New Map – Dog-Friendly Places

doggWe continue to get enthusiastic questions about where visitors can go with their dogs, so we’ve compiled as much info as we could into one place. Check out the webpage with doggie info.

Just released is a map of dog-friendly places on the Olympic Peninsula. Go to the main webpage for more detailed information.

Download the map HERE

News Spotlight on the OP!

The Olympic Peninsula has been all over media in September! Here’s a sampling of what’s being said:

Congratulations to Port Townsend for the “5 Fabulous Things to Do In Port Townsend” by writer, Paola Thomas, for Seattle Refined, a partner with KOMONews.

  • Breakfast at the Blue Moose Café,
  • Visit the Northwest Maritime Center,
  • Shop at Port Townsend Farmers’ Market
  • Afternoon tea at Pippa’s Real Tea, and
  • Shopping on Water Street.

The Olympic Peninsula is so proud of the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT). Terri Gleich of the Kitsap Sun covered “Olympic Discovery Trail an Expanding Wonder”.  Almost 80 miles of the trail are complete. The ODT is used for both commuting and recreation and will eventually link Port Townsend to La Push with a paved path.

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Port Angeles during Crab Festival

Of course, the Olympic Peninsula is taking some of the cudos for Port Angeles being named one of the “America’s Best Towns” by Outside Magazine. Second only to Chattanooga, Tennessee, Port Angeles made a strong showing, coming from a wild-card placement in the competition. And, with a population of about nine times smaller than Chattanooga, it’s even more impressive to have lost in the polling by a small margin. The top five places went to:

  • Glenwood Springs, Colorado
  • Eau Claire, Wisconsin
  • Iowa City, Iowa
  • Port Angeles, Washington
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
Olympic National Park Sign at Rialto Beach

ONP Sign at Rialto

Tripping, the world’s largest vacation rental site, named Rialto Beach, in Olympic National Park, one of “10 Perfect Honeymoon Beach Destinations”. Other places mentioned were Honeymoon Beach in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands; Wailea Beach on Maui, Hawaii; Carmel in California; and, Hanalei Bay on Kauai, Hawaii.

Take a look as some stunning photographs from Shi Shi Beach from an article written by Kristin Jackson for the Seattle Times, Visiting Washington’s wild and magical Shi Shi Beach. We couldn’t agree more that’s it one of the most stunning, magical places on the Peninsula!

Moira Macdonald, a Seattle Times arts writer, captured the charm and essence of Port Townsend in her article, “There’s Something for All Kinds of Tourists in the Olympic Peninsula Town” – culture, history and the outdoors!

Washington State Ferry

Washington State Ferry

Conde Nast Traveler has named the Washington State Ferry System as one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world. And, we’re in good company with Hong Kong, London, Sydney and Venice also being in this group! Why not hop on one of those WA State ferries and come out to the Olympic Peninsula, our very own UNESCO World Heritage site, the Olympic National Park.  The journey is part of the fun!


Olympic Peninsula Sol Duc pools

Sol Duc pools

Here is a link to the online version of an article on Northwest hot springs resorts by Tamara Muldoon. This article, Play, Soak, Repeat at Hot Springs Resorts, includes Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in Olympic National Park. The resort, open seasonally, has basic yet comfortable cabins, RV and tent campsites. Three hot spring pools, a freshwater swimming pool, massage, hiking trails complete the experience at Sol Duc.

Accessible Travel on the Olympic Peninsula

Here’s a video from the National Forest Service. It takes a quick tour around the Hwy 101 Loop of places to go and things to see that are wheelchair accessible.

This is the first blog to start gathering information about wheelchair accessible travel on the Olympic Peninsula. If you can add additional places or ideas for wheelchair exploration, please comment here, or email to We want to build an all-inclusive data base!

One new great new possibility on the Olympic Peninsula is going for a ride up in a hot air balloon to view the peninsula from above! There is a company based in Sequim, called Morning Star Balloon Co.  An article in the Peninsula Daily News  by Chris McDaniel on Sept. 23, talked about Captain-Crystal Stout, the Chief Flight Officer and Owner, and the special, two-seated aircraft designed for challenged individuals. Captain-Crystal is also the Executive Director of a fantastic non-profit, 501(c)3 foundation called Dream Catcher Balloon Program. To find out more about this awesome program go to Dream Catcher Balloon Program.

PDN article

PDN article. READ MORE

While the weather is still nice this fall, Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center and the Meadow Loop Trails are a good place to get outside and enjoy the wonderful views of the Olympic Mountains to the south, and Vancouver Island and the San Juan Islands to the north. The Loop Trails offer several short, flat viewing areas. Check out TripAdvisor for some lovely photos of the area.



