Quinault Lake Lodge, Quinault, WASHINGTON (3 days/2 nights/Family of 4)- $368

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Quinault Lake Lodge

One of the most beautiful, peaceful and wet locations in Washington state is right here in Quinault.  Quinault is located on the south side of the Olympic Mountains, close to the mountains, the rain forests and even the ocean.  My husband and I came to the Lake Quinault Lodge for our honey moon and a few years later brought our little ones to enjoy the beauty.  Recently, I went with two of my girlfriends and we explored the forests looking for the Worlds Largest Spruce Tree and Bigfoot.  Trips like this don’t have to be expensive.  This is how we did it on a budget!

Where: Lake Quinualt Lodge, Quinault, WA

When: Fall and Winter months

Cost Breakdown: $79/night deal (Check here for current deals!) x2 + $60 for gas + $150 for food = $368 (plus tax) for 3 days, 2 nights for a family of four (or a group of 3 girls!)

Tricks and Tips: To get these awesome deals for the lodge, you should enter in your email here to get those email deals (look at the very top).  Aramark (company that owns some lodges and resorts on the Olympic Mountains) sends out exclusive deals to email subscribers.  This is how we got this super cheap deal to stay for under $100 at the lodge.  In the summer, the average cost of one night is over $200!  For gas, my usual go to is the Safeway gas rewards and the Fred Meyers gas rewards.  You can earn up to $1 off per gallon.  Thats a great savings! Food is dependent on what your family (or gal pals) like to eat and where you shop.  As a rule, I always plan on eating two meals a day that we brought, rather than eating out at the restaurant.  This ensures that we keep our costs low.  My girlfriends and I brought bagels, sandwich meat and snacks.  Bagels were good for breakfast AND for sandwiches later.  If you do decide to eat at the lodge’s restaurant, know that the prices can be a little high.  The french toast for breakfast is amazing, though!

Also, know before you go that there is hardly any cell service.  There was wi-fi but it was very weak and not worth the trouble.

Tips for each type of room:

Main Lodge– No TV’s or telephones.  A bit outdated, but great if you want to stay in the lodge where Roosevelt had lunch in 1937.  Historic and quaint!  My husband and I stayed in a room and found it to be a bit noisy.  You could hear people walking the halls and the walls seemed a bit thin.

Fireplace Rooms– Per their website, they have TV’s and mini fridges in these rooms.  No telephone.  We have never stayed in one of these rooms, but they look awesome!

Lakeside Rooms– This is where our family usually stays.  This is great for families, as they’re bigger, have a TV and mini fridge.  They are also more updated than the Main Lodge.  This is where the girls and I stayed as well.  Some of the rooms have great views of the lake.

Boathouse–  This is pet friendly! This is another family friendly room also and has a great view of the lake.  There is a wrap around porch which is perfect for relaxing and reading a book.  I have never stayed in the Boathouse, but my mother and her three dogs did.

Water Gauge

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE

  • Swim in their indoor pool and hang out in the sauna!
  • Look for Roosevelts signature in the lodge’s guest book.
  • Take a Lake Tour.
  • Sign up for a Rain Forest Tour.
  • Look for Mossquatch. (We found him!)
  • Take the mini hike to the Worlds Largest Spruce Tree.
  • Find the Worlds Largest Cedar Tree.
  • Kayak or row on Lake Quinault.
  • Sit by the huge fireplace in the main lodge and enjoy a glass of wine while playing chess.
  • Play frisbee on the large grassy lawn.
  • Read a book in the gazebo by the lake.
  • Choose a trail on the Lake Quinault grounds and explore!

Hiking Trail  Largest Spruce

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Ape Caves, WASHINGTON (1 Day/0 Nights/ Family of 4) $50

Day Trips

Ape Caves 2012

HOW WE DID IT

Where: Ape Caves, WA

When: June 2012

Cost Breakdown: $15 for a park pass + $35 for gas = $50 total for a family of 4 (or however many people you can fit in your car!)

Tricks: As always, bring your own food if you’re wanting to save the most money on your day trips.  You can eat a big breakfast at home, bring snacks and sandwiches to keep you full for lunch and dinner.  Gas can be minimized by using your gas rewards at either Safeway or Fred Meyers.  And as for the park pass, click here because you may qualify for a reduced fee or even a free one.  There are also certain days that you can get into the state and federal parks for free too.

Now remember, you’re going to need to bring a warm sweatshirt (it was 80*F outside, but in the caves it was 55*F).  Don’t forget the flashlights and headlamps.  Do not wear flip flops or any sort of non-sturdy footwear.  You can get really hurt.  If you have children under 3yrs old, I’d make sure that you had a hiking backpack carrier.  Our 3yr old boy loved the caves, but was prone to falling off rocky outcrops or tripping in holes.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE

*You MUST check out Trail of Two Forests which is just before Ape Caves.  Here’s a great website that has lots of pictures.  If you’re not claustrophobic, you MUST climb through the little tunnels.  My kids wouldn’t do it, but my husband and I took turns.  The trail is now on a really nice “boardwalk” and takes you to different tunnels from the lava flows.  You can look around and see the difference in age from one forest to the other.  This could be a very educational experience for your kids as well.

*The Lower Ape Cave  is the caves you want if you have kids with you.  Its about 3/4 a mile one way.  Its super dark, but awesome.  This should take about an hour or so to go all the way to the end and back.  Bring a back-up light source.

These were the two hikes we did on our day trip.  Remember that you should only fit in your “staycation” as much as your family can tolerate without meltdowns.  We had a 3yr and a 6yr old.

Two hikes were plenty.

 

Ape Caves 2012