THE DESTINATION: Nestled between Puget Sound and the foothills of the Olympic Mountains, Hood Canal provides a way for visitors to get in touch with nature. And the towns and villages that dot the 101 along the shoreline offer plenty of character and charm to make it worth the drive.
As the only fjord in the lower 48 states, the area serves as one of the gateways into the Olympic National Forest and a popular spot for adventure both in, on, and around the water.
WHERE TO STAY: Depending on your sense of adventure, the Hood Canal area has plenty of options for the backpacker, car camper, or cabin dweller.
For backpack camping, tourism coordinator for Mason County Rachel Hansen recommends checking out Lena Lake Campground. This spot has 29 hike-in sites, meaning you’ll have to walk 3.5-ish miles to get there. The primitive camping area has two solar-polar toilets, so BYOTP (Bring Your Own Toilet Paper). And don’t forget to practice Leave No Trace principles.
For car campers, the Lake Cushman area has a number of options ready to offer you easy access to paddling, fishing, hiking, — and your vehicle. Skokomish Park Lake Cushman features nine miles of mountain bike-friendly trails, Staircase Campground is a convenient place to stay to access nearby trails in Olympic National Park, and Big Creek Campground has plenty of group camping options.
For non-campers, Airbnb and other booking sites offer great options as well. For something a little quirkier, check out Robin Hood Village Resort. The playful boutique lodge was built in 1934 by the Hollywood set designer for the original “Robin Hood” movie.
HOW TO CHECK IT OUT: If you don’t have a car or camping gear, ReachNow has you covered. They have partnered with Xscape Pod, a company that offers tents, sleeping bags, cooking gear — basically everything except a bag of marshmallows — to make your camping experience smooth. All ReachNow BMWs come with a pass for free entry into Washington and Oregon State Parks.
For more ideas on camping and other trip planning ideas in the Hood Canal area, check out ExploreHoodCanal.com.