We first stayed at Salt Creek Recreation Area four years ago at the beginning of our full-time travels. It was just as good as we remembered—actually, even better this time, because our fellow full-time traveling buddies Pam and John were staying nearby and we met up for several fun adventures together.
Tide Pooling And More Tide Pooling
On the day we arrived, Pam and John joined us for an afternoon of exploring the tide pools at Tongue Point, a half-mile walk from our campsite. We had fun catching up after not having seen each other for far too long.
Walking down to the tide pools is always a small but delightful adventure—you never know what you’re going to find, and we never tire of looking. I always hope to find something unusual—an octopus, perhaps. No octopi, but we found all kinds of creatures. As a marine preserve, there’s no harvesting allowed at Tongue Point, which the mussels must be happy about. I’ve never seen so many mussels. They would have made a delicious dinner.
Biking Around Port Angeles
Port Angeles, a pretty little seaport town, is 15 miles east of the campground. The views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca are outstanding, and the beautiful sculptures and murals scattered along the waterfront add to the ambience. We were intrigued to see that street signs are lettered in the native Klallam language as well as English.
The outstanding Olympic Discovery Trail runs along the waterfront. It’s mostly flat and has excellent views—in my opinion, the perfect bike trail. We first biked three miles to Ediz Hook, where we looked back across the bay toward Port Angeles.
After biking back to town for a delicious lunch at Jasmine Bistro, we headed out for a six-mile ride in the opposite direction along the waterfront toward Sequim.
Along the bike path we spotted a family of river otters, who entertained us for 20 minutes with their over-the-top cuteness and antics. They seemed to be as curious about us as we were about them, but they grew bored with us long before we lost interest in them.
More Port Angeles Treasures
Along with the wonderful art installations along the waterfront, Port Angeles has a small Fine Arts Center with frequently changing exhibits. The lovely mid-century modern home that houses the center is alone worth the visit.
An interesting building with a replica of a dugout canoe over the entrance caught our eye while driving through town. The Elwha Klallam Heritage Center is beautifully designed, and was inspired by the structure of traditional longhouses. Inside are small but well-done displays of ancient tribal artifacts and contemporary Native American artwork.
There’s also an excellent exhibit on the Elwha River, part of the ancestral lands of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe. The river has recently been freed from a century of dams that wiped out the salmon runs and severely affected the tribal culture and economy. After the removal of the dams in 2012 and 2014, the salmon immediately started to return.
Oh! And the farmers’ market. There’s a small, but very good farmers’ market on Saturday mornings in downtown Port Angeles. We came away with pastured eggs, smoked salmon, enormous bunches of organic kale and salad greens, grass fed local beef, and more. There’s a first-rate natural foods store in Port Angeles as well (Country Aire Natural Foods) where we found everything we needed to restock after our previous week in the wilds of Olympic National Park.
About The Campground
You will not be alone here. Locals love Salt Creek Recreation Area, and book far ahead for their favorite spots. But despite the popularity, it doesn’t feel crowded or crazy. The RV section is arranged in tiers, offering good views for everyone.
The front row is first-come, first-served, which is great if you don’t want to plan ahead. That’s where we stayed on our first visit to the park. This time I booked in advance, and we discovered that we prefer the upper tier. The sites seem to be further apart, and feel more private because they back up to a huge open field.
The RV sites have water and electric, there’s a nearby older but adequate bathhouse, and a dump station. Be prepared to do without internet and cell coverage, because it doesn’t exist. (The tide pools and views make up for the lack of coverage.) But you can get coverage as soon as you leave the park (seriously, right at the entrance) and there’s a very nice library in Port Angeles with internet.
It was a relaxing and fun-filled week. Next time, we might even return for two.
I love reading your posts. Here we sit, getting ready to hit the road to Maine and New Brunswick. Our May trip finally on track after our differential problems. We will do this trip and consider trading this RV for a smaller unit.
