.
Whether you’re seeking lakeside lodging, an ocean beach cabin, or a hot springs resort in the forest, we’ve got you covered. Nearly all of these properties are located within Olympic National Park — with the exception of Lake Quinault Lodge, which is in the national forest. Some are open year-round and others close seasonally. Check each property’s website for details. Happy exploring!
Lake Crescent Lodging
At 9 miles long, Lake Crescent is the largest lake in the Olympic Mountains. This mostly undeveloped lake is a pristine drive-up destination. Park here for a lunch break at least, but stay for a night or two and you’ll never want to leave. Lake Crescent is the perfect basecamp for exploring nearby hikes including Spruce Railroad Trail, Marymere Falls, and Mount Storm King.
Lake Crescent Lodge is the obvious choice for those who want to stay in a historic lodge on the lakeshore. Built in 1915, the century-old lodge provides a roaring fireplace in the lobby, a sunroom overlooking the lake, and a variety of guestrooms from cozy lodge digs to cottages and cabins. Sipping coffee on the porch — or in one of the lodge’s beach Adirondack chairs — is sublime. If you want to dine and sleep comfortably at Lake Cresent, the lodge is your best bet.
Located on Lake Crescent’s north shore (the so-called “sunny side”), Log Cabin Resort offers a variety of cabins and chalets. Originally the site of the Log Cabin Hotel (built in 1895), Log Cabin Resort was rebuilt in the 1950’s after the hotel burnt down. Today you can stay in a no-frills camper cabin (no plumbing!), cozy lodge rooms, lakeside chalets, or glamping-approved kitchenette cabins. Great for families and those seeking a more laid-back getaway, these cabins are just far enough off the beaten path to feel rusticly remote. Spend your time here fishing, paddling, and simply gazing at the lake and Olympic Mountain views.
Ocean Beach Lodging
Ahh, the ocean beaches. Many venture to the Olympics to experience mountains and rainforests, but nothing compares to the vastness of the Pacific Ocean. If you want to wake up by the beach, Kalaloch Lodge is a classic retreat. Originally built in 1925, Becker’s Cabin Camp began as a collection of 9 cabins, before an expansion in 1931 following the completion of Highway 101. Today, Kalaloch Lodge welcomes travelers with a variety of lodge rooms and spacious cabins — all perched on a bluff overlooking the sandy beach below.
Nearby, you can camp at Kalaloch. These sites fill up fast each summer, so book months in advance. The Kalaloch area is relatively undeveloped, but there are plenty of outdoor destinations nearby. Explore Ruby Beach to the north (12 minutes drive from the lodge), or take a trip into the Hoh Rain Forest (1 hour from Kalaloch).
Located just outside Olympic National Park, Lake Quinault Lodge dates back to 1926. Designed by Robert Reamer (architect of the storied Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park), the lodge overlooks a grand lawn that slopes down to the shores of Lake Quinault. Warm up by the crackling fireplace with a book, dine at the storied Roosevelt Dining Room, or take to the lake in summertime for water adventures.
With Quinault as your homebase, you can explore the southwest corner of Olympic National Park and the Quinault Rain Forest. Check out our story, Riding the Lake Quinault Bike Loop, for a deeper dive into this scenic area.
Want to stay next to a river deep in the forest? Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort may be the answer, especially if it’s mineral soaking pools you seek. Stay in a comfy cabin in the woods after a day of hiking — the Sol Duc area is a popular trail hub with access to Sol Duc Falls, Lovers Lane, and backpacking in the Seven Lakes Basin. A resort was first built here in 1912 and was rebuilt after being destroyed by fire.
When visiting the Olympic Peninsula, please follow all recommended social distancing and mask guidelines. Be respectful of the community and recreate responsibly so we can all continue to enjoy the area!
For more inspiration in the Olympics, check out our Must-See Spots on the Olympic Peninsula.
Log Cabin Resort and Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort photos courtesy of Aramark. Additional photos by the author.