Sunset at Crescent Beach in Washington outside of Port Angeles WA and Olympic National Park
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Top Things to do in Port Angeles, WA (Near Olympic NP)

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Are you wanting to travel to Olympic National Park but not sure where to base yourself? After spending over a week near Port Angeles and exploring the city, nearby area, and Olympic National Park I can easily say Port Angeles is a great place to stay and offers a lot of things to do! 

Let’s get into more details about Port Angeles, how to get there, and what Port Angeles activities you should do while staying here!

About Port Angeles, WA

Located on the Olympic Peninsula Port Angeles Washington is known as the gateway city to Olympic National Park. A small charming Pacific Northwest Town just a skip away from Canada. You can expect all of the small town vibes here as there aren’t any chains, everything is local. 

So while you’re getting outdoors to see the diversity of the ocean, Olympic National Forest, and National Park as well as all of the other nearby outdoor beauty Port Angeles is a great place to base yourself when exploring. But there are also plenty of Port Angeles attractions to experience as well.

Port Angeles Washington mural

How to get there

The easiest and most cost-effective way to get to Port Angeles would be to fly into either Tacoma or Seattle and then drive to Port Angeles.

Driving from Seattle you can take two different routes. One includes a ferry and will take just under 3 hours but is less distance at about 85 miles. This time, however, isn’t taking into account loading and unloading the ferry so it can take even longer.

The second route from Seattle will take about 2 and a half hours but is just under 140 miles. You’re basically looping south through Tacoma and then back north before getting onto Highway 101 to Port Angeles. 

The drive from Tacoma will be just about 2 hours to Port Angeles, cutting off the distance between Seattle and Tacoma.

Depending on prices and timetables of flights I would decide which airport to fly into by which one works better with your schedule.

There is an airport in Port Angeles with limited flights. You will likely have to lay over 1-2 times before arriving so the more efficient option will be to fly to either Seattle or Tacoma and rent a car from there.

Or, you could road trip and visit with your car or RV like we did! We stayed a little bit outside of Port Angeles but spent a lot of time in this cute city. I’ll share more about places to stay (Port Angeles hotels) in a bit!

Port Angeles WA Things to do

There are a lot of fun things to do in the Port Angeles area! Some, are weather dependent and if you visit in the summer like we did. 

Let’s review so you can get your things to do Port Angeles list squared away!

Cedars at Dungeness Golf Course

This golf course is actually located in the nearby town of Sequim. Less than a 30 minute drive from Port Angeles this golf course offers sweeping views.

Every way you turn you see mountains, ocean views, and even wildlife! 

Drive Ediz Hook Road

Ediz Hook is a three mile long skinny sand spit off of the northern part of the Olympic Peninsula in Port Angeles, WA. You can drive most of it (about 1 ½ to 2 miles out) and there are many spots to pull off to relax and have a picnic or just take in the sweeping views of Port Angeles.

Harborview Park is a great spot along Ediz Hook to stop and well as its name suggests, take in views of the nearby harbor. 

Olympic Discovery Trail

The Olympic Discovery Trail is a trail that is to be used for non-motorized multi-use exploring. The trail can be used to hike, bike, or ride a horse, and generally leashed pets are also allowed. So, if you’re bringing a bike with you this would be a perfect activity to add to the best things to do in Port Angeles, Washington! 

The trail starts in Port Townsend and ends at the Pacific Ocean Shores. The trail is broken up into many different trail segments and there are designated stops on the specific segment maps. These maps are helpful in showing the trail surface (paved, gravel, dirt) and also the trail grade so you’re not surprised after setting out on the trail. 

The West Central segment of the trail is from Port Angeles along Lake Crescent and ends on Highway 101 at the top of Fairholm Hill. This segment of the Olympic Discover Trail (or ODT as the locals call it!) is just under 32 miles. 

Olympic National Park Visitor Center

One of the main visitor centers for the Olympic National Park is in Port Angeles. Sometimes it’s referred to as the Port Angeles Visitor Center. It’s located at 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, WA 98362. 

Here you can get your National Park Passport stamped, view the exhibits detailing the history of the park and get information and plan your exploration of the park.

