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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 things to do in Port Angeles, Washington for a quick trip.

Explore the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge

The Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge is a beautiful area about 30-minutes east of Port Angeles, and just one of the many things to do in 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.

Dungeness Spit map

If you are up for a long day of hiking, there is a 5-mile hike along the Dungeness 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 to the Dungeness Lighthouse. Make sure the tide will be low during your entire outing – otherwise you will be climbing over logs the entire time.

Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance from the short showing the logs on the beach

For a shorter hike, check out the Dungeness 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.

Spotting Scope looking out towards the Dungeness Lighthouse from the Dungeness Split overlook

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.

Beach shoreline in the Dungeness Recreation Area in Port Angeles, Washington

Take the Ferry to Victoria, BC

While probably one of the most well-known things to do in Port Angeles, if time allows, taking the ferry to Victoria is a can’t-miss excursion. 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!

Gloomy day leaving Port Angeles

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.)

Water taxi with Canadian flag in Victoria, British Columbia

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.

The marina and Parliament building in Victoria, British Columbia

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.”

Leaving Victoria on the Black Ball ferry headed back to Port Angeles

Visit Olympic National Park

This rainforest is insanely beautiful, so you must visit Olympic National Park. 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.

Cloudy day at Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park, Washington

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.

Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park

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!

The wet road covered in leaves in Olympic National Park, Washington

Where to Stay in Port Angeles

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 stay in Port Angeles for the night, or nights – bonus if that place includes amazing views!

The back yard at Domaine Madeleine had a beautiful view of the ocean

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 in Port Angeles.

Our room and view at Domaine Madeleine, which is a great base for all the things to do in Port Angeles

Other Things To Do in Port Angeles

We received a special rate for our stay with Domaine Madeleine, however our opinions are always our own. 

Things To Do in Port Angeles, Washington