In the Olympic Peninsula of northwest Washington State, a small town named Forks exists under a near-constant cover of clouds. It rains on this inconsequential town more than any other place in the United States of America - Stephenie Meyers
We started our Twilight road trip in Seattle, stopping in Port Angeles for lunch (check out our 101 Washington Blog for some incredible stops along the way). Port Angeles is a port town with a number of good fresh seafood restaurants. However, Twilight fans might want to forgo the fish and chips in order to sample Mushroom Ravioli at La Bella Italia (FYI its closed on Sunday and Monday). Just down the road is a lovely little book store which we enjoyed browsing through. However, once you move away from its more touristy harbor front façade, its easy to imagine Bella taking a wrong turn and ending up in the more shady side of town.
The drive from Port Angeles to Forks passes through some truly spectacular scenery and it seemed fitting that our visit took place on a foggy, wet day. Our first stop in Forks was at the Visitors Information Centre. As you drive through Forks, the 101 becomes Forks Avenue and passes the Thriftway where Bella shopped and the Sports Outfitters where she worked. You know you've found the right place when you see Bella's red truck parked out front. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable and will give you a map and low down of all the Twilight points of interest.
Our next stop was the Twilight Museum. This is a popular attraction and they only allow a limited number of guests, so its wise to book ahead if you don't want to be disappointed. The museum is small but it contains the largest collection of authentic screen worn props and costumes from the movies, including Jacob's bike, Bella’s Graduation Quilt, a really creepy doll called Chuckesmee!
After our museum visit we crossed the street to do some Fandom shopping and then it was on to a drive by tour of the Police Station where Charlie worked, the Forks High School, the Hospital (which has a parking spot reserved for Dr Cullen), and the Swan house. The Cullen House operates a beautiful little bed and breakfast, and makes a great home base for your explorations (https://www.millertreeinn.com/twilight) .
Our final stop was a visit to First Beach in La Push, a 14 mile (23km) drive from Forks. This popular surfing beach is part of the Quileute Indian Reservation. The famous Rialto Beach is also close by, but in my opinion this spectacular crescent shaped, pebbled beach, littered with huge tree trunks that have been washed up by the ocean is more impressive. Truly an epic end to an epic day!
Day two saw us setting off for the Hoh Rainforest (a 31 mile drive from Forks). This is a popular destination in the Olympic National Park and they allow a limited number of visitors at a time, so I recommend getting there early. This is one of the last remaining Temperate Rain Forests in the US. It receives an average of 140 inches (3.55 meters) of precipitation each year. The result is a lush, green canopy of giant coniferous and deciduous trees. Everything is covered in a vibrant green blanket of mosses and ferns with crystal clear streams winding through the gnarled roots and feathery fronds. If you are lucky you might spot a Roosevelt Elk, Black Bear, River Otter, or more elusive Mountain Lion. As we walked along the .8 mile loop that makes up The Hall of Mosses Trail it was easy to imagine the Cullen's hunting in this enchanting wonderland that seems untouched by time and progress.
Don't be disappointed if all of these sites look different to those used in the movies. This area was the inspiration for the book, but most of the filming locations can be found around Portland.
From Forks we headed down the 101 to Indian Beach. This is the location where the La Push beach scenes were filmed and it is just gorgeous! Especially if you catch it at sunset like we did. Then it was back inland to Portland City to visit the forest where the iconic Lion and the Lamb scene was filmed and Damascus to visit the Carver Café.
Our final stop on our road trip was in St Helens, Oregon for the Halloween town Twilight Festival. Here we got to meet the actors who played DR Cullen and Jasper (I may have to revise my position on Team Edward!). All of the scenes from "Port Angeles" were filmed in St Helens, including the dress store, book store that Bella visited, alley where she was pursued (and rescued by Edward), and the house that was used as the set for La Bella Italia. You can also visit Bella's house from the movie. However, as amazing as it was to see and recognize all of these filming locations, I felt that Forks, La Push, and the real Port Angeles captured the true spirit of the books.
The Visitors Center, The Twilight Museum, Forks High School, Forks Hospital, La Push Reservation, First beach, Hoh Rain Forest, Indian Beach