Built in 1926 on the south shore of Lake Quinault on the lush and beautiful Olympic Peninsula, Lake Quinault Lodge is one of the national park system’s most beautiful and timeless historic lodges. Charming when approached from the street (South Shore Road), Lake Quinault’s best side is to the north, where the back of the lodge opens upon a cheery deck and lush, sloping lawn to the lake shore.
Stepping through the front doors, visitors are greeted by a cheery fire in the lobby fireplace, plush leather sofas, bookcases and carefully arranged tables, and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out to the lake. Though certainly tranquil, the lodge is family-friendly; just downstairs from the lobby resides a full game room complete with ping-pong and pool tables, a few arcade games (requiring quarters), and a surprisingly large heated indoor pool. Croquet sets can be rented for the lawn, and in summer, canoes are available to lodge guests. Our kids spent a fair amount of time playing on the large lawn, and exploring the lake shore.
Lake Quinault is definitely a destination lodge and makes for a great ‘base camp’ while visiting Olympic National Park (home of one of only three temperate rain forests in the world); located just inside the park boundary, a network of hiking trails lead into the forest from directly across the street, many of which are perfect for families. Ask the lodge dining room to pack a picnic lunch for you and make a day of it, or hop in the car to explore more of the park’s varied terrain (the beaches at Kalaloch are 30 minutes north on Highway 101, and further, the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center provides more hiking opportunities). Lake Quinault also offers a selection of rain forest tours year round; ask at the front desk!
Extra Tip: Spring is a great time of year to experience Olympic National Park! Crowds are low, deals abound, and since you can plan on rain fall year round, weather is not an issue!
Date last visited: March 2011
Distance from the interstate: Lake Quinault Lodge is just under two hours from I-5 at Centralia, WA (three hours from Seattle or 3.5 hours from Portland).
Room Rates: Lake Quinault offers several room categories, from traditional lodge rooms featuring either one king bed or two queen beds (starting at $95 at time of publication), to Fireplace Rooms and Boathouse Rooms. Families may prefer a more contemporary Lakeside Room, located in a separate building adjacent to the main lodge and sleeping up to six (starting at $130).
Dining options: The main dining room at Lake Quinault, The Roosevelt Room, is what we’d call kid-friendly while still requiring best behavior. The ambiance is lovely, and the food is good, but it’s special-occasion status: dinner for our family of five, without beverages, came to $100. Where the lodge really shines is breakfast: our kids couldn’t wait to order their house-made hot chocolate with whipped cream and chocolate drizzle each morning, and the sweet potato pancakes got me out of bed quickly, as well. For a more casual dinner, we recommend The Salmon House Restaurant, located one mile further down South Shore Road at the Rain Forest Resort Village. The views of the lake are just as majestic, the service is friendly, and the prices are more reasonable for feeding a hungry family.
Directions: From I-5 North or South, take exit 104 at Olympia (Aberdeen-Ocean Beaches) and head straight west to Aberdeen-Hoquiam. From Hoquiam, go north on U.S. 101 for 40 miles to milepost 125. Turn right on South Shore Road and go two miles to Lake Quinault Lodge.
As I disclose with all compensated reviews, Lake Quinault Lodge hosted our stay in part, providing our family with a media room rate and some meals. While we greatly appreciate Lake Quinault’s hospitality, this compensation came with no expectation of a positive review.