Port Angeles is the largest city in the Olympic Peninsula region of Washington, dubbed as the "Center of it All" for the specific part of the state. It is the county seat of Clallam County. It's a great place to start for a day trip to Hurricane Ridge or a vacation to explore all of the Olympic National Park. Outdoor sports like kayaking, biking or hiking are very popular, while the quaint shops attract shoppers downtown and the expansive waterfront provides relaxation. With ferries coming and going all day, Port Angeles is the departure point for a trip to Victoria (British Columbia). Beautiful Pacific beaches are nearby and the lavender fields and berry farms of Sequim beckon all summer. Port Angeles is the place to be when it comes to experiencing all that the Olympic Peninsula has to offer.
Due to the vast and spreading area, this article covers listings as far west as Joyce on Highway 112 towards Neah Bay.
Port Angeles is on the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula at the northwestern side of the state of Washington in the United States. Comparably however, it is closer to Victoria (British Columbia's capital) than the state capital of Olympia!
Like most of Washington, the development of the city revolves around its nature. Pitted closely by the Olympic National Park and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles is the gateway for outdoor adventure, with roads leading to breathtaking lakes, stunning vistas, and the towering Olympics. Though notably less notorious than its 'angelic' counterpart in California, this quiet town had its great times when the explorers map the area and traders set posts there thanks to its deep waters.
The area around Port Angeles was inhabited predominantly by the Indian tribes of Klallam and Makah in an area abundant of natural resources: coniferous forests and deep blue sea that sustain prolific wildlife & marine life for daily survivals.
The first non-native sighting of the peninsula was made by explorer Juan Perez in 1774, while the first sailing along the Strait of Juan de Fuca was recorded by Captain Charles Barkley who named the water body after the Greek explorer (Ioannis Phokas) striving to seek the Strait of Anián, which legend has it is actually this same water passage. The city was then named "The Port of Our Lady of the Angels" by Spanish explorer Francisco Eliza in 1791 as it provides a haven from the rough seas of the strait, before it was incorporated to the namesake town in 1861.
Port Angeles' prime location attracts a couple aspiring businessmen to set afoot and develop the land further. Beginning with a port of entry for imported goods in the 1860s to being a federal townsite for lighthouse & military. It was the second city fully plot by the federal government after Washington, D.C, earning the city a nickname "Second National City". Alongside the federal government, entrepreneurs were trying their luck by erecting timber businesses and a fisherman wharf, and along with it commercial industries for incoming settlements. Through the next 100 years, some of the largest sawmills have bankrupted and replaced by other money-making sectors, yet the city has always been a lovable place to live: not too quiet like a village, but not too crowded like metropolitan cities.
Today, the city has a population of around 50,000 with both outside settlements and Indian natives living in harmony.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Like the rest of western Washington, most of the rain falls in fall and winter before tapering off in spring and gloriously sunny on most summer days. Comparatively speaking however, the amount of rain the city gets is one of the lowest in the peninsula at 25 inches thanks to the Olympic rain shadow; Forks, a town 60 miles west of Port Angeles, gets more than thrice the amount of annual rainfall!
Though snow is a rare occurrence, it is more susceptible than Seattle due to its unique topography: frigid cold air that occasionally blows from Canada slams into the Olympics above Port Angeles, often times keeping the low temperature longer than other areas of the peninsula.
Thanks to the moderating ocean effect, summers are comfortably warm with high temperatures usually no higher than the 70s (F, about 26°C), and winter temperatures rarely fall below freezing except during the above situation.
Travelers from Seattle or points north can get into the area in just 2 hours using a ferry from Edmonds to Kingston, and then continuing to Route 104 before merging with Highway 101. Travelers from south of Seattle can take the Interstate 5, exit to Highway 16 (passing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge) through the Kitsap Peninsula, before merging with the Highway 101 portion that goes along the Hood Canal. Travelers from Olympia or points south can get off I-5 at Hwy 101 and follow the road through Shelton, Brinon and the Hood Canal up to Port Angeles.
The William R. Fairchild International Airport (CLM IATA) is on the west side of the city. The airport is used primarily for charter and general aviation purposes. The nearest airports for commercial flights are Victoria International Airport (YYJ IATA) in Sidney, BC, 27km north of Victoria; and Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA IATA) in Seattle. Be sure to have the proper travel documents to cross the border between Canada and the United States if arriving and/or departing through Victoria.
See the other modes of transportation below for traveling into Port Angeles from both Seattle and Victoria.
