Kalaloch, WASHINGTON (3 Days/2 Nights/ Family of 4) $300

Overnights

Olympic Mountain Weekend 2010

HOW WE DID IT

Where: Kalaloch Lodge, Kalaloch, WA

When: All the time!  This is one of our ultimate favorite places to go…

Cost Breakdown: $125 Email deal for 2 nights + $100 for gas (lots of gas needed for our exploring, but you don’t have to!) + $75 for food & souvenirs = $300 (plus tax) for 3 days & 2 nights for a family of 4-6.

Tricks: You absolutely must sign up for emails with the National Park Lodges or specific lodges you want to stay at.  This assures that you will receive specials and deals before anyone else.  The usual cost at Kalaloch Lodge can get spendy, especially if you want to stay in a bluff cabin off the cliff (which I *do* recommend).  We spent $62.50 per night using an email deal.  You can also find great deals if you keep an eye on Livingsocial and Groupon.  You know my usual philosophy on gas.  Use Safeway or Fred Meyer gas rewards to get the most out of your money.  Now, here’s my super secret way to save on food.  At Kalaloch, you’re staying in a cabin with a mini fridge.  Make sure you call ahead and find out if they have microwaves.  If they do not, bring yours.  Not joking here.  I do this all the time.  When you’re planning your meals for the trip, remember that fresh is always best.  We bring fresh salad makings, fruit and veggies.  Along with that, we bring sandwich stuff, peanut butter and jelly, pre-made soup (or canned) to warm up in the microwave and frozen dinners.  Sometimes I bring pre-made pancakes that can be warmed up in the morning. These are all easy to pack in a cooler and can be transferred into the cabin’s mini fridge on arrival.

Also, the further away from the cliff you get the cheaper the rooms.  The Seacrest rooms are located in a building set up like a regular rustic hotel.  No internet, barely any cell service, no TV’s… There are pros to this, so don’t write this option off.  We’ve take our family and stayed in the Seacrest rooms before and it was great.  We prepared by bringing a laptop with DVD’s for the kids (think snuggly “movie night”) and board games.  During the day, we hiked and spent time on the beach and explored.  So the room wasn’t expected to be anything but a check-in location and for sleep.  The room there was also very large, so there was plenty of space for the kids to make a fort with the blankets and couch cushions.

You can stay in the lodge itself, but the rooms are not very big.  Although that may be cool if you’re going as a couple, with no kidlets.

Lastly are the cabins.  Which we love.  There are duplex style cabins and singles.  Both are great.  All are rustic.

And don’t forget you can camp at Kalaloch!  That’s the cheapest, by far. Click here to see a map of their property.  This will help you decide where to stay.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE

*Explore the Kalaloch Beach

*Visit the Hoh Rain Forest (we always see Roosevelt Elk here!)

*Go see Ruby Beach (so gorgeous!)

*And Rialto Beach

*Check out Flattery Rocks National Wildlife Refuge

*Eat at the lodge’s restaurant (super views)

*Watch the sunset (and the sunrise)
Olympic Mountain Weekend 2010

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