Hood Canal, WA, USA

Hood Canal, WA, USA

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Find the best place to stay — Hood Canal

Enjoy nature on the Hood Canal

Snow-capped Olympic Mountains, crystalline waters, pebble-peppered coves, secluded beaches, and family campsites all ring the banks of Hood Canal, making it the real showcase of nature that Seattle natives say it is. Prepare to gasp as you enter its amphitheater of pine-studded peaks. Prepare to breathe deeply when you see orcas splashing in the icy fjords. Get ready for hiking trails that forge frame-worthy photographs wherever you point the lens; for lively fishing towns where microbreweries ooze a Pacific Northwest welcome; for dreamy Hood Canal vacation rentals where log fires crackle and gardens tumble down to meet the Puget Sound.

Raw adventure on the Hood Canal

This untrodden land of arctic waters and rising mountains is tailor-made for adventurers. Wax up the walking boots, because hiking trails to the tips of Mount Ellinor and through the dense forests of the Mount Skokomish Wilderness are on the menu. Prep the waterproofs, too – whale watching excursions are known to throw up saltwater spray between glimpses of elegant orcas in the wild. Meanwhile, fly fishing, kayaking, SUP boarding, SCUBA diving, mountain flyovers, skydiving sessions, and more add oodles of other possible dimensions to that vacation on the water's edge.

High peaks and handsome towns on Hood Canal

Stop by pretty Union, a Forbes pick for one of America's prettiest towns, where the boat jetties look out to the rugged Olympic Mountains in the distance. Don't forget to visit Hoodsport, either – or better yet, get Hood Canal vacation rentals in Hoodsport. That's the place for SCUBA sessions and hearty local seafood shacks. There are other towns, too, like beach-fringed Lilliwaup, and Belfair, where regional Washington wines flow from the cellar doors. Of course, the national reserve of the Olympic Mountains is a must, its glaciers and shadowy forests a constant reminder of how wild this place really is.

Hood Canal changes with the seasons

You can expect a totally different vacation depending on what season you choose to book those Hood Canal vacation rentals. There's the icy winter in December, January, and February, when snow cakes the shorelines and ice floes crack along the banks – that's a great time to bag a cozy little timber lodge with a roaring real fire. Then there's spring in April and May, when the wildflower meadows and trails of the Olympic Mountains open in earnest. Summer is when most locals come, though, imbuing the microbreweries and beaches here with real life from June to September.

Hood Canal has geography to take the breath away

There's something truly awesome about the great arena of peaks and snow-mantled summits that surrounds Hood Canal. They soar to the very tips of the Olympic National Park, which touts a UNESCO status for its old-growth bigleaf maples and hemlock woods. That vast wilderness also hosts hulking western red cedar trees, is carved out by colossal glaciers, and washed over by the occasional hot spring. Back on the Puget Sound, and Hood Canal has saltwater beaches, sea lions, and splashing orcas to boot.