Port Angeles has a direct connection to Victoria, BC at Canada's Vancouver Island. One can also get to the roads towards Port Angeles after using the Washington State Ferries that dock at Port Townsend or Kingston.
- 1 MV Coho by Blackball Transport, 101 E Railroad, ☏ . Vehicle ferry service from Victoria (British Columbia), 2 to 4 times a day depending on the season. The Coho, being a classic 1959 ferry, practically makes the journey worth it. $63 for car and driver (0-18ft)+$5.25 per lineal ft over 18ft. $18 per adult passenger & $9 per child..
- Washington State Ferries, ☏ , toll-free: . The nearest ferry terminals to Port Angeles are:
Port Angeles Boat Haven is nestled in the nook of Ediz Hook and is a direct route from Victoria (British Columbia). It is a perfect stop over for boaters plying the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound.
The main bus station is at the downtown 2 Gateway Transit Center for Clallam Transit and Olympic Bus Lines at 123 E Front St, at Front & Lincoln, a couple blocks SE of the ferry terminal. Buses travel along US Hwy 101 between Forks, Port Angeles & Sequim. They do not go into the Olympic National Park. They can only drop off along the main road and it is up to the individual to hike into the park or arrange other transportation into the park:
- Clallam Transit provides the Strait Shot to the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal (#123), to Forks (#14), Sequim (#30), Joyce & Lyre River(#10), and Neah Bay (#14 to the US Hwy 101/SR 113 junction in Sappho and the #16 bus to Neah Bay from Sappho). Routes #10, 14 and 30 also make local stops on their way into and out of town. The "Strait Shot" (#123) runs twice daily (M-Sa) and once on Sundays towards the Bainbridge Island Ferry Terminal with limited stops in Sequim, Jamestown, Discovery Bay, Suquamish Way & SR305, and North Viking P&R in Poulsbo.
- Dungeness Line (operated by Greyhound Connect), (bus stop) Gateway Transit Center @ 123 E Front St, ☏ . The Dungeness Line goes from Sea-Tac and Seattle to Port Townsend, Sequim and Port Angeles. The bus goes across the Puget Sound on the Edmonds-Kingston ferry and is the most direct way to travel between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula by bus. Connections with Amtrak, Greyhound, Sound Transit and other transportation services are in Seattle. Tickets can also be booked through Greyhound.com.
- Rocket Transportation, ☏ (M-F 8AM-5PM; Sa 10AM-2PM). Door to door service in the Olympic Peninsula (Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks) from Sea-Tac From $66 to $150 one way, 30% discount for additional persons with one full fare passenger.
The Olympic Discovery Trail [dead link] passes Port Angeles from Port Townsend in the east part of the Olympic peninsula to La Push that overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The section east of Port Angeles is an well marked car free trail, much of which is paved, and easy to traverse on a loaded touring bicycle. West of Port Angeles is the "adventure" part of the trail, for which a cross-country mountain bike is recommended. The trail is non-technical single track, making it an introductory level XC, challenging but doable on a loaded touring bicycle.
Public transportation is provided by Clallam Transit. The fare for each bus ride is $1 for adults, $0.50 for youth and seniors with a Regional Reduced Fare Permit card. Routes 20, 22, 24, and 26 serve the city proper while Route 30 serves the Highway 101 corridor before continuing towards Sequim. The bus does not run on Sundays with the exception of the Strait Shot (#123) route.
Most visitors go to and around the town by car, especially those who would venture far out into the Olympic National Park or anywhere off the Hwy 101 corridor. Parking is generally easy to find, but the downtown area only allows 2 hours of street parking. Taking the bus up here (see 'By bus' under 'Getting in' in the above) from Sea-Tac and renting car here may cheaper than renting a car at the airport, especially with the 12% airport surcharge, and driving up here especially. Check the car rental companies' websites for rate differences between renting at the airport, somewhere in Seattle or Port Angeles. Avis & Budget are next door to the Gateway Bus Transit Center while Enterprise is several blocks east on E 1st St.
- 3 Avis & Budget, 107 E 8th St (E 8th St & S Laurel), ☏ . M-Sa 7AM-7PM; Su 8AM-6PM.
- Budget, 1406 Fairchild Airport Rd (William R Fairchild Airport), ☏ . M-F 8AM-6PM; Sa Su 10AM-5PM. They also have an in-town office with Avis at 107 E 8th St.
