I could really use the help of the experts and recent visitors. My family of 4 (2 teens) arrives SeaTac 11 am, Wed July 25. We are active and coming for the hiking, nature and anything unique or local that we stumble upon. We have 9 nights to be split between ONP, Mt. Rainier and Seattle. 2 nights in Seattle and rest in the Parks - 3 to 4 nights in ONP. We are flexible on type of place to stay and are early risers. ONP must hike are the beaches, Hoh rain forest and/or Quinalt and some other day hikes that show diverse ecosytems. We like to knock out a day hike, relax with a meal and then catch sunsets an/or wildlife at the end of the day. Please help with these questions:
1) Due to weekend crowds, am I better starting in ONP or Mt Rainier? For example, If I arrived ONP Wed and left late morning Sunday for Mt. Ranier and ended with our last 2 nights in Seattle, would that be best way to manage weekend crowds and traffic?
2) Are we better off spitting up lodging at ONP between 2 places like Kaloch lodge and Lake Crescent or staying at one place like a VRBO rental in one of the towns on the perimeter. I know we are late to the game for reservations but this trip just came together
3) What are our best lodging options in or around ONP? . As much as we like creature comforts and nice food, I think we would go down a class or two if the place we stayed gave us a great start for hikes and was away from a theme park type environment. Since we are only here a short time and it is such a cool place, we are not really concerned as much about cost as usual.
4) Sol Du Luc Hot Springs - it intrigued me at first but then the reviews painted the picture in my mind of a run down water theme park. What are your thoughts? I have seen VRBO places on creeks that seem so natural and inviting.
5) Any information you could offer whether to enter and leave the park clockwise or counter if we do the Wed - Sun option would be appreciated. Note - coming from SeaTac on Wed and going to Mt Rainier leaving late morning Sunday.
Thanks so much to all of the great TA experts and advisors - you have helped us really enjoy all of our National Park trips!