The Lake Crescent Area is the nicest place in Olympic National Park for an extended stay. Forks, Hoh Rainforest, Hurricane Ridge, and Lake Quinault are all great places to spend a day, but if you have 3 days, we highly recommend spending at least one night at the lodge at Lake Crescent.
Lake Crescent is located on the north side of the park just west of Port Angeles. This area is the most resort like. In fact, if you stay in the Lake Crescent Lodge or the cabins at the Log Cabin Resort, it is 15 yards to the edge of the lake. There is a large swimming area that is really popular. Many people wakeboard, swim, or just relax on the beach. Bring a blanket, though, because the beach is rocky rather than sandy. We really enjoyed our stay in the lodge and the walks we took along the shore.
There are some amazing waterfalls near Lake Crescent. Just to the west, make sure to visit the Sol Duc Falls at the end of Sol Duc Road. To the east, Madison Falls is only a short drive. The best waterfall, though, is Marymere Falls. This short hike starts right in the parking lot by the Visitor Center. The waterfall is really beautiful, and the hike is only 1.8 miles.
If you are at Lake Crescent, make sure to visit Granny’s Cafe. They have really good food and amazing ice cream. Granny’s is located just a few miles east of the lake, and they actually allow you to walk around the farm out back and look at the animals. This was one of our favorite stops when visiting Olympic National Park.
Mostly, when you visit Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park, bring your flip-flops, swim trunks, and sunglasses. Then plan some time to explore the gorgeous lake.