- 4 Enterprise, 902 E 1st St, Unit D (Behind Verizon Store at First & S Race towards alley), ☏ . M-Sa 8AM-5PM. Call for a pick-up at the Gateway bus transit center or the ferry terminal. Otherwise take the #30 bus going out to Sequim to get here. They also have another office at the local William Fairchild Airport.
Travelers tend to trek into the Olympic National Park rather than the town itself for sightseeing. However, those who would rather stay in town for at least a day or two should not be left unsatisfied.
- 1 Ediz Hook, Ediz Hook Rd (Access from Marine Dr). A spit where visitors can stroll around the beach that overlooks the city on one side and Canada on the other. A spot for birdwatching and beachcombing. It's said that the beach contains some exotic stones and the luckiest can find sea glasses.
- 2 Feiro Marine Life Center, 315 N Lincoln St, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM. Museum featuring touch tanks and aquariums featuring Pacific and local marine wildlife (even barnacles and plankton!) Donations: $5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 youth ages 3-17.
- 3 Olympic Coast Discovery Center, The Landing, 115 E Railroad Ave, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM Memorial Day-Labor Day, Sa Su 10AM-5PM Labor Day-mid October, other seasons by appointment. Another marine sanctuary museum, operated by the NOAA. Includes submarine simulators & shipwrecks. Free.
- 4 Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, 1203 E Lauridsen Blvd, ☏ . Gallery Th-Su 11AM-5PM, Outdoors dawn to dusk daily. Outdoor art pieces blend in with nature under a canopy of trees alongside paintings in the gallery. Free.
- 5 Port Angeles Heritage Underground Tour, 121 E. Railroad Avenue, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM (May-September), 2PM (November-September); special times for haunted tours each October. If the history section above fascinates you, see the physical piece of history as you will be taken to historical buildings, alleys, and exclusive access to underground tunnel networks, all part of a grand design laid out over 100 years ago. Adults $15, adults 60+ and students ages 13+ $12, child $6.
- 6 Salt Creek Recreation Area, 3506 Camp Hayden Rd, ☏ . Daily 8AM-8PM. A waterside park on the former site of Camp Hayden, a World War II military base. Now functions as a campsite, RV park, and beach with some of the camp's facilities remain intact. A short drive to the west are sandy beaches around the ghost town of Port Crescent.
- 7 Washington Lavender Farm, 965 Finn Hall Rd, ☏ . May-September: M-Sa 10AM-6PM & Su 1-5PM, other months by appointment. One of the lavender farms expanding from the east part of town to neighboring Sequim, where the smell entices you to visit or at least pass the road again.
Olympic National ParkEdit
With the exception of Hurricane Ridge, all attractions are free of charge, with only a short walk needed.
- 8 Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park, ☏ . 24-hour in summer, weekend weather permitting in winter. Only accessible from Port Angeles, this attraction in the national park overlooks the rest of the Olympic Mountains from 5,000 ft (1,500 m) above sea level. Also has the only snow area in the mountain range where snowshoeing, skiing, and sledding can be safely done. $15 for park entrance.
- 9 Lake Crescent, Olympic National Park (go west along Highway 101 for 20 miles (32 km), the lake runs along the road). Pristine blue water of the former glacial lake meets the towering mountain ranges on the horizon. Various viewpoints available along the Highway 101 or stop by the Lake Crescent Lodge to play in it. Free.
- 10 Madison Creek Falls, Olympic Hot Springs Rd (look for sign to trailhead). A quick walk along the superb views of the gushing Elwha River to the falls, with poems in between.
- 11 Marymere Falls, Olympic National Park (Access trail from Storm King Ranger Station). A 90-foot waterfall accessible with an easy 2-mile round trip hike. Free.
- 1 Peninsula Golf Club, 824 S Lindberg Rd, ☏ . F-Tu 11AM-sunset, W noon-sunset. 18-hole golf course with accompanying views of the mountain and the sea.
- Island Adventures, 115 E Railroad Ave, ☏ . May-October. Hop on a boat to the ocean to see orcas (killer whale) jumping or flipping above water in action. Reservation highly recommended for summer! The tour starts from Seattle in winter. Adult $99; seniors, students, military, AAA, AARP members $89; children under 18 $69.
- 2 Lincoln Park, 1900 W Lauridsen Blvd. The unofficial city park, featuring a fishing pond, dog park, BMX track, ball field & disc golf. (Just don't mind the sometimes passing airplane noise.)
- 3 Port Angeles City Pier (Get to the passage after the Feiro Marine Life Center). While you can just take a stroll, you can join the couple of people who fish for crabs or shrimp, if lucky!
