1. Seattle: Olympic National Park Small-Group Tour
The Olympic Peninsula is home to a number of Northwest ecosystems. You'll find remote beaches littered with tide-scoured cedar logs alongside the country’s oldest forests and one of the state’s most dramatic mountain ranges. It's a true feast for the senses. Start the morning with a ferry ride through the waterways of Puget Sound to Bainbridge Island. Connect with the Olympic Peninsula via the Kitsap Peninsula and Hood Canal Bridge, and once there, follow your guide on a naturalist experience best suited to the time of year and conditions of the day. Drive up to Hurricane Ridge (weather permitting), a mountain citadel that puts you at the edge of the Park’s exceptionally jagged peaks. Take in a superb 360-degree view from the summit that encompasses the surrounding mountains, the Strait of Juan da Fuca, and San Juan Islands. The open meadows are ideal for wildlife viewing – be on the lookout for Olympic marmots, black-tailed deer, and even black bears. Embark on guided nature walks or snowshoes to learn more about the sub-alpine ecosystems. Explore Lake Crescent. Flanked by trails full of history and mysterious tales, its placid shores and perfect placement in the midst of the undulating Olympic foothills serve as an instant source of relaxation. Take to the trails to experience the old-growth forests of Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock trees, venturing to the misty Marymere Falls if time allows. On days when the weather closes access to Hurricane Ridge, visit the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The Dungeness sand spit hooks out into the strait, and in the spring and fall, thousands of waterfowl and shorebirds descend on the shallow waters protected by the spit.