• kari @ pnw kids

Lake Quinault, The Ultimate Guide.

Updated: Jul 26, 2018

Lake Quinault is one of our favorite places in the Olympic National Park in Washington State for kids, especially little kids! Here is our comprehensive review on the Lake Quinualt area for families.


Lake Quinualt

Lake Quinault


Lake Quinault in the Olympic National Park is a mere 2.5 hours from Seattle and 4.5 hours from Portland making it an easy location for families in both metro areas to get to with relative ease. The great thing about Lake Quinault is the juxtaposition between wildness and quaintness.


PROS


1. Many campgrounds to choose from.


Personally, we stayed at Wallaby Campground, which in our opinion is one of the prettiest campgrounds in the immediate area. This particular campground is right on the banks of the river and there are several camping spots that are more ideal then others (the camping spots closest to the entrance on the lake side (see map below) are perched atop a steep hill and in our opinion not good for families with younger kids ( unless you want to be following them around all the time making sure they don’t plunge off) . The camping spots lower down the lake are better because they are lined up with the shore.


2. Lots of Easy Trails that connect the campgrounds and the lake


This one is huge for us because while we love hanging around our campsite we also love to explore the area without having to drive. The lake Quinault area is chalk full of amazing trails, many of which are really easy and lead to all sorts of amazing things like waterfalls, rivers and epic trees.


3. Loads of Rivers


There are several rivers that drain into Lake Qunualt and make for epic play spots. Evidence below.


4. The Lake is shallow in summer


At least out towards 12 feet of the shore (that’s as far as I let my kids go out) and the water was up to below my 6 year old's waist.


5. Awesome Wildlife


We saw a beaver (dream come true!) and otters. So many birds living in the campground too which make morning time a symphony. Additionally, bears and cougars have (very infrequently) visited the campground so make sure your food is properly stored.


I spoke with the wonderful camp host and she explained that it was pretty rare for bears to visit this campground. She also said she spends a lot of time outside in the Olympic National Park and has only run into bears in the deep backcountry. Check out this link in regards to the bears in the park.


6. Amenities close by


This is a savior for families with little kids. If you camp enough with kids, you will have those epically horrible moments where your kids go absolutely bonkers and you need a savior and you need it STAT. That savior can come in the form of the beautiful Lake Quinualt Lodge (where there is a fantastic restaurant), beautiful grounds to explore and a boat rental facility.

There are also several other restaurants on Shore Drive and the CUTEST little general store that sells everything you might ever need ( hot dogs, band aids, fishing gear, books) and has a little burger joint inside.



Lake Quinault at night


CONS


1) Rain


Welp, it’s a rainforest which means…..you guessed it, RAIN. This can be a total downer with little kids so your best bet is to go in summer if rain isn’t you’re jam. That being said, there is something magical about being in a rainforest even if it does rain. We’ve camped during the rain with success but it ain’t for everyone.


2) It’s not 100% wild and it’s popular.


More adventurous families may find this a little too civilized and with too many people. The area, especially in summer, is POPPING! It’s certainly a tourist destination and people come to the area for a variety of reasons, including the lodge, the local museum and to recreate on the lake. If you’re looking for a more remote wilderness experience, this is not for you.


3) There is no cell service.


This is a PRO in my opinion but I’ve definably needed to make a call on camping trips and unfortunately been stuck. Of course, if it’s urgent you can always make your way into town.



Lake Quinault Lodge


Ok, well that wraps our review of Lake Quinualt. Overall we give this an A+ rating for families( especially if you have little kids or babies). You get this awesome feeling of wild camping but with the ability to run easily into town if needed.


Have you been to Lake Quinualt? What did you think of it? Please leave your comments below and we’ll update this post with your insights!


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