Your post reminds me of how much we missed going down the NW coast. Love tidal pools because you never know what treasures lie at your feet. This land has so much to see, its great you two are enjoying the road again. Martin just had an outstanding cardio check. Life is good and we savor the good news….bless you both!!!
Julie, it sounds like good news on every front for you two! So happy to hear that Martin is doing so well, and that you’re heading out on your Maine/New Brunswick trip. Have a glorious time!
When our kids were young, we’d take our pop-up and go to Salt Creek. We’d all lay on the big bed with the windows open and watch the ships pass by. They loved exploring and called it “Narnia”. As they grew into teenagers, this was the one place they were all excited about returning. We have so many wonderful memories there. Steven and I are planning a return trip next year!
Linda, it’s easy to see why Salt Creek would be a family favorite for you. It truly is a special place—I know we’ll return again!
Wow. Just wow. We are on our way. Will get to experience all of this area this fall. Can’t wait. Your descriptions have enhanced our anticipation!
JC, you are going to love it! Fall is a wonderful time in the PNW, especially September and October. I promise, I’m not overselling the beauty and adventure of this very special part of the country. :-)
Your posts are feeding my soul and making me just a wee bit envious of your lives right now. But mostly I’m just so happy to see you both so healthy, happy and back on the road! We’ll be in the Gaspe peninsula, Canada before too long, so we’ll get a little breather, beauty, and time away from our urban lives. Love you two! keep showing us just how great life can be on this beautiful planet xxx
Oh Lindi, I’m so happy to hear from you! Thank you for your loving comment. We’re thrilled and grateful to be back on the road, exploring and appreciating this beautiful life. Your upcoming trip sounds wonderful! Canada is still on our list, so I’ll be coming to you for suggestions. Love to you both from both of us.
Those otters sure do have ‘personality’ written all over their faces. I love that little bridge, what a beautiful design.
Sheila, the otters really do have such curious, funny, engaging personalities! We loved having so much time with them. I really liked that bridge, too — I appreciate so much when utilitarian things are created with an eye for beauty. I know you share the same appreciation. :-)
We otter spend some time with you here next year…amazing mountain views, sea life and native culture!
Hahaha, you are hilarious, my friend! And yes, we should definitely spend time together exploring the Olympic Peninsula. We would have a blast.
Penny and I really like your new blog format with the imbedded photos. Much easier to read and follow along. And, of course, the photos are near professional quality!
Thanks so much, Tom! I appreciate your comment and I’m happy that you like the new format. I’ve been thinking about making the change for a while and finally moved forward with it. I’m glad you’re enjoying the photos. Hugs to you and Penny!
Me thinks we’re going to have to meet up somewhere again! Page, AZ in October maybe?
Yes indeed, it’s definitely time for us to meet up again! Not sure if we can make it to Page in October — we’ll be in Ashland, and then heading south in November. But let’s figure out a plan!
It was great fun reliving this part of our trip to the OP. And what a wonderful time getting to do so many fun hikes with you and Eric! Can’t wait til we meet up again:) Lovely photos!! The otter are so adorable. I love their little faces checking you two out. The photos of Mt Baker are so clear…wow! There always seemed to be a hazy in the distance for me. Super post, Laurel:)
Pam, we had so much fun with you and John! All of our adventures with you two made our time on the OP extra special. I was wishing you had seen the otters — but we saw lots of other wildlife together. I’m glad you enjoyed this post — you two are stars in the next several posts. :-))
We only visited that park, did not stay there, but it sure looked like a wonderful place to stay! I think tidepooling is one of the best things on earth to do! ;-)
How fun to see and get to spend so much time with the river otters!
Lisa, tidepooling is one my most favorite things to do, too. ;-) That’s one of the big draws for us at Salt Creek, although the sunsets and views are also great. We loved having so much time with the otters!
Nice finds in the tidal pools! I’ve found a handful of cool things while exploring the pools near our park, but nothing nearly as colorful as what you’ve captured. And I am more than a little jealous of your otter encounter! Though, I did get to see some baby goats yesterday (which, of course, made me wonder how Project Baby Goat is going for you:) I’m jealous of your farmers market. While we are loving Canada, the fruit and vegetable selection and prices up here have not been great….