- 4 Camaraderie Cellars, 334 Benson Rd, ☏ . Winter by appointment. Winery in a secluded neighborhood. Specializes in food wines.
- 5 Harbinger Winery, 2358 Highway 101 W, ☏ . M-Sa 11AM-6PM, Su 11AM-5PM. Sweet and slightly less-dry selections of full body wine, some infused with fruity flavors.
- 6 Olympic Cellars Winery, 255410 US-101, ☏ . Daily 11AM-5PM. Boutique wine with rotating varieties. Concerts every week in summer to perk you up. $5 for 5 glasses of samples.
Port Angeles has the largest selection of outdoor gears and equipment, just in case you can only buy or forget to bring it before venturing out to nature around the Peninsula.
- 1 Brown's Outdoor, 112 W Front St, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-6PM, Su noon-4PM. Outdoor wears, mountaineering and camping equipment for purchase as well as winter sport gears for rental. For last-minute required items before hitting the nature.
- 2 Sound Bikes and Kayaks, 120 E Front St, ☏ . M-Sa 10AM-6PM, Su 11AM-4PM. Climbing equipment, kayak, and bike accessories to keep you moving.
- 3 Waters West Fly Fishing, 140 W Front St, ☏ . M-Sa 9:30AM-6:30PM. Tackle shop for specifically fly fishing gears before catching salmons, along with locally experienced advisers. Also provides guided tours and info before heading out to fish.
- Swain's General Store (Swain's), 602 East First Street (On Highway 101, two blocks past the post office driving east), ☏ . Swain's has everything! That's their logo, and it's a good place to find just about anything. Swain's has been a Port Angeles landmark since 1957.
Being near the water means get ready for delectable seafood. Look for salmons, clams, and the sweet and soft Dungeness crabs.
The downtown has been gentrifying enough that some ethnic restaurants, especially Asian, can be seen throughout.
- 1 Frugals, 1520 E Front St, ☏ . Su-Th 10:30AM-10PM, F Sa 10:30AM-11PM. Drive-thru only American fast food from a local Pacific Northwest chain. Burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Burgers from $3, combos from $6.
- 2 Little Devil's Lunchbox, 324 W 1st St, ☏ . M-F 10AM-6PM, Sa 11AM-3PM. Fusion of Tex-Mex and Northwest flavors in burritos and sandwiches. From $7.
- 3 Toga's Soup House, 122 W Lauridsen Blvd, ☏ . M-F 7AM-4PM. For something warm and on the budget, head over for some soup and coffee. Comfort food such as salads, sandwiches and cake. Soup from $4, sandwiches from $10.
- 4 8th Street Bridge's Grill, 511 W 8th St, ☏ . Spring/summer M-Sa 11AM-8PM, Su 11AM-4PM; fall/winter M-Sa 11AM-7PM, Su 11AM-3PM. Extensive specialty sandwiches, burgers, and milkshakes From $5.
- 5 Chestnut Cottage, 929 E Front St, ☏ . Daily 7AM-3PM. Breakfast and brunch items with hospitable crew and homey interior. From $12.
- 6 Tendy's, 920 E 1st St, ☏ . M-F 11AM-9PM, Sa Su 11:30AM-9:30PM. Authentic Chinese food with family seating available. From $9.
- 7 Sabai Thai, 903 W 8th St, ☏ . M-Sa 4-PM. A local Thai favorite with full fledged original favorite that has the place packed every night! Favorites include curries, Pad Thai and glass noodles. From $13.
- 8 Kokopelli Grill, 203 E Front St, ☏ . M-F 11AM-8PM, Sa 10AM-10PM, Su 4-8PM. Local seafood with southwest taste. Their salmon chowder is said to be the specialty. Lunch from $12, dinner from $16.
- 9 LD's Woodfire Grill, 929 W 8th St, ☏ . M-Th 4:30-8PM, F Sa 4:30-9PM. Baby back ribs to fillet mignon grilled apple-smoked to perfection. Also serves salmon pasta & seafood platter as well as a small selection of pizza and salads. From $18.
- 10 Michael's, 117 E 1st St, ☏ . Su-Th 4-10PM, F Sa 4-11PM. Array of local seafoods and premium steak cuts in an underground floor. Mains from $20.
- 11 C'Est Si Bon, 23 Cedar Park Dr, ☏ . Tu-Su 5-11PM. Exquisite French gourmet & wines with down-to-earth owners in a regal decor. From $30.
