The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most diverse places to stay in Washington, thanks to Olympic National Park, which takes up most of the area. Want to visit the coast? No problem. Prefer to go hiking in the mountains? They have that, too.
That’s why I visit this area at least once a year, as I have a goal to eventually see all the places and do most of the hikes here. However, making a day trip from Seattle has you looking at a long day, so I prefer to stay in Port Angeles. This area is the perfect base for any adventures you want to do on the Peninsula, and there are plenty of things to do in Port Angeles as well.
There’s plenty of options to choose from, whether you prefer to stay indoors or outdoors when you visit. Here are some of the best things to do in Port Angeles, whether you’re stopping by for the day or are staying longer on your trip.
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1. Learn About Sea Life at Feiro Marine Life Center
One of the best things to do in Port Angeles when it’s raining is to stop by the Feiro Marine Life Center. This small center is right by the waterfront and has multiple touching pools inside so you can see and touch starfish, sea anemones, and more. My toddler loved seeing these so close up as well as the other fish in the tanks.
They also have many informative displays about the general sea life in the Pacific Northwest. When you’re done going through the exhibits, you can head outside to the beach to see if you can find more sea life when the tide goes down.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids ages 3-17, and free for kids under 3.
2. Play at an Arcade
When you’re looking for what to do in Port Angeles while staying dry, you’ll love visiting The Arcade at Port Angeles Wharf. They have rides for small kids and air hockey, basketball, skee ball, and plenty of old-school arcade games.
If you work up an appetite after playing here, you can stop in the same building to eat at Smuggler’s Landing or Downriggers on the Water for a quick bite. The Wharf is next to the Feiro Marine Life Center, so you can easily make an afternoon out of hanging out in this area when you need things to see in Port Angeles.
3. Taste Local Wine
One of my favorite activities to do when visiting a new place is to try out any local wineries they may have. Port Angeles has multiple sites in the city to stop at if you want to wine taste or take a few bottles home.
- Harbinger Winery – This winery is in a large ex-logging truck shop and a cozy place to wine taste for the afternoon. I personally loved their off-white Reisling and Sauvignon Blanc (and got them both to take home). They’re also kid-friendly!
- Camaraderie Cellars – They have a beautiful area outdoors and indoors to wine taste and have been in business for decades (currently appointment only for wine tasting).
- Olympic Cellars – Known as the home of the “working girls,” this family-owned, women-operated winery has fun wines like Rosé the Riveter and Go Girl Red.
4. Try Local Food
After all that wine tasting, you’ll probably need to get some food in you. Luckily, there are tons of Port Angeles restaurants to visit, depending on what you want.
- Barhop Brewing & Artisan Pizza – I love the casual atmosphere of this restaurant where you can watch sports on their TVs, bring your kids, and enjoy tasty pizza and local beer.
- Next Door Gastropub – This restaurant is in the middle of downtown and has an outdoor patio for nice weather and cozy booths inside for rainy days. It’s a fun place for a date or happy hour with friends and good cocktails.
- Smugglers Landing – You’ll love this waterfront restaurant with a solid selection of breakfast items as well as burgers and fish and chips for lunch or dinner.
5. Shop at the Farmers’ Market
You can stock up on local food for the weekend at the Saturday Farmers’ Market. Unlike many other markets in the state, this one is open year-round, rain or shine, making it one of the best Port Angeles attractions.
Their hours are Saturdays from 10 am to 2 pm, so stop there to stock up on bread, pastries, produce, meat, artwork, and more.
6. Take the Ferry to Canada
If you’re looking for things to do in Port Angeles for the day or to extend your trip, you can take the Black Ball Ferry directly from the waterfront to Canada! You’ll need to follow the current international protocols and make sure you have your passport or proper identification in advance, but this is a fun activity to do.
The ferry will take you to Victoria, and you can take your car on board if you’ll be exploring past there. However, the city is pretty walkable, so I suggest saving money and the hassle of finding parking and walking on the ferry as a passenger instead. The ferry leaves twice a day so that you can get on in the morning or the afternoon.
If you don’t want to make the journey to Vancouver Island, you can also just come down to the waterfront to watch the boats go by. Nighttime is a particularly fun time to see them all light up.
7. Walk or Bike on Ediz Hook
When you want to see a different view of the city, head out to Ediz Hook. This area is a three-mile spit that starts from the Port Angeles Boat Haven and goes out into the water. You can walk or take a bike along the spit to enjoy the views along the way.
On a clear day, you can see the snow-capped mountains in all their glory, which is one reason this is one of my favorite small towns in Washington state. If you’re fortunate, you may see some seals or even whales passing by. Visiting Ediz Hook is ideal when you’re looking for free things to do in Port Angeles during your trip.
