Getting away from it all with our family on the Olympic Peninsula (Kalaloch Lodge, Washington)


September 26, 2014 by Terumi

A fall Family getaway to the Olympic Peninsula

Every September, the whirlwind of real life catches us up to us after dreamy, long summer days playing at the beach. We get trapped in a spiral of school and sports, lessons and work and I start to feel spectacularly stuck. And this year with the cabin-building project and the kids starting kindergarten, we have even more on our plates. So I always work in a little escape in September for our family to just regroup, refresh and feel better about the world that we live in. This year, I chose Kalaloch Lodge on the Olympic Peninsula. Little did I know it is probably the furthest point on the Olympic Peninsula from our house, because it’s kind of equidistant from Seattle if you drive or take a ferry and it takes about 3-4 hours. But it is so worth the drive. It is gorgeous and everything you could want in a beach getaway, especially if you stay in a cottage and get firewood and have a campfire on the beach.

fire on the beach

And if there’s not a cloud in sight and you can still wear shorts on a September evening?

Ruby Beach

morning at Ruby Beach


making a fire on the beach

The Olympic Peninsula keeps getting written up as one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s practically in our backyard.  I wish I could say I’ve been there all the time, but I can probably count our trips there on my hands.  Sometimes we’ve driven, sometimes we take the ferry, this time we did both.  National Geographic has a driving tour idea if you want tips for going there and we’ve camped near Dungeness Spit and have had a wonderful time there too.

There are ginormous trees-some of the biggest in the world-and we found a bunch between Lake Quinault and Forks.  This one was just called “big cedar tree” and I didn’t realize that it split in two only recently in a storm.

big cedar tree on the Olympic Peninsula

And if you think you might have heard of Forks, it’s because of the Twilight series.  You can even see a familiar famous truck with a “Bella” license plate if you stop at the Forks Visitor Center and Forks is about a 30 minutes drive away from the lodge we stayed at.Kalaloch Lodge

We found Kalaloch Lodge after a weekend of camping in July near lake Quinalt (another peacefully so-beautiful-you-almost-want-to-cry-looking-at-it-unless-you’re-camping-there-on-July-4th-place and I found out it was totally booked so it became a must-do for me.

Kalaloch Lodge

We knew we booked a cottage, so I packed some meals to eat in so we didn’t have to hang out in restaurants with the kids this trip and just totally relax.  They were all simple, like pasta and sauce, quesadillas and soup and even Cup Noodles, and cut up fruit, salads and veggies and dip to make it a little healthier but just easy, comfort foods.  One night we got take out dessert from the Lodge and it was delicious too.

take out dessert at Kalaloch Lodge

We happened to be on the coast at the same time as an ocean coast cleanup, so it was nice to show our kids how we can help out our community.

beach cleanup tent

We found things like rope on the beach and some other yucky things.

beach trash

I found a whole bunch of teeny clear plastic disks that I started filling the bags with until I realized that they weren’t actually plastic.  They were remnants of a jellyfish invasion so I had to dump them out and put them all back.  There is a learning curve even in clean-up.

We spent hours at Ruby Beachruby beach

Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

and Kalaloch Beach right outside our door.running at night at Kalaloch Beach

Kalaloch Beach at nightRuby Beach

On the way home we stopped at Hurricane Ridge for a snack.Driving throught the Olympic Mountainstrying out kites on Hurrican Ridge

driving through the olympic peninsulahurrican ridge

Then we took the ferry back to the city and back to our lives, recharged, relaxed and ready to be home.  It was the perfect fall adventure and it made me adore the Olympic Peninsula even more.


  1. I’m guilty of not visiting the places close to home as often as I’d like. Sounds like you had a lovely time. The coast is gorgeous.

  2. malaysianmeanders says:

    You are so fortunate to leave near such a scenic place. One my favorite nature photos was taken from Kalaloch Lodge. It was our first vacation with the kids without the intent of visiting extended family, and I had been so worried about whether or not it’d be worth the flight and the trouble. Watching the sunset from Kalaloch Lodge brought such peace to my heart and made me realize it was completely worth every bit of hassle. It’s one of my happiest memories from traveling when the kids were tiny.

    • Terumi says:

      That is so cool! This is definitely a beautiful place and I can’t believe you took your first vacation here. It’s neat what starts the journey of traveling with kids and I totally know what you mean about a sunset here just enveloping you in peace. Did you take any pictures? I remember the first few vacations we took I barely snapped any and I wish we had more.

  3. lisaatgonewiththefamily says:

    The Olympic Peninsula looks gorgeous – you are indeed lucky to live so close!

    • Terumi says:

      Totally! I can’t believe we take it for granted and feel like we always need to get away to ‘travel’. It’s amazing what is there to explore practically in our backyard. I hope we go back soon:)

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