- 1 Bar N9NE, 229 W 1st St, ☏ . Daily 2PM-2AM. Extensive selection of drafts, with tapas and steaks for something more substantial. Live stage with engaging events every night. Drafts from $4.
- 2 Next Door Gastropub, 113 W 1st St, ☏ . M-Th 11AM-11PM, F Sa 11AM-midnight, Su 10AM-10PM. Racks of wine, cocktails, ever-changing list of beers and ciders. Burgers, sandwiches and paninis by day. Kid friendly. Live music Sunday afternoons.
- 3 Castaways, 1213 Marine Dr, ☏ . Seaside bar with occasional live music & cabaret.
Group travelers can find a better deal by renting vacation homes around the area. For small groups that want a stay of homey feeling, there are also multiple choices of BnB accommodations.
Many budget hotels are located downtown, with easy access to restaurants and shops.
- 1 [dead link] Downtown Hotel, 101 1/2 E Front St, ☏ , toll-free: . Low-key budget hotel in the middle of downtown, with shared bathrooms. From $45 per night.
- 2 Flagstone Motel, 415 E 1st St, ☏ . Check-in: 3-10PM, check-out: 11AM. Low-key floors with red and brown interiors and choice of carpet or wooden floors. From $40 per night.
- 3 Port Angeles Inn, 111 E 2nd St, ☏ , toll-free: . Quaint motel up the hill from downtown with basic rooms and free full breakfast. From $60 per night.
- 4 Riviera Inn, 535 East Front Street, ☏ . Slightly dated interiors but adequate enough for a snooze. Fan provided for the summer. From $40 per night.
- 5 Royal Victorian Motel, 521 E 1st St, ☏ . Motel with rooms that can be tight but have comfy mattresses. Don't be put off with its eccentric exterior paints. From $50 per night.
- 6 Uptown Inn, 112 E 2nd St, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Modest rooms with free full breakfast and free laundry. From $60 per night.
- 7 All-View Motel, 214 E Lauridsen Blvd, ☏ . Family-run motel with delicate hospitality and modest rooms, some with kitchenette From $40 per night.
- 8 Quality Inn Uptown, 101 E 2nd St, ☏ . Chain hotel brand with location right at downtown. Includes free breakfast and free access to William Michaels Community Pool 4 blocks away. From $85 per night.
- 9 Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles, 221 N Lincoln St, ☏ . A local chain brand with superb views of the waterfront and neighboring Canadian mountains, yet central at downtown. From $75 per night.
- 10 Super 8 Port Angeles, 2104 E 1st St, ☏ . Good chain hotel with efficient breakfast. Dedicated room for the disabled. From $80 per night.
- 11 Olympic Lodge, 140 Del Guzzi Dr, ☏ . Cavernous lodge with warm and wooden design. Rooms with views overlooking either the ocean or the golf course behind the property. From $130 per night.
- 12 George Washington Inn, 939 Finn Hall Rd, ☏ . A replica of George Washington's home along the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Sequim and Port Angeles. $175-$300.
- 13 Domaine Madeleine, 146 Wildflower Ln, ☏ . Luxury B&B featuring 5 quiet rooms with fireplaces and a view of nature, in addition to a few perks to maximize your relaxation time. From $180 per night.
- 14 Whiskey Beach NW, 1385 Whiskey Creek Beach Rd, ☏ . Four rustic cabins with additional space for RV hookups, in a dedicated beach. Perfect opportunity to unwind and unplug as the cabins do not have electricity (only propane powered lights & select appliances). RV Hookups from $55 per night; cabins from $130 per night.
Most telecom companies are able to stream 4G-LTE internet speed at the downtown area, but it can quickly deteriorate the further away you are from Highway 101. In the national park, coverage can be spotty at Lake Crescent, to non-existent at Hurricane Ridge.
The area codes for Port Angeles, and Western Washington as a whole, are 360 and 564. Because their areas overlap, all numbers must be dialed with the area code, including local calls.
You may even get Canadian networks at times which could lead to roaming costs; but it will be helpful for Canadians calling back home.
- Olympic National Park
- Sequim - As one of Port Angeles' next door neighbors, it is a bit more rural and still offers somewhat of a small-town atmosphere.
- Forks - Take the Olympic Loop for a scenic drive around the Olympic Peninsula, including the Hoh Rain Forest and Stephenie Meyers' 'Twilight' town of Forks.
|Routes through Port Angeles|
|Aberdeen ← Forks ←||W E||→ Sequim → Olympia|
|END ← Neah Bay ←||W E||→ END|
|Victoria ← becomes ← ← ferry ←||N S||→ END|