The amazing thing about the West Coast is that it is still mostly wild, open, and astoundingly beautiful country, where you can drive for miles and miles and have the scenery all to yourself.
One of the most idyllic spots in the entire Pacific Northwest, the fjord-like Lake Crescent, over 8 miles long and some 625 feet deep, lies right alongside two-lane US-101, just 18 miles west of Port Angeles. The placid surface reflects the clouds and surrounding peaks, including 4,537-foot Mount Storm King. To appreciate the tranquil beauty, rent a rowboat from the Lake Crescent Lodge and float around under your own steam. Starting from the lodge, a popular mile-long hike follows a well-maintained nature trail up to the delicate cascade of 90-foot Marymere Falls, while along the north shore an abandoned railroad grade is open to hikers and mountain bikers.
Incomparably situated along US-101 on the lake’s southeast shore, Lake Crescent Lodge (360/928-3211, open May-Jan. only, except for the Roosevelt Fireplace Cottages open on the weekends, $156 and up) was originally built in 1916 and has been hosting visitors ever since. Fairly rustic rooms are available in the old lodge, which also has a cozy dining room. Other accommodations are available in the adjacent cabins and motel, though the whole place is booked solid on summer weekends, so reserve as soon as you can. Another nice place to stay is the Log Cabin Resort (360/928-3325 or 866/574-2708, camping from $25, rooms $125 and up), three miles north of US-101 on the “sunny northeast shore,” with lodge rooms and waterfront A-frame cabins.
In the forested hills above US-101, Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd., 866/476-5382, $170 and up) has family-friendly cabins and a restaurant set around a swimming pool and natural hot spring (around $13 for non-guests).
Lake Crescent Lodge (416 Lake Crescent Rd.)
Log Cabin Resort (3183 E Beach Rd.)
Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (12076 Sol Duc Hot Springs Rd.)