Olympic National Park is a massive park that dominates Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. It encompasses a variety of ecosystems from beaches to glaciers to rare temperate rainforests. If the idea of sleeping in the rainforest at the edge of a perfectly blue lake sounds like something your family would like to experience, then Lake Quinault Lodge is a great place to call home base.
We visited Lake Quinault Lodge on a warm sunny day in early July- not exactly the weather one would expect in a normally very cool, very damp place. Built in 1926, the lodge is built in the grand style that many national parks from that era were built in with rustic elegance and incredible scenery. My aunt commented on the fact that the place has a “Dirty Dancing” Catskills resort in the early 1960s vibe and I have to agree 100%. It definitely felt like the type of resort that brings families back year after year.
The only way to describe the expansive lawn which sits behind the main lodge and leads down the lakefront is grand. Pairs of Adirondack chairs dot the grass, inviting couples to sit down for a evening glass of wine while the children play horseshoes, run around a charming white gazebo, or skip rocks into the lake.
Down at the lake, families can rent kayaks or small fishing boats (word has it that the lake is filled with fish!), swim in a roped off beach area, or just enjoy the views form brightly colored chairs. The lodge offers boat tours of the lake which offer the opportunity to explore the lake and spot wildlife but the tours will be canceled if the wind kicks up and the water gets choppy. How do I know this? We had scheduled an evening boat tour which ended up being canceled. The water was not exactly my definition of choppy- more like slight waves, but I guess that’s all it takes to cancel a boat ride in what appeared to be a flat-bottomed patio boat. I was assured by the helpful resort employee that the morning boat cruise is almost never canceled because the water is like glass so if you would like to take a tour, morning might be the best time to take it.
There are several different lodging options at Lake Quinault Lodge, including Main Lodge rooms, contemporary Lakeside rooms, romantic Fireplace rooms, and pet-friendly Boathouse rooms. We stayed in the Boathouse (though our only pets were my two rambunctious four-year-olds) and found the rooms to be just fine- nothing fancy, but clean and comfortable with a charming wrap-around porch and idyllic views of the lake. There is no wifi in the rooms and tv’s are non-existent in the boathouse, but trust me, you won’t miss either. The only entertainment you need is surrounding the resort. Between the lake, wonderful hiking trails, indoor pool, game room, and a lawn perfect for stargazing on clear nights, your family will never find a moment of boredom.
There is a dining room at the lodge, the Roosevelt Dining Room, named for President Franklin Roosevelt who visited the lodge in 1937. It definitely has a historic atmosphere and the lunch that we ate there was tasty and reasonably priced considering the location. Adult lunch entrées run around $12.00 and children’s meals were $7.00 and included a drink and ice cream. FYI- the children’s menu is the same across the board at all Olympic National Park dining rooms at both lunch and dinner. During lunch I often had my preschoolers split the kid’s meal because of their inability to sit still long enough to eat the whole thing. I enjoyed the Northwest Po’Boy which was filled with fried oysters.
Bottomline: If you want to stay in a rainforest in Olympic National Park and aren’t up for camping in often unreliable weather, this is the place to stay. The setting is picture perfect and the rainforest is stunning.
Disclosure: I received a discounted media rate which was subsidized by the Olympic CVB. Neither the CVB nor the National Park Service requested that I express any particular opinion and all opinions are always my own.