Whether you are here for travel, events, or activities, plan for no less than two days in Port Townsend and preferably 3-5 days to see Port Townsend and some of the surrounding area. Port Townsend is a great walking community (download Walking map), so bring your comfortable shoes and enjoy! Ideally located to take day trips, print this Port Townsend Vacation Planner, unpack your bag and settle in for a few days to enjoy the Olympic Peninsula!
HISTORIC DOWNTOWN DISTRICT: Home to the first Main Street Program in Washington State, Port Townsend remains a model for historic preservation and revitalization of downtown businesses. Many of the buildings are original and have gone through extensive renovation to preserve the historic quality of the busy seaport village of the 1890’s. Check out:
- Museum of the Jefferson County Historical Society, located in the historic City Hall building.
- Walk out on Union Wharf to get a nice view of the Victorian buildings from the water. HISTORIC UPTOWN AREA: In the early 1890’s, Port Townsend was destined to be the major seaport of the Puget Sound. Thousands of people flocked here to start businesses and built large beautiful homes, many of which can be seen as you drive through the historic district.
- The James House, a private home next door to A Bungalow & Hideaway on the Bluff is certainly one of the most prominent, situated on the bluff overlooking Port Townsend Bay. If you love Victorian architecture, don’t miss driving through the uptown historic district! We also have self guided Walking Tour maps available for you to borrow, and this is a fabulous way to explore Port Townsend.
- A tour of The Rothschild House, furnished in period pieces and is a wonderful example of a modest turn of the century home.
- The uptown business area hosts some very fine restaurants as well as Aldrich’s Market, a great local market for fresh produce, meats, deli and spirits. The uptown area hosts our local farmer’s market from May through October.
ART, ARTISANS, and CRAFTSMEN: Port Townsend is a community blessed with many talented individuals who have discovered the “magic” of the area. Some say it is the clean air, others say it is the magnetic quality of the Olympic Mountains—one thing for sure, is that Port Townsend brings out the creative, artistic qualities of the people who call this home.
- Stroll along Water Street and see the abundance of galleries, cultural and artistic activities which are available year round in Port Townsend. October brings visitors for the Open Studio tour but many of our local artists will gladly welcome you to their studio with advance notice.
- Walk to the end of Water Street and continue along Port Hudson marina and see many of the businesses which continue to make this a true seaport village. Pygmy Kayaks, The Sail Loft, Port Hudson marina, and The Wooden Boat Foundation all make significant contributions to maintaining this important link to our past.
- Check out the Northwest Maritime Center located at the north end of Water Street. Besides having a stunning view, you can often see boat builders working on projects. It is a nice place to sit and take in the sights and sounds of Puget Sound.
FARMERS, FOOD, & SPIRITS: Our area is home to several organic farms producing some of the best local produce you will find anywhere!
- During the spring, summer, and fall you can find fresh picked produce at the local farmer’s markets, but you can also buy it at our local Port Townsend Food Coop year round.
- Port Townsend Creamery produces wonderful national award winning local cheeses, also found at the Coop and Aldrich’s Market.
- Pan D’Amore bakes fabulous breads daily, as well as other delicious goodies. A good place to stop by for a quick nibble or lunch. Closes at 3:00 pm.
- Buy fish and crab right off the fishing boats in the local marina. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!
- Taste local ales produced at Port Townsend Brewing Company.
- Check out our local winery, FairWinds Winery, which has small tasting rooms open to the public
FORT WORDEN STATE PARK: Located within the city limits, this one time Army post hosts a working lighthouse, wonderful sandy beaches, miles of walking trails, and knockout views of Mt. Baker and the entire Cascade Mountain Range. On a clear day, you really can see forever! Download Fort Worden Hikes & Trails Map. The park is home to:
- Centrum the host organization to major arts events throughout the year.
- Marine Science Center
- Madrona Mind Body Institute
- Port Townsend School of Woodworking
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES: Golf, hiking, walking, biking, boating, fishing, whale watching ……you name it, we have it! Port Townsend is just a great place to be outdoors! The weather is fairly moderate year round, with no extremes of temperature and less rain than most of Puget Sound. You can easily spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days exploring the many outdoor activities available to you. Download a walking map of Port Townsend here!
There are literally dozens of hiking trails in and around Port Townsend. For serious hikers and back packers, there are an abundance of medium to advanced trails that will take you through the most spectacular scenery in the pacific northwest. An example is the Dosewallips State Park. There are trails for everyone here, whether an easy day hike or a more serious multi-day trek. The trail up the Dosewallips River is home to one of the best traverses of the Olympic National Park. For more information, click here.
BIKING : For those interested in biking, Port Townsend is a bike friendly community. The Larry Scott Trail follows the old railway route along the water for several miles, and will eventually link up with the Discovery Olympic Trail all the way to the Pacific coast! Click here for a printable bicycle map of Port Townsend and the entire Olympic Peninsula. Port Townsend is also on a major bike route, connecting the west coast to Canada and Mexico.
Lodging Opportunities in western Olympic Peninsula: Lodging opportunities are rather sparse towards the western part of the Olympic Peninsula, so here are some ideas for those planning on traveling west: Forks: Check the Chamber of Commerce for local listings. La Push: the local favorite is Oceanside Resort. Kalaloch Lodge Lake Quinault Lodge