Haha, “Project Baby Goat!” You are hilarious, Laura! You know I’m still plotting. I started thinking about a river otter for the bathtub, too. :-)) You’re going to love the farmers’ markets when you get to the Pacific Northwest. I’m looking forward to your reports on Canada, because that’s on our list.
I love your recipe for relaxation – just perfect! I can’t wait to get back to this area….you’ve shown us things that we didn’t see when we were there a few years ago. The colors in the tide pools were unreal!
Getting to watch those indescribably adorable otters was such a gift!
Can’t wait to get back on the road again…..
Sue, my recipe for relaxation is inspired by you. :-) We love the PNW — there are so many interesting little corners still awaiting discovery! And so many delightful surprises, like the family of otters and the tide pools. It’s hard to motivate ourselves away from here, but one of these days we really are going to head to the East Coast.
No matter where I am or how wonderful it is – Acadia NP right now – whenever I read your posts I am instantly envious and want to be where you are. The campground overlooking the water looks wonderful and the variety of sunsets too. That picture of Mt Baker is fantastic as is all the art around Port Angeles. What a darling town it looks like. I’d give anything to spend 20 minutes watching otters play. SO very happy to hear about the wrong righted with the dam removal. Could the rest of the country just get with it too?? Looks like an absolutely fabulous week. You were clearly very very busy to have done so much in that short time. Better go get some rest. Hope you said hi to John & Pam for me.
Sherry, we were busy with adventures, but also had lots of time just relaxing and exploring the tide pools at the campground. I know you and David would love it here! I hope the otters show up for you. :-) We’re looking forward to exploring Maine, so we’re happy to be following your travels.
Stunning photographs! Thanks for the bread crumbs so we can find our way there one day too.
David & Sharon, we appreciate your kind compliments about our photos. We both love photography. And I’m happy that our travels might help you when you make it to the PNW.
Such a beautiful place to stay!! Great pic of John and Pam. Love all the wonderful colors of the tidepools – they look so healthy. The Elwah story is a favorite having read a couple books about the fight to restore the river. I can’t believe we missed the heritage center!! Definitely must return to see it. All the art along the water front and in the downtown make Port Angeles such a lovely place.
Jodee, I like that photo of John and Pam, too. We were having fun at the tide pools. :-) Port Angeles really is a lovely town, as you know. You will enjoy the heritage center when you return — the tribe has created a wonderful exhibit on the dam removal.
Port Angeles has really turned around with its rejuvenation efforts. We love the Discovery Trail but the otters take the cake. The kale, you can have my share. When Mike worked at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, the animals wouldn’t eat it. I’m with them.
Debbie, we had a blast watching the otters (and watching them watch us). As far as kale, we like it sliced thinly and made into delicious salads. But it’s only tasty when it’s tender and young.
I love Port Angeles. Really thought about living there instead of Brookings. A bit far from family though.
Brenda, I could see the appeal of living in Port Angeles. But it looks like you’ve created a beautiful home in Brookings — and being close to family makes it even better.
I drove myself to Salt Creek Rec last year based on your earlier visits. But no such low tide for me and I was really bummed. Once again I still have to enjoy the colorful sea creatures through you.
We had a great time at Pof A and your photos brought lots of memories when we were gallivanting there.
MonaLiza, you and I need to go tidepooling together! I hope we can meet up sometime in the PNW for a shared adventure. We’re such good birding buddies, I know we’d do well at finding critters in the tide pools. :-)
We lived in Tacoma in the early 70s. Our weekends included day trips to places you’ve been but we didn’t get our fill of it. Now that we RV, we plan to go back and explore some more. Your posts have been very inspiring!
I’m so glad you’re enjoying our posts, Jacky. We love all of our travels, but the PNW continues to be our favorite place of all.