Feiro Marine Life Center

Throughout Port Angeles and the surrounding areas of the Olympic Peninsula, there are many stunning places to observe marine life. At the Feiro Marine Life Center there are touch tanks to get up close and personal with many aquatic animals. 

Not only that, but they can offer tips and the best locations to visit tidepools in the area. If you’re planning on seeing some tidepools, stopping at the Marine Life Center first should be on your agenda!

Whale Watching

There are several different whale watching tour companies located in Port Angeles, WA. Cruising out to sea within the Strait of Juan de Fuca to Victoria, B.C. Canada’s harbor there are whales in these waters. 

Whales can be seen year round in Port Angeles but the best time to go on a whale watching tour is between March and November. The Olympic Peninsula has many great viewing spots to see whales as their pods swim these routes. 

Visit The Lavender Capital of North America

Adding to the list of things to do near Port Angeles, visit the nearby city of Sequim which is known as the lavender capital of North America. The best time of year to visit is mid-July to see the lavender in full bloom. 

There are many different farms you can visit. Most farms are open for visitors all summer and each has its own opening hours and offerings. 

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

The Marine Sanctuary is actually located farther away from Port Angeles. But, the Olympic Coast Discovery Center is located on the Port Angeles waterfront. 

The areas of Neah Bay, La Push, Kalaloch along the coast of the Olympic peninsula are a part of the Marine Sanctuary. These National Marine Sanctuaries (The Olympic Coast is one of 15 in the United States!) are important in an effort to conserve and protect marine wildlife and ecosystems. Basically it’s a National wildlife refuge area. 

Be sure to check the opening hours of the Discovery Center before your visit as they’re currently only open on Wednesdays and the weekends. During the offseason, hours may be limited so contact them prior to your visit.

Port Angeles Twilight Attractions

Located southwest of Port Angeles a little over an hour’s drive away is Forks, WA, a city put on the map by the Twilight books and movies written by Stephenie Meyer. This small town definitely plays it up with signs as referenced in the series as well as a lot of information and props in the tourist visitor center. 

In the books and movies, Bella Swan works at Newton’s Olympic Outfitters (which is actually fictional.) But, it’s based on an actual business in Forks, Forks Outfitters & Thriftway. This is a great place to pop in for snacks or anything you may need. They even have an onsite coffee shop. 

There are also several signs in the town of Forks indicating the treaty line and other nods to the fictional book series. If you’re a Twilight fan and in Port Angeles, you should definitely make the drive to Forks, WA. 

Day Trip to Victoria, Canada

You can take a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, B.C., Canada. Black ball ferry line leaves from the Port Angeles port. The journey only takes 90 minutes and you can sit back and enjoy the scenery of the stunning Strait of Juan de Fuca. 

Victoria has a lot to offer, so just a day trip if planned out can allow you time to see many of the major highlights. But I can’t promise you won’t want to return in the future to explore further!

NOTE: If you’re planning on taking the ferry to Canada even just for the day, be sure to bring your passport with you as you will be required to go through immigration at the pier. 

Where to stay

While exploring the area, we stayed a little outside of Port Angeles as we had our RV. It was the perfect serene location! Close to exploring Lake Crescent and areas of Olympic National Park while frequently eating and drinking all around Port Angeles. 

I added some additional places that I would recommend staying that are in Port Angeles proper. 

Crescent Beach Park RV

Located a little outside of Port Angeles, yet in close enough proximity to explore the city and the surrounding Olympic Peninsula including Olympic National Park, Crescent Beach Park RV was the perfect spot to stay! 

It was quiet and secluded and literally right across the beach. Taking early morning and late night strolls along the beach was a favorite while we lived out of our RV during a summer of relocation. This was one of the more remote spots we stayed, and our RV internet solution still worked well!

Salt Creek Recreation Area

If you’re looking to camp rather than have an RV, Salt Creek Recreation Area in Port Angeles, WA offers campsites for camping. You can also camp here in an RV as well.

Salt Creek also offers day use for picnicking, hiking via wooded trails, a trailhead to WDRN Striped Peak, and trails to a historic WWII bunker. 

Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles Harbor

Right along the harbor Red Lion has all of the amenities needed for an enjoyable trip to Port Angeles exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Amenities such as onsite parking, WiFi, an outdoor pool, and onsite dining! Pets are even allowed for a fee.

The great location is within walking distance of Kokopelli Grill and the Feiro Marine Life Center. 

Super 8 by Wyndham Port Angeles

Located on the outskirts of the downtown Port Angeles area, Super 8 Port Angeles is another great option! Especially if you’re partial to the Wyndham family of hotels and like to collect hotel rewards. 

The location is close enough to the action in Port Angeles without being in the thick of it. A short 5 min drive will bring you to the heart of Port Angeles to do some exploring. 

Port Angeles Inn

Located just blocks from the Port Angeles City Pier, Port Angeles Inn is in the middle of all the action in downtown Port Angeles. Offering harbor view rooms and convenient amenities such as a microwave, refrigerator, and coffee machine in the room makes this hotel the perfect base for your Olympic National Park adventures. 

Best Restaurants Port Angeles

Of course, where to eat in Port Angeles is one of my favorite things to plan and research before traveling somewhere! Let’s talk about the best places to eat in Port Angeles. Whether you’re spending the day around the city exploring or have worked up quite the appetite hiking in Olympic National Park there are many different great restaurants to have a quick bite or a nice sit down meal. 

Let’s review all of the great places we checked out while exploring Port Angeles.

Downriggers on the Water

This no-frills sports bar style American food focusing more on seafood options is the perfect place to snag a meal and beverage with a side of a beautiful view. 

Located right on the water in Port Angeles Downriggers is a great spot. 

Barhop Brewing & Artisan Pizza

Located on the Puget Sound waterfront parking was a little hard to come by so plan ahead for that! 

The beer was decent (honestly it really didn’t hold a candle to the beer options at Angeles Brewing Taproom) but the pizza was the best part of this spot! The tap list rotates at Barhop Brewing and they even provide the option to purchase pitchers of beer. (Beer pitchers are typically a steal during happy hour!)

close up of the pizza at barhop in Port Angeles, WA

Angeles Brewing Supplies & Taproom

This location is a quirky little local catch-all. What I mean by that is they offer beer on tap, bottles to go, and also all of your home brewing supplies. 

After spending a rainy day hiking in Olympic National Park it was a relaxing respite to have a few brews in the Angeles Brewing Taproom before having dinner. I love a great craft brew spot whether it’s a brewery or a local craft beer spot like this if I have time I’ll always pop in for a quick brew.

Beers at Angeles Brewing taproom in Port Angeles, WA

Hook & Line Pub

This pub is affiliated with Kokopeli Grill and is located right next door. The Hook & Line Pub is more for a casual meal with similar fresh seafood options but no frills. Offering mostly quick items such as chowders and fish and chips. 

Seasonally there is also an outdoor patio where you can enjoy your meal! 

Kokopelli Grill

This was our best meal in Port Angeles hands down! Kokopelli Grill was amazing. I seriously dream about the grilled oysters we had here. They were huge! 

This spot is open for dinner only from 3-10 PM and reservations are recommended! We didn’t have reservations and were lucky enough to snag a spot at the bar. 

A close up of grilled oysters at Kokopelli Grill in Port Angeles, WA

Wine Tasting in Port Angeles

Washington ranks second in the United States for the production of wine. Even though we typically prefer craft beer during our travels, we appreciate really great wine as well! 

While in the Port Angeles area, there are several great tasting rooms to experience the great wine the area has to offer. Add wine tasting in Port Angeles to the fun things to do in WA repository! Check out one of the wineries and tasting rooms listed below.

Harbinger Winery

Located just off Highway 101 West of the downtown area of Port Angeles you’ll find Harbinger Winery and Tasting Room. A relaxing tasting room where flights are offered in a more rustic setting with wine barrels along the walls and really approachable and friendly staff. 

If you’re not into wine they do also offer beer. While you’re having a drink chocolates as well as cheese are available to pair with your drink of choice.

Olympic Cellars

Hours for this winery are a little more limited. Olympic Cellars tasting room and “sipping deck” closes at 5:30 PM making this winery a little more difficult to fit into your Port Angeles itinerary unless you have a bit of time over the weekend or on a weekday afternoon. 

