Surf and Turf: Must-See Sights on Washington's Peninsula and Coast

From driftwood-strewn beaches and verdant rainforests to 100-year-old lighthouses and historic battleships, there's plenty to see in western Washington.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
Situated on the southwest end of Long Beach Peninsula, Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest functioning lighthouse on the West Coast. It was completed in 1856 and featured a kerosene-powered lens that burned five gallons every night.

Rialto Beach
Massive driftwood logs pile up on the cobbled shores of Rialto Beach. It’s a breezy stroll two miles north to Hole-in-the-Wall, a massive arch naturally carved by the sea, and its adjacent tide pools.

Washington Rainforests
Four temperate rain forests on the Olympic Peninsula—Hoh, Queets, Quinault, and Bogachiel—each offer brilliantly green scenery in spring, gorgeous color in fall and great odds for spotting Roosevelt elk. Follow the well-groomed Hoh River-Five Mile Island trail past old-growth giants draped in moss, chattering chickadees and cascading waterfalls.

Sol Duc Hot Springs
Geothermal-heated mineral water seeps through the earth’s crust at a steamy 100-plus degrees on the peninsula. Soak it in at Sol Duc Hot Springs, which features paved pools that are drained and cleaned nightly. 

USS Turner Joy
Be a sailor for a day aboard the Vietnam War–era destroyer USS Turner Joy, now a floating museum docked at the Bremerton Boardwalk. Tour the crew quarters, descend into the boiler room and climb into the gun towers.

Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge
Spot bald eagles, marbled murrelets, and harbor seals hauled out on shore at the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, just outside Sequim. More than 250 species of birds, plus land and marine mammals, can be found on the sand and cobble beaches, tidal mudflats, and eelgrass beds.

Geographic Milestones
Follow the Cape Flattery trail to the most northwestern point in the contiguous U.S., where viewing platforms let you go right to the brink. Sea lions, puffins and seals scoot by in the waters below. Seek out barren Tatoosh Island, and look 20-some miles south to the westernmost point in the contiguous U.S.: Cape Alava.

—Angela Cabotaje

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