There is something incredible about picnicking along the Hood Canal region of the Olympic Peninsula. Far from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoying a lunch or dinner surrounded by wilderness, mountains and stunning waterways is a surefire way to have an awesome day. What makes a picnic around the Hood Canal so unique is that they are full of incredible views and experiences perfect for every member of your family.
Hood Canal is the only fjord in the contiguous United States and is also one of the most beautiful large bodies of water on the west coast. If you haven’t explored the region, load up your picnic basket, grab a blanket to sit on and enjoy spending a day at these seven amazing picnic areas.
Potlatch State Park
Located 32 miles from downtown Olympia, Potlatch State Park is a classic picnic destination along the shores of Hood Canal. Offering majestic views of the deep blue waters, as well as numerous picnic tables and areas of grass to throw down a blanket, those who enjoy a day here will be captivated by the beauty of the region. At Potlatch, eagles will soar overhead, as shorebirds and blue herons swim in the water. Don’t be surprised to see seals popping up and gazing at your picnic as you enjoy the views up and down this gorgeous fjord.
Lake Cushman Overlook
Six miles form Hoodsport and Highway 101, the Lake Cushman overlook is quickly becoming a favorite picnic spot to gaze at the Olympic Mountains and the lake. Located high on the hill, this picnic area is a must-stop destination for those hoping to see the stunning terrain of the southeastern Olympic. With incredible views of Mount Rose, Mount Ellinor, Mount Washington and the start of Lake Cushman, this is a classic view of a stunning region. The area seems small, with just a few picnic areas, but the views more than make up for the lack of amenities.
If you have ever wanted to have a picnic surrounded by the majestic beauty of Olympic National Park, the Staircase region is absolutely perfect for you. Highlighted by giant forests, mossy trees and a scenic river, Staircase is the ideal picnic destination for those who want to be in wilderness. Staircase has a few picnic areas close to the parking area and right along the North Fork of the Skokomish River, giving you incredible views of one of America’s favorite National Parks. Eagles and osprey will fly overhead, while herds of elk and a few deer may be visible from your picnic area.
Dosewallips State Park
Near the tiny town of Brinnon, Dosewallips State Park sits at the confluence of Hood Canal and the Dosewallips River. Home to a roaming herd of elk, trees filled with eagles and views of the majestic Olympic mountain, this state park is a perfect family picnic area right along Highway 101. Complete with a handful of picnic areas, as well as dozens of small trails leading to the shores of the river, a picnic at Dosewallips is about as tranquil an experience as you can get. Dosewallips State Park has six sheltered picnic areas, so even a rainy day can be full of outdoor adventures.
Rocky Brook Falls
Just a few short miles from the stunning views at Dosewallips State Park, Rocky Brook Falls is another classic gem on the Olympic Peninsula. As tumbling waters cascade down a rocky embankment, enjoy sitting along the rocks and boulders while eating at this stunning waterfall. Rocky Brook is located 200 yards from a small parking area but is worth the extremely short walk. Bring a towel, take a dip in the creek and enjoy the life-force of the Pacific Northwest as it tumbles down 229 feet. This is one of the best and easiest-to-reach waterfalls on the Olympic Peninsula and needs to be seen.
Seal Rock Campground
Located directly above the shores of Hood Canal, Seal Rock offers a beautiful view of Hood Canal while still offering relative solitude from the normal crowded hotspots along Highway 101. Access to the beach is a short trek from the parking area to the south of the campground, offering incredible views of Hood Canal. As madrona trees droop overhead, a picnic along the rocky beaches at Seal Rock are memorable, beautiful and inspiring. Seal Rock isn’t for everyone, but if you want a unique view of the region in a lesser-listed area, this is the picnic destination for you.
If you haven’t enjoyed the sights of the Pacific Northwest from the top of Mount Walker, you are missing out on one of the most stunning views in the region. Reached by either a hike or driving up the forest service road to the top of Mount Walker, those who spend some time will enjoy sweeping views at two incredible picnic areas: The first offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains, letting you sit and enjoy the rugged terrain off in the distance. The other viewpoint gives one of the most memorable views of Seattle and Mount Rainier that you can see from your car. Mount Walker has a few picnic tables, and the best viewpoints are just a short walk from the restrooms and parking areas. If you need a panoramic wonderland as a picnic destination, Mount Walker will blow you away with beauty.