As mentioned in my intro page, Port Angeles is a great base for visiting the northern sections of Olympic National Park. I've covered the park in detail in my Olympic pages so please reference those if interested in exploring the alpine and low forest regions near town, and expanding your adventure to the rain forest and coastal sections just a few hours away. This is a truly magnificent park that offers easy walks, gorgeous viewpoints, hiking, camping, wilderness backpacking and beachcombing within unique and beautiful ecosystems.
From the terminal on the waterfront downtown, you can catch a ferry to Victoria, British Columbia and be there in 55 to 90 minutes. There are two ferry companies and their services range from passenger-only day trips to overnight packages to taking your bike or vehicle with you for further exploration of Canada. One sails only seasonally and the other, year round - rates vary considerably depending on how many passengers, size of vehicle (if taking one), package inclusions, etc. One of them also lists Vancouver as a destination but information seems to be unavailable at time of this writing. Victoria Express (passenger only ship) also makes trips between Victoria and Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. See my tip under "Transportation" for info on Washington State ferries to the Olympic peninsula from Seattle.
The link below will bring you to a master page with further links to both cruise lines. One caution: non-Canadian citizens will need a passport or other valid identification documents to enter Victoria - same goes for non-US citizens coming from Canada to Port Angeles. Please read each company's information on this carefully and call them if you have any questions. Also, be aware that having a criminal record (including drunk driving - a felony in Canada) will likely deny you entrance. Refer to this website for more information on that before booking a cruise :
There are also special requirements for minors traveling with grandparents, one parent or legal guardian - see this website for documentation requirements:
The Sol Duc Hot springs are natural mineral springs smack dab in the old growth forests of the Olympic National Park. It is a relaxing place, yet will still be fun for your little ones (if you have any). Even when it is cloudy, the ambiance and views are gorgeous.
Daily prices are $11 for adults, kids 4-12 $8 and kids 1-3 are free.
See their website for full information.
Although a bit of a drive, a local suggested this as something to do while I was in Port Angeles (although I was planning on it for the next day so I didn't go).
Crescent Lake is a good-sized glacial lake in the northwestern portion of Olympic National Park. It is flanked on the southern shore by US 101 and is surrounded by beautiful peaks. There is a ranger station/information center, boat dock, picnic area and a form of lodging ("Log Cabin Resort"). It's a beautiful spot.
There's also a lesser-known back road, which follows the northshore briefly and takes you to Highway 112 and the Strait of San Juan de Fuca, that is signed as the turn-off for Lake Crescent Lodge just before you come onto Lake Crescent on the 101. You take this as a loop back to Port Angeles and hit some stuff on the Strait on the way back.
Right off the 101 between Port Angeles and Sequim, this is one of the few wineries on the Olympic Peninsula. The Peninsula is actually not an ideal area for growing grapes, and, until this year, the grapes in their wines came from the Yakima area.
Honestly, I didn't think much of the wines. However, a tasting (you get 5) is only $2/person, and it's right off the highway. Plus, you get some great views of the mountains from their parking lot. So why not??
Heart O' the Hills is a campground and ranger station on the road from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge. It's not much, but Hurricane Ridge was closed the day I was there due to snow on the road, so I ended up hiking in the woods and had a great time.
If you start early (I didn't), you can get to Lake Angeles and back for a short dayhike. There is also a waterfall about 4 miles in on another trail that starts here. But even strolling around the old growth forest is great.
Olympic National Park is probably the number one reason why tourists visit Port Angeles. The city is known as the gateway to the park and is located within close proximity to Hurricane Ridge, Elwha and Sol Duc. The city can be used as a base for exploring parts of the park, especially in the non-summer off season when park facilities are closed.
For more information, feel free to visit my Olympic National Park page.
Elwha Valley is a very beautiful, off-the-beaten-track valley. The main things to do in the valley include Madison Falls, which is accessible by a short trail, Lake Mills, a reservoir, and hiking. You can hike to Whiskey Bend (which I didn't do) or to Olympic Hot Springs (which I did). The Olympic Hot Springs Trail really isn't that great if you aren't getting in the hot springs. The Olympic Hot Springs are not recommended for use by the park service, which claims no responsibility if anything happens to you in them.
From Port Angeles, an 18-mile road leads from sea level to 5200 feet at Hurricane Ridge, a beautiful spot where you can see a good portion of the Olympic mountains. There is a visitor center at Hurricane Ridge, as well as a variety of trails. Just about anyone can walk the easy Meadow Loop, only 1/4-mile long. A bit steeper, but still very easy is the half-mile Ridge Trail, which has better views. For a longer hike, take the 3-mile round trip Hurricane Hill Trail which leads to the summit of Hurricane Hill. Along the trail, you get views of surrounding peaks and valleys. Hurricane Ridge can be cold and windy year-round, so even if it's midsummer, bring a coat and prepare for the possibility of snow.
From the dock/pier (I forget what it's called, sorry), you can get a good view of the town of Port Angeles, Ediz Hook, the Olympic Mountains, and incoming ferries from Victoria, British Columbia. Sunset is a good time to visit.
Northwest Duty Free Store
You can buy alcohol at duty free prices (cigarettes too if you're so inclined). You definitely want to pick up a litre per person, because the prices at the Government liquor stores in B.C. are outrageous. Maybe I should have put this under Cultural Tips. LOL
Go to a concert in the park. Dance to a big band.
People brought their picnic dinners, their chairs and their blankets, and they were going to stay for the concert in spite of the fact that it was raining (they brought umbrellas too). Kind of hard to dance holding umbrellas, but guess people in this part of the country are used to it.
Spend 77 dollars for 4-5 hours on the water kayaking. You'll see a variety of marine life, birds, sea lions, and maybe a whale if you're lucky...I wasn't, but still a great time.
Walk around town and look at all the public art.
All public art is unique, don't you think?
Doubt if there are sand sculptures here all year, given the temporary nature of them, but you never know.