This Little-known Washington Town Is a Gateway to Wild Pacific Ocean Beaches and a Gorgeous National Park — and It's the 'Twilight' Capital
Not everyone thinks sweltering, sun-drenched beaches are where it's at. There are those of us who prefer wooded trails and a cool breeze to a day spent roasting in the sun. Take Bella and her band of vampires in Twilight, who, in the popular books and movies, are based out of Forks, Washington — a town that actually exists in real life. In addition to inspiring the Twilight saga, the unassuming town of Forks is one of the top trending U.S. summer destinations for 2022, according to Airbnb, based on searches by U.S. guests on their site in the first quarter of the year.
And it's no wonder travelers are researching lodging in Forks. The tiny town of less than 4,000 people is perfectly situated between the wild Pacific coast and the wilder still Olympic National Park. To the west are a series of beaches, including the famed Rialto, Kalaloch, and Ruby Beaches, which are part of the national park and have some of the area's best camping. Perhaps most notably, Kalaloch Campground is home to the Tree of Life, a.k.a. the Tree Root Cave, a giant tree that straddles two coastal bluffs creating a cave beneath it.
Those looking for mountains and old-growth forest will want to head east, to the heart of Olympic National Park. Among the almost 1 million acres, travelers will find lush rainforest and dense forest leading up to the glacier-clad Mount Olympus. Top sights include the moss-covered Hoh Rain Forest and the park's rich fauna — including black bears, elk, and deer.
Those looking to stay closer to town will find hiking and mountain biking trails that leave right from Forks — including the 4.2-mile Reade Hill Trail and myriad trails in Elk Creek Conservation Area, a protected wild salmon habitat. For a day trip, nothing beats a journey to Victoria, British Columbia, by ferry — a route that happens to be a prominent part of the Whale Trail, a series of coastal sites known for yielding views of whales and other marine life.
In addition to plenty of outdoor to-dos, Forks holds tight to its link to Twilight, hosting an annual Forever Twilight in Forks Festival, which honors author Stephenie Meyer and all things Twilight. This year, the festival runs Sept. 8-11 (ahem, Bella's birthday is Sept. 13), although you can view the town's collection of clothing and props seen in the five Twilight films year-round.
No matter what you do in or around Forks, come prepared for rain. The community is proud of their 120 inches of average annual rainfall — making it the rainiest town in the contiguous U.S.