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Charming Towns on the Olympic Peninsula

Nestled within the enchanting landscape of the Olympic Peninsula, small towns welcome you with a charm that boast rich history, culture and quaint downtowns that offer artisan shops, a budding local food scene and endless outdoor adventure. This idyllic region, located in the northwestern corner of Washington State, is a haven where lush evergreen forests meet the rugged coastline of the Pacific Ocean.

Port Angeles from the Harbour

Port Angeles from the Harbor.

1. Port Angeles

While Port Angeles is the largest city on the Olympic Peninsula with a population of about 20,000, it maintains its small, serene charm at the foot of the towering Olympic Mountains. Port Angeles is adventure-filled, beautiful, and historic, making the seaside town a stunning first stop on your way through the Olympic Peninsula. It is also the gateway to Olympic National Park, a bucket-list destination in its own right. Nearly a million acres large, Olympic National Park encompasses a diverse eco system including lush rain forests, a glacier-fed lake, mountain ranges, and coastal ocean beaches. Perfect for day-trip exploration, the town is an immediate access point to Hurricane Ridge, a popular spot for hiking, biking, camping, and more.

Within the town's downtown core, dive deeper into the area’s history by embarking on the Port Angeles Underground Heritage Tour. The city walking tour invites you through Port Angeles’ underground network of tunnels and store fronts from the early 1900s.

City of Forks

City of Forks Welcomes You!

2. Forks

Boasting a prime location between the Olympic Mountains and the sprawling coast of the Pacific Ocean, the town of Forks, Washington is a top tier Olympic Peninsula destination! Forks is surrounded by several must-see destinations including Rialto Beach, the Hoh Rain Forest, Kalaloch Beach, Lake Ozette, Cape Flattery, Lake Crescent, Sol Duc Falls, and more. Soaking in the beauty of these natural wonders, it is clear why the rainy town was chosen as the mystical home of the Twilight Saga. Keep your eyes peeled for vampires and werewolves as you explore the rainforest! During your visit to Forks, you’ll want to embrace the town’s charm by visiting one of their unique museums, including the Forks Timber Museum, John’s Beachcombing Museum, Makah Museum, and even the Twilight Collection Museum. Don’t forget to stop in at Bella Italia, the restaurant where Edward and Bella shared their first date, for some delicious pizza, pasta (including the famous mushroom ravioli that Bella ate!), and prosecco.

Port Townsend 

Port Townsend on the water.

3. Port Townsend

With its rich history, quaint Victorian architecture, and something to see and do for everyone, Port Townsend is the quintessential small-town getaway. Port Townsend is located on the North Eastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula where the land meets the sea. If you are an ocean lover, you can sail, kayak, row, fish, go crabbing, or take a whale watching excursion off the coast. Back on shore, you can explore Fort Worden State Park, a turn-of-the-century army base located only 1.5 miles from the town’s downtown core. Within the park, you’ll find historical sites, saltwater beaches, and miles of trails.

A stay in Port Townsend is a foodie’s dream! The town boasts farm-to-fork goodness and mouth watering, fresh seafood. For waterfront views and a full menu of seafood and other fixings, make sure to stop in at Doc’s Marina Grill. If you have a love for antiques and collectibles, Port Townsend has an abundance of local, owner operated stores where you’ll be sure to strike gold!

Lavender Fields in Sequim

Lavender Fields in Sequim.

4. Sequim

Located along the Dungeness River at the base of the Olympic Mountains, Sequim is full of small-town charm and a popular gateway destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Find paradise while hiking towering forests, biking along the Olympic Discovery Trail, or fishing in fresh or saltwater. Sequim is also the cultural center of the Sequim-Dungeness Valley with a wide range of shopping, restaurants, and activities. In charming downtown Sequim, you can scour locally owned shops, catch live theater performances, and enjoy a nourishing meal.

Don’t forget to visit during the annual Sequim Lavender Festival in July, and see why the town is dubbed the “Lavender Capital of North America.” Sunny Sequim is an unbeatable location for lavender crops as it is one of the driest areas of Washington. If you can’t make it for Lavender Festival, the town’s celebration of all things lavender, be sure to visit in the summer season to see Sequim in bloom!

Lake Quinault

Sun setting over Lake Quinault.

5. Quinault

Quinault is a small, unincorporated community bordering Olympic Peninsula’s Lake Quinault. You will find many trails and recreational areas surrounding the town, including the Quinault Loop Trailhead, where you can embark on endless adventure. The area boasts lush, rainforest ecosystems surrounding a picturesque lake, connecting visitors with waterfalls, wildlife, and so much more natural beauty. In town, the Lake Quinault Museum is housed in the town’s original post office, teaching visitors about the rich history of the area. There is also a general store, Quinault Mercantile, where you can stop in to grab souvenirs, groceries, and snacks. Plus, visit the historic Lake Quinault Lodge, a rustic resort hotel that has been around for almost 100 years! Built in 1926, the Lodge has traditional style architecture and lake views. Quinault is a small, historic town that is well worth a visit – located in an area that will make you want to stay.

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