The Olympic Peninsula
The decidedly unabridged title of "UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve", doesn't do justice to the incredible diversity to be found in this small pocket of land in the most northwestern region of the contiguous United States.
It's a microcosm of weather and terrain, encompassing everything from pristine beaches, to rolling mountains, and even a temperate rainforest.
My first stop along the way was up into the sprawling Hurricane Ridge with a breathtaking view of the Olympic Mountains.
As I drove along the northern coast, bizarre rock formations caught my eye and whales could be seen coming to the surface and blowing large clouds of mist up as they exhaled.
Much like the peninsula, the Hoh rainforest showcased an incredible diversity of plants and animals. Moss and lichen covered trees looked like something out of a Dr. Seuss story. I even made a new friend.