Since we were still working remotely while in Port Angeles, it was hard to explore as much during “banking hours”.  (Our weekends and days off were more dedicated to Olympic National Park.)

Camaraderie Cellars

Out of the wineries we visited in Port Angeles, Camaraderie Cellars was our absolute favorite! The owners were actually there when we were and we hung out with them and stayed a little later. We really enjoyed their wine and it was completely unpretentious and approachable.

I mean, we showed up in hiking gear and weren’t scoffed at or turned away so that says something about their truly warm and welcoming atmosphere. 

glass of red wine held up with a fire pit and people around it in the distance

Nearby Olympic National Park

The biggest attraction when in Port Angeles, WA is the nearby Olympic National Park. Visiting the National Parks across the state is one of the best things to do in WA (Washington). Washington has three National Parks, all distinctly different but incredibly beautiful. These parks are main points of interest in Washington state. 

You can definitely spend at least 3 days in Olympic National Park if you’re trying to stay closer to Port Angeles. 

However, Olympic National Park is a vast National Park enveloped by the Olympic National Forest with many different diverse landscapes. You can explore beaches and tidepools, rainforests, lakes, and mountains all within the Olympic Peninsula.

There are many hikes near Port Angeles, especially in the Lake Crescent area and near the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center. The Spruce Railroad Trail along Lake Crescent is definitely a favorite or the hike to the Sol Duc Falls! For more detailed information including where to stay and what to do within Olympic National Park check out my 3 day Olympic National Park itinerary

woman standing under the arch on Rialto beach at the hole in the wall arch

Things to do in Port Angeles FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions):

Can you fly into Port Angeles, WA?

Yes, there are two airports in the Port Angeles area. William R Fairchild Airport (CLM) in Port Angeles and Sekiu Airport in Sekiu. Both of these airports are smaller, so you will likely need to have a layover at another large airport. Flying into Seattle or Tacoma will be the most cost-effective and then driving to Port Angeles. 

How far is it from Port Angeles to Forks, WA?

From Port Angeles, WA to Forks, WA is just over 56 miles. Forks is located west of Port Angeles along Highway 101. It takes a little over an hour to drive from Port Angeles to Forks. You can drive using your vehicle or rental car but there is also a bus that can take you to Forks from Port Angeles. 

How much rain does Port Angeles, WA get?

Rain falls throughout the year in Port Angeles. Spring and Fall typically have the most rainfall. The month that usually sees the least rainfall is July. However, it can still rain during this time it’s just not as common! Annually Port Angeles, WA usually gets about 26 inches of rain.

How cold does it get in Port Angeles, WA?

The average temperature during the cold season is 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest time of year is typically November through March with December usually being the coldest month. During this timespan high temperatures can get up to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Port Angeles can get snow although it doesn’t usually accumulate. 

Why is it called Port Angeles?

It was originally named by a Spanish explorer who named it “El Puerto de Nuestra Senora de los Angeles” because it provided respite for those making a crossing of the strait when it was stormy. Later on, the name was shortened to Porto de Los Angeles and translated to Port Angeles, Washington.

What is Port Angeles known for?

Port Angeles is known for being the gateway to Olympic National Park. Olympic National Park is a very diverse National Park with many different ecosystems. Port Angeles is on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington in the northwesternmost corner of the United States. You can actually see Canada from here on a clear sunny day. 

Photo of the Port Angeles Washington Wharf sign

Final Thoughts: Things to do in Port Angeles, WA

Port Angeles is a great place to stay while exploring Olympic National Park. But, beyond the National Park, there is a lot to do and see throughout Port Angeles to keep you busy!

Washington is an amazing state. We spent much of July exploring all three the National Parks such as Mount Rainier, North Cascades, and other areas including time in Anacortes, taking a boat tour to the nearby San Juan Islands, and Whidbey Island. Washington’s things to do definitely include exploring the diversity the Pacific Northwest has to offer!

I hope this helped to plan your travels to this marvelous city of Port Angeles located on the Olympic Peninsula!

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