8. Go on a Hike
While not directly in the city, Port Angeles makes a fantastic base for any hikes on the Olympic Peninsula that you want to do. Some hikes are less than half an hour away, while you’ll be driving several hours for hikes on the coast or in the rainforest. You can also extend your day by looking at a one day itinerary for Olympic National Park.
As always with my hiking recommendations, make sure you look on the WTA website for any closures you need to know about and read recent trail reviews. If you go during the winter, make sure to bring proper winter hiking clothes with you.
Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc is one of my favorite waterfall hikes in Washington because it’s such a stunning fall, especially after it’s rained recently. This hike is about a mile through the forest with only slight elevation gain, making it suitable for kids or those who aren’t used to long walks. You’ll love getting out here for a hike when looking for things to do near Port Angeles that are active.
You’ll come to a bridge and waterfall about halfway through, but make sure to keep going on to see the much larger Sol Duc Falls at the end. Once you get there, you can choose to extend your hike with several different hikes by following the signs.
Marymere Falls is only half an hour away from Port Angeles and one of the easier Washington hikes, meaning it’s popular That means you’ll want to get to the trailhead early if you go during a peak time like summer. You’ll walk through the forest for about a mile, go over a river, and then head up some pretty steep stairs to get to the viewing platform for the waterfall.
This hike is perfect when you want a longer one to fill up your day or go on an Olympic Peninsula road trip to see the ocean. The “triangle” hike has you hike three miles one of two ways through the forest to the sea, and then you’ll have three miles of walking along the shore (making it nine miles total).
If you want to make it shorter, you can also go the three miles one way to the ocean and come back for six miles roundtrip. You need to be aware that you’ll have to check the tide tables if you hike along the ocean so you don’t get stuck, so plan your trip accordingly. There are also several campsites that you can reserve in advance if you want to backpack out here.
9. Enjoy the View
There are many places to stay in Port Angeles, whether you’re looking for a hotel or a vacation rental. The best part is many of them are either near the water or have a view of the water, as the majority of the homes are up on the hill overlooking Salish Sea (and Canada!). While I love exploring during the day, nothing beats coming back home to relax with a stunning view after.
Here are a few hotels in Port Angeles to choose from during your trip:
- This motel offers free WiFi, a flat-screen TV in each room and is a 5-minute walk from the Port Angeles Ferry Terminal.(rates start at $85 per night)
- This hotel offers a seasonal outdoor pool, a restaurant and lounge and spacious rooms with free Wi-Fi. (rates start at $94 per night)
- This lodge-style hotel features an outdoor pool, cable TV and is just 2 miles from the Olympic National Park Visitors Center. (rates start at $149 per night)
If you prefer a vacation rental, here are some good options:
- This Victorian vacation home is minutes from downtown Port Angeles and comes with a covered hot tub and a deck that has views of the water. This three-bedroom house was perfect when my family of four stayed there. (rates start at $211 per night)
- This two-story unit in a refinished house sleeps 5, has a full kitchen, dining area and living room. It also features a wooden front porch that overlooks the harbor. (rates start at $200 per night)
- The Gateway House sleeps 6, has incredible ocean views and is a fantastic location just down the street from Olympic National Park. (rates start at $220 per night)
If you’d rather stay closer to the park, I have a whole post on where to stay in Olympic National Park.
10. Explore Salt Creek Recreation Area
This area is about 20 minutes west of Port Angeles and a fun place for things to do around Port Angeles. While there are campgrounds here to stay at, there are also parking spots for daily visits. You’ll be able to see the ocean from here and take the stairs down when the tide goes out. The area has some of the best tide pooling in the region, so keep an eye out for creatures around the tide.
If you’re a scuba diver, you’ll love having access to one of the top shore diving spots in the state. The underwater park has wolf eels, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, and anemones, among other creatures. Fall and summer are the best time to visit the kelp forest underwater.
For those who prefer to stay dry and want fun things to do in Port Angeles, there’s a playground that kids will love getting their energy out on. History buffs will also enjoy the WWII bunkers, which are from the 1940s when the area was known as Camp Hayden.
11. Shop Local
In addition to a variety of restaurants in downtown Port Angeles, there are plenty of places to shop. They have a variety of antique shops with unique finds, so make sure to check that out if you love antiquing.
They also have outdoor clothing and gear stores if you forgot something for your hike or need to stock up on new items. I recommend stopping at some of the boutique shops for cute souvenirs or items for your home.
Another great rainy day activity is viewing the art galleries (and purchasing art if you find any you love).
12. Visit Lake Crescent
One of my favorite places to visit in Olympic National Park is Lake Crescent, which is a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains. This is where the trailhead for Marymere Falls and Mount Storm King is if you’re in the mood for a hike. You can also rent boats from Lake Crescent Lodge in the summertime to enjoy the beautiful weather.
That should give you plenty of ideas of things to do in Port Angeles – now enjoy your visit!