Memorial Day weekend represents the official kick off to summer! It’s a three-day weekend to celebrate the return of fun in the sunshine. One of the best places in the Puget Sound region to soak up that much needed vitamin D is along the shores of the Hood Canal. Check out one of the many holiday weekend adventures that await to the north on Highway 101.

Go Hiking

With the Olympic National Forest mere miles away, the Hood Canal has quickly become one of the best places to take a hike. For a family-friendly hike that includes our beloved pups, strap on your boots and hit the Lower Lena Lake Trail. This moderate-grade hike includes views of the lush forest and the crystal waters of Lena Lake. If the kids are staying home and you’re up for a challenge, the Mount Ellinor Trail is one of the state’s hiking gems. The gains are intense on this trail, but the panoramic views at the top are unparalleled.

Go Camping

Along many of these trails, visitors can find an incredible camping experience. For families that want an organized campground experience, be sure to reserve a spot at Skokomish Park. With 60 tent sites and 34 RV hookups, this is a great location to hike the nearby trails and experience watersports on Lake Cushman. For a more off-the-grid experience, nearby Hamma Hamma Campground is scenic and does not require a reservation. Explore the river valley on nearby trails and enjoy the quiet, natural setting.

Narwhal Boats Hood Canal
Take a cruise or dive the depths of the canal during the extended weekend. Photo courtesy: Narwhal Boats

Take Some Outdoor Adventures

The best way to see the Hood Canal is to explore it by boat. Kayaks are a great option for exploration and are available for rent at Alderbrook Waterfront Center. They offer hourly and daily rates on not only kayaks, but also tandem seacycles, hydrobikes, pontoon boats, and electric boats. For a more relaxing option, take a guided cruise with Captain Lee. Attendees can search for wildlife and take in stunning views of the Olympics while the captain is at the wheel.

If the surface of the canal isn’t intriguing enough, put on your mask and dive down deep into the icy waters on a SCUBA excursion. Hoodsport ‘N Dive has all of your necessary equipment available for rent or purchase to explore the depths of the canal. They also have regularly scheduled trainings available for those interested. Mike’s Beach Resort offers beginning and advanced divers access to some of the best SCUBA spots around. Get up close and personal with lingcod, cloud sponge, crab, shrimp, and giant sunflower stars.

Eat and Drink

After all of these active adventures, your stomach will be growling. Eat some of the local seafood delicacies or plan a cookout at your campsite. Either way you will chow down on locally caught seafood that will satisfy every palette. With food there should always be drinks! Sip your way along the Hood Canal Spirits Trail. Featured along the way is The Hardware Distillery, which uses fresh water from the nearby Olympics and ages their barrels with the help of the saltwater from the Hood Canal.

Hood canal oysters
Enjoy some of the local delicacies during the long weekend along the canal. Photo credit: Kaylene Taylor

Enjoy an Event

Organized events are also a highlight of the extended weekend. First, head over to the Union City Festival. Local organizations, Saint Andrew’s House and Harmony Hill have teamed up to celebrate the quaint town with the entire community. Perched high above the waters of the Hood Canal, visitors to this free event can enjoy panoramic views, local food vendors, and live music all weekend long.

Farther north, Brinnon hosts their 25th Annual Shrimpfest. For $5, attendees can enjoy craft booths, food vendors, exhibits, and family fun. Money raised during Shrimpfest has helped community groups including the Brinnon School, Brinnon Volunteer Ambulance & Firefighters Association, and Brinnon and Quilcene Community Centers.

Take an adventurous hike through the Olympics, dive deep into the icy waters, or attend a community event during Memorial Day Weekend to discover the many adventures that await along the Hood Canal.

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