Whether you are staying in Port Angeles as a base for your Olympic Peninsula explorations, or just stopping in before taking the ferry to Vancouver Island for an epic road trip, this area has so much to offer! Having a week or more to explore would be ideal, but if you are strapped for time, here are some ideas to make the most of your quick trip to Port Angeles, Washington:
Explore the Dungeness National Wildlife Area
This beautiful area is about 30-minutes east of Port Angeles. It has fantastic views of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and many options for hiking and wildlife observations. A small entry fee of $3 is collected at a self-pay station near the parking lot.
If you are up for a long day of hiking, there is a 5-mile hike along the spit out to the Dungeness Lighthouse. Free guided tours of the lighthouse tower and museum are available from 9a.m.-5p.m., 7 days a week. However, it is key to check the tides before heading out. Make sure the tide will be low during your entire outing – otherwise you will be climbing over logs the entire time.
For a shorter hike, check out the spit overlook (only about half a mile). Or walk down the somewhat steep hill to the beach and look for seals before heading back to your car.
Even more hiking options are available at the nearby Dungeness Recreation Area – including a 1-mile trail along the bluffs. And, there is no fee to park here.
Take the Ferry to Victoria, BC
If time allows, this is a can’t-miss excursion from Port Angeles. The Black Ball Ferry Line has multiple daily departures to Victoria throughout most of the year. And, the 90-minute ferry ride itself makes for a wonderful time – with chances to spot birds and sea life. They even play a catchy jingle when you arrive that will definitely put a smile on your face!
For the most affordable option, spend about $40 for a round-trip, walk-on passenger ticket. And if it happens to be your birthday on the day you take the ferry, your fare is free! (A drive-on option is also available if you would like to do more than a walking tour of Victoria.)
Once in Victoria, spend the day exploring the nearby museums and attractions before taking the afternoon ferry back to the U.S. The Parliament Building is just a short 5-minute walk from the ferry terminal, and offers tours on weekdays. Other places of interest within walking distance include: the Royal BC Museum, Fairmount Empress and Fisherman’s Wharf.
NOTE: A passport is needed to enter Victoria. And, the border patrol will ask you why you are there – so be prepared with a good answer. “Just visiting” usually won’t cut it. They want something more like: “We are here for 5 hours and plan to take the Parliament Building tour, have afternoon tea at the Fairmount Empress, and then walk to Fisherman’s Wharf before leaving.”
Visit Olympic National Park
This rainforest is insaneley beautiful. And only having a day or two to spend in an area with so many places to explore can be a struggle. We suggest focusing on one or two areas so you aren’t rushed and have an opportunity to really explore.
On our trip, we chose to visit Lake Crescent, but Hurricane Ridge is another must-see if time allows and weather cooperates. Although it is a bit further away from Port Angeles (~2 hours), the Hoh Rainforest is also a great option for a day trip.
Even just driving through parts of Olympic National Park can make for a magical experience. And, if you are staying in Port Angeles, you are just too close not to at least make a short visit!
Stay in a Local B&B
No matter what activities you choose, you are bound to be exhausted after a long day of exploring. Make sure you’ve picked a relaxing place to crash for the night – bonus if that place includes amazing views!
For our quick trip to Port Angeles, we chose to stay at Domaine Madeleine. We love to stay at locally-owned places whenever possible. And, with great views, wonderful food and a beautiful room, this B&B was the perfect place to rest after our adventures.
Other Activities Near Port Angeles
- Underground Heritage Tour
- Whale watching tour
- Lavendar Farm
- Local wine, beer or cider tours
- Tide pooling
We received a special rate for our stay with Domaine Madeleine, however our opinions are always our own.