#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Olympic National Park > Hoh Rainforest

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham, WA | picklesnhoney.com
#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: San Juan Island, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Port Angeles, WA > Olympic National Park | picklesnhoney.com#PHroadtrip Week 9: Port Angeles, WA > Olympic National Park | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Crescent Lake, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Rialto Beach Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Rialto Beach Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Rialto Beach Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Ruby Beach, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Ruby Beach, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Rialto Beach Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Port Angeles, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Port Angeles, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Hoh Rainforest, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Hoh Rainforest, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Hoh Rainforest, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Hoh Rainforest, WA | picklesnhoney.com

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

We were a little sad to leave Seattle and all of its good food, dog-friendly everything, and excellent coffee (that last one is Aaron’s input). We’d never heard of Bellingham and had previously booked a few days there because it was one of the few pet-friendly AirBnB options near-ish to the Northern Cascades. It turned out to be a really beautiful place with a small, but charming historic district. We loved walking the dogs along the boardwalk and the South Bay Trail, and snacking on the wild blackberries that are in abundance everywhere in Washington.

There was a lot of feedback that deciding to visit San Juan Island over Orcas Island was a mistake; however, we had read that the resident pod of orca whales was currently passing by San Juan Island each afternoon and decided to head to Lime Kiln Point State Park to see if we might catch a glimpse. Our timing ended up being perfect! We waited for just fifteen minutes after arriving before the first orca swam by, and then we were completely mesmerized for the next half hour as they made their way around the island, jumping up every so often for air. It. was. magical. Like, hands down, one of the coolest and most memorable things we’ve seen. You don’t even need to pay for a whale watch tour—they swim fairly close along the shore.

Other island highlights: Pelindaba Lavender Farm, the pristine rocky beach at American Camp (skip English Camp), and San Juan Island Bakery’s sourdough bread. We’ll have to go back for Orcas Island.

Beaches along the PNW are some of the prettiest we’ve seen. Being from New England, shorelines are either sandy beaches or giant boulders, not usually a cool combination of the two. Our favorite is Ruby Beach, followed by Rialto Beach as a close second. At low tide, you can walk far out on the beach to explore the picturesque rock formations and enjoy their reflections on the wet sand. We’ve decided Honey is a beach bum. She becomes a different, happy-all-the-time, running around like crazy sort of dog and loves running in and out of the water. Barley’s still figuring out how waves work. The movement is perplexing to him.

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

I’ve mentioned before that National Parks aren’t dog-friendly. To be frank, we’re burnt out on trying to find ways to enjoy them with two dogs and accommodations that are often way overpriced and not very nice. We’ve yet to find a dog-friendly AirBnB within an hour of a National Park, and often the towns surrounding them are economically depressed yet priced to exploit tourists because they have a monopoly on location. All that said, we skipped the Northern Cascades to visit San Juan Island instead.

Our cabin in Port Angeles was a continuation of the above point. It had glowing reviews on AirBnB, but we arrived to a (very) tiny house that was generally worn and uncomfortable. For $132 a night, we expect more than what amounted to a hard futon in a shed. And in the heatwave, the lack of AC or a fan, with windows without screens and a yellow jacket infestation, made for an experience that was definitely frustrating.

On this trip, we’ve had some truly awesome AirBnB experiences, and some very crummy ones. But here’s the thing: the reviews of the awesome ones and the reviews of the crummy ones are exactly the same. 100+ five stars and “best place ever!”, and we think this optimism bias is at least in part the result of a desire to avoid negative retaliatory reviews from the hosts, as well as not wanting to write a negative review of someone’s home or guest property. You shouldn’t necessarily go into an AirBnB expecting hotel-clean or quality, but it also shouldn’t feel like someone’s pitched a tent in their overgrown yard and is asking for $50 a night (this is happening!).

When we shared that we’d be in the Port Angeles area, I received a handful of comments with references I didn’t quite understand. Then when we arrived, we kept seeing signs about vampires? A few Google searches later, it clicked: we’re in Twilight country. I know nothing about the books or the movies, except that I caught a clip of one when I was on the treadmill at my gym one time (and oh man, was it bad). Sorry Twilight fans! We found this to be really hokey and it took away from the natural beauty of the area.

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

cinnamon plum superfood muesli / cheesy potatoes / hummus & veggie sandwiches

#PHroadtrip Week 9: Bellingham > San Juan Island > Port Angeles & Olympic National Park, WA | picklesnhoney.com

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  1. Kait says

    YOU GOT HIKING BOOTS! ???

