Camping on the Olympic Peninsula
We spent two adventure filled weeks dry camping on the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington. It was early June, and the weather was spectacular. We were prepared for that famous PNW rain and weren’t going to let it stop us from enjoying all that the Olympic Peninsula has to offer, but we were extra happy campers thanks to beautiful weather the majority of the time.
During our stay, we camped in three locations. This allowed us easy access to everything the OP has to offer. Each spot was dry camping (aka boondocking) which meant we weren’t hooked up to water, sewer, or electricity. We were able to easily find places along the way to refill water and dump tanks. We did pull out the generator, but thanks to the sunny weather, we were also able to use our solar panels. In fact, at our first stop on the coast, we didn’t have to use the generator at all!
We loved everything about our time camping on the Olympic Peninsula. From the campsites we stayed in, to exploring Olympic National Park. Here is our guide to RV camping on the Olympic Peninsula
If there is one thing you’ll need for staying and playing on the Olympic Peninsula, it is a Discover Pass. Washington’s Discover Pass gives you access to millions of acres of state recreation lands, including state parks and primitive recreation sites for only $30 (good for a year). We used this pass for every place we camped and several places we played. Camping and exploring couldn’t have been possible without one! We picked ours up at the Fork’s Outfitters in Forks, WA but there are several places they can be found. You can even order it ahead of time and have it mailed to you.
Hwy 101 Forks, WA 98331
GPS: 47.5663, -124.3612
First come, first served
55 total sites
Max length: 35 ft.
Picnic table, firepit, flush toilets
Our first few days RVing on the Olympic Peninsula were spent at South Beach Campground. It’s located in the Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park. It is right on the beach and gets you about as close to the Pacific coast as you can get. There are two tiers, one right on the bluff and one that sits back a bit. Bluff side campsites are prime real estate, but not totally doable with a big rig like our 35 ft. fifth wheel. We still enjoyed every second of the view (especially sunsets) and the sound of the waves crashing just outside our door. This campground is considered overflow for the Kalaloch campground, but after checking that one out too, we honestly prefer South Beach and would choose that one again any day.
Verizon and AT&T service both worked without a hitch. There is no tree coverage, and the sun was out, so we were able to rely on our solar panels the entire time. We dumped and refilled water at the Kalaloch campground just 3.5 miles up the 101. There isn’t a lot in the way of grocery shopping close by, but the Kalaloch Mercantile has necessities like marshmallows and beer if you’re in a pinch!
5698 Upper Hoh Rd. Forks, WA 9833
GPS: 47.818, -124.172
First come, first served
9 total sites
No nightly charge but Discover Pass required
Max length: 35 ft.
Picnic table, firepit, pit toilet
This is the first stop where our Discover Pass was a necessity. The campground offers no thrills but easy access to the Hoh Rain Forest and sits in the lush forest just across the street from the Hoh River. Even though it’s only nine campsites, we were practically the only ones there when we showed up on a Saturday in June. The setting was beautiful, and the location was perfect!
We had full service on Verizon and AT&T. We used the dump and water station at Bogachiel State Park just south of Forks after our stay at Minnie Peterson. Grocery shopping was done in Forks, which is about 12 miles away.
Forest road 29, dry camping
GPS: 48.0489, -124.1113
Discover Pass required
This was our first time doing extensive boondocking. We stayed off this forest road north of Forks for a week and were extremely happy with the spot. We had no issues navigating the road or getting into the spot with our 35ft. fifth wheel. The spot is a large clearing surrounded by thick forest. The clearing allowed for sunlight for our solar panels. While there is room for two or three rigs, we only had a neighbor for one of our seven nights there in June. The location is ideal for exploring the north and west sides of the Peninsula.
We got great AT&T and Verizon service at this remote camping spot on the Olympic Peninsula. Forks is about 22 miles south, and that’s where we did our big grocery store run. We used the dump station just up the 101 at the Fairholme Campground at Lake Crescent.
Things to Do
We visited Ruby Beach while staying at South Beach Campground. Ruby Beach is located in the Kalaloch area of Olympic National Park on the southwest coast of the Peninsula. The beach is rugged, wild, and exactly what you’d expect from a beach in the PNW. We packed a lunch and spent a beautiful sunny day exploring the beach. Between the oversized tide pools, rock formations (sea stacks), creek, and driftwood, there is a ton of fun to be had!
The Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park was only 13 miles from our campsite at Minnie Peterson Campground. We spent two days exploring this beautiful temperate rainforest. Our first day at the Hoh Rain Forest was spent checking out the visitor center, where we learned the area can see up to 170 inches of rain each year, followed by a hike through the Hall of Mosses. The mile long loop took us through lush forest filled with beautiful moss covered trees. I enjoyed the beauty of it all while the kids enjoyed large trees to play in. It’s an excellent hike for the whole family.
Our second day at the Hoh Rain Forest took us on a hike on the Spruce Nature Trail. This hike goes along the absolutely gorgeous Hoh River, so I was happy to have Ross there with me to watch the kids as they threw rocks in the river. This is another short, family friendly hike at only about 1.5 miles. Piece of advice: take the unmarked side trail down to the river for the best river access and views. The side trail is just past where the main trail leaves the forest and opens up to the river valley.
We drove out to Cape Flattery from our boondocking spot north of Forks. Cape Flattery is the northwesternmost point in the contiguous US. It overlooks where the Pacific Ocean meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. To reach the end of the cape, there is a 1.2 mile out and back hike. The views from Cape Flattery are stunning. We were there on a foggy day, and the moody weather made the views seem magical and spooky at the same time. It was amazing!
Cape Flattery is located on the Makah Tribe Reservation. A Makah Recreation Pass is required to park at the trailhead. We picked one up in Neah Bay for $10 before driving to the Cape.
This family friendly hike is 1.5 miles round trip and takes you out to the raging Sol Duc waterfall. The trail takes you through a beautiful old growth forest and ends at a bridge and viewing area over the falls. Just 40 minutes west of Port Angeles, the Sol Duc is accessed by turning off Highway 101 onto the Sol Duc Road.
For a nice quiet place to have a snack break and relax by the river, go past the downed tree at the top of the viewing area to access the river above the falls. There are a few nice rocky areas to splash in the water and take in the beauty.
Visiting this alpine lake was not on our list of things to do. We stumbled upon it when parking to visit Marymere Falls, and we ended up hanging out at the lake twice! The lake is about 18 miles west of Port Angeles and just north of our boondocking campsite. The pristine waters of this deep, glacially carved lake make it an ideal destination for those in search of natural beauty.
We spent some time on the Lake Crescent Pier after the hike to the falls, but our favorite time at the lake was spent at the public beach behind the Fairholme General Store where we picnicked and swam in the cool water.
Another must see waterfall on the Olympic Peninsula is Marymere Falls. This hike is 1.7 miles out and back and is easy enough for all skill levels. The trail gets a little steep at the end, but well worth the incline to get a close look at the falls. The rocky beach just below the bridge to the falls makes for a great place to rest and play in the river.
We had a blast camping and exploring on the Olympic Peninsula. We did a lot during our two week stay, but there is still a ton we’d love to see and do one day. Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below, and we will do our best to answer. Have you had the pleasure of visiting the OP? Share your favorite camping spots and destinations!