    Sorry to hear about the accommodations. That’s super frustrating and I hope that going forward you find some way to navigate the good and bad more easily. I also hope you leave harsh (I mean honest…ahem) reviews. 😉

    Xoxo

    1. Amanda says

      I did get hiking boots! Finally. Hopefully no more slipping and falling. 😉

      AirBnB is funny, because even though I wanted to leave a bluntly honest review (and I did, it’s matter-of-fact), it still felt awkward. I think the reviews are inflated for a number of reasons, a big one being that when you check in and the place is gross and you decide not to stay (this has happened to us twice), you don’t even get the opportunity to leave a review. We’ve encountered some GREAT experiences, and others pretty terrible. It’s a little bit of a crapshoot since, you know, people are people.

      1. Josee says

        I know this is on the opposite coast, but if your trip takes you to Savannah GA, I can recommend a great place to stay. My husband and and travelled there with our two dogs and were blown away by how nice the digs and the people were. It’s so tough in North America. If we were in Europe, our dogs would be welcome everywhere.

      2. Josee says

        I know this is on the opposite coast but if your trip takes you to Savannah GA, I can recommend a great place to stay. My husband and I travelled there with our two dogs and were blown away by how nice the digs and the people were. It’s tough in North America. If we were in Europe, our dogs would be welcome everywhere.

      3. Amanda says

        Thank you, Josee! Savannah is on our list of places to visit. I’m so glad to hear that you and your husband (and two dogs!) were able to find a really great place to stay there. We’d love a recommendation. <3

      4. Josee says

        This is the place we rented: http://mossvacations.com/pages/property_b.html
        We stayed at the Barnard Suite which was gorgeous but didn’t have a stove. They have another house with 2 apartments and full kitchens. Oh! and there’s a vegetarian/vegan coffee shop downtown next to a health food store. You’re going to love Savannah!

      5. Amanda says

        Wow, the Barnard Suite is beautiful! I love the old building. I bet it was super charming. <3

  2. manuela says

    I’ve recently been in a few AirBnB accomodations and I most of them were awful and like you said you could not tell from the reviews. I felt it was my luck.. but I’m sorry to read that it’s pretty common experience! Wish you luck with the next AirBnB experience 🙂
    by the way, I’m loving your road trip pictures!

    1. Amanda says

      Sorry to hear you’ve had some AirBnB misses too! The one we’re staying at now is great (thankfully). The last one, however, had 117 five star reviews and it was acceptable but just barely, and definitely overpriced. We’re getting better at navigating, though I absolutely think AirBnB should change its policy to allow people who check in and then immediately leave to be able to post reviews…I feel like there would be some very honest feedback. The AirBnBs in larger cities seem to be much more legit, I’m assuming since there’s competition.

  3. Laura says

    You are reliving my life of this time last year and I am sooooo jealous!! My sister and I roadtripped the west coast of America from San Diego to Vancouver Canada last summer and had the best time ever. Seeing the places where you are going, (many of which we covered), and the hikes and mountain climbs you are doing (many of which we did), makes me nostalgic, sad to not be there again, and happy/excited for you all at the same time. I clearly don’t have to rant on at all about the greatness that is Seattle and Portland, as you’ve clearly fallen in love with it just as much as I did. I miss the days of trail running and hiking followed by trying new foods and a new brewery on every corner. Despite your AirBnB misses (we were camping all the way, so no AirBnB interactions, just bad campsite interactions!!), I hope you guys are having a blast and enjoying every minute. When all is said and done, you’ll miss it all, (even the frustrations and unfortunate situations), and those will be some of the memories that will make you laugh the hardest a year later. Happy travels – enjoy!

    1. Amanda says

      That’s so fun that you and your sister road-tripped the west coast last summer! Being along the ocean is my favorite. <3 I love your comment because it's a reminder to savor this time and keep the frustrations in perspective, so thank you for that! And yes, Seattle and Portland are wonderful. I think we'd be ready to move to Portland if it weren't for the 8 months of overcast weather. 😉

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  5. Jennifer says

    Try checking out State parks- they might be more dog friendly. Though sometimes certain seasons they won’t let dogs on trails because of nesting birds and stuff like that.

    I am not surprised about the AirBnB issues. There is a lot of rumors going on in my area (South Jersey/Philadelphia area) about all the “bad” and overpriced AirBnB places because of the Pope’s visit. Even my bosses joked that they should open up AirBnBs (although my one boss has a pretty killer place) to make a quick several thousand bucks. No joke, houses are going for several thousand $$! Many are renting JUST for the pope visit, though I think I would do that too. Rent it out for the pope visit, and get the heck out of the city! Avoid the cluster and make some money at the same time. XD

    1. Amanda says

      I think you’re right that State parks are a better bet. National Forests have been good for us too.

      I can only imagine the AirBnB prices for the Pope’s visit! Gah. Can’t say I blame people, but there are definitely going to be some shady listings (I wish AirBnB did a better job of vetting hosts for that reason…). When we were in Cleveland for a night, there were already places touting the RNC and asking for insane amounts of money for crappy accommodations. Not cool. Cleveland was a complete bust for us and we ended up finding a last-minute hotel.

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