WHALE WATCHING! Post from Guest Bloggers

Two friends of ours, here on the Olympic Peninsula, submitted a recount of their special day whale watching. We don’t know about you, but we want to go, too!

From Ali and Brian, hosts at Chito Beach Resort:

Having a free day, which we don’t get often since we are usually busy with guests, we decided to take full advantage of our time and go out on a whale watching trip. We decided to go from Port Angeles with Port Angeles Whale Watch. The crew of three were fun and accommodating. The crew consisted of the Captain, a marine biologist and the galley chef.  Lucky us to have a biologist on board! He gave us information and updates on all the sea life we saw during the excursion.  The galley chef make hot chocolate, tea and warm food for all those in need. We were indeed spoiled for the day.

brians whales #1

Photos by Brian H Photography

The weather was brian whales #3 brian whales #2perfect and the Captain did a great job navigating us to the whales! We saw several Humpbacks on two occasions and the L pod of Orca, including the newest member- a two-week-old killer whale.

We often see whales in the waters off the shore at Chito Beach, but this was so special seeing them from a different perspective. It was a day we’ll remember.

Here’s access to information about the L pod. And a link to the Whale Trail.

Chito Beach Resort is one of several accommodations along the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You will find a list of other places to stay beginning on page 31 of the Olympic Peninsula Travel Planner.

Whale Watching Tours. Find local whale watching businesses. Make your own special day.


Celebrating the End of Summer

Not ready for summer festivities to be over yet? Here’s this weekend’s Trip Idea:

Sept 10-13: Live your fantasy at Forever Twilight in Forks. Remember that registration is now open to have your books signed by Author Stephenie Meyer. Yes, THE Stephenie Meyer IN PERSON! The Olympic Coven of vampires will be in the area as well as two actors from the Twilight Saga films Erik Odem and Booboo Stewart.

Sept 11-13: Indulge in old-world charm of Port Townsend’s Wooden Boat Festival. Enjoy live music, great food and drink, and of course stunning examples of wooden boats at the most inspiring wooden boat event in the world.

Sept 12: Visit the Great Strait Sale on Hwy 112. It’s a 61-mile long flea market on the beautiful Strait of Juan de Fuca Scenic Byway. Watch for whales as they’ve been spotted cruising the Strait this week.

Sept 6-13: Be inspired by artists during the 3rd Annual Paint the Peninsula Plein Air Competition. Hosted by the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, the competition features 27 talented painters who will be capturing the natural beauty of the Olympic Peninsula and Olympic National Park all weekend.

This is going to be one of the most exciting weekends on the Olympic Peninsula. Join us in our celebration as we say goodbye to summer!

Traveling this Fall? Trip #32

Traveling around the Olympic Peninsula in the fall can be sublime. The days are usually warm, evenings cool and mornings have that crisp, clean warmth. Here’s a quick 3-day itinerary to see the best of the best.

Day One. Starting in Seattle or Tacoma. Be ready for a busy day.  Enjoy the splendor of the

Hurricane Hill Hike

Hurricane Hill Hike

Elk in the Dosewallips River

Elk in the Dosewallips River

leaves changing color along Hood Canal. Grab a bite to eat at one of the several places with local seafood. Check out the Olympic Peninsula Culinary Loop for suggestions. You’ll probably see bald eagles and herons, and perhaps a herd of Roosevelt elk. If you pack a lunch, stop at Triton Cove State Park. Continue on Hwy. 101 North to Port Angeles. From

there it’s about 45 minutes to the top of Hurricane Ridge. Hopefully, there will be new snow on the mountain range. Stunning hike to Hurricane Hill! You can see the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, and the interior of the Olympic Mountains. Overnight in Port Angeles or the surrounding area.

Fall at Lake Crescent

Fall at Lake Crescent

Day Two. Heading west on Hwy 101. Enjoy the beauty of Lake Crescent. Take a walk through the woods to Marymere Falls, one of the falls on the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail. The trailhead can be found turning off Hwy 101 with the signs to Lake Crescent Lodge. The lodge is open until January 1, then closes for the season. Continue around the lake to Hwy 113, the to Hwy112 West. Hwy 112 is one of the newer Scenic Byways in our state. At this time of year the leaves along this route, with the Strait of Juan de Fuca sparkling water to the north, is one of the favorite drives. Scenic it is! Head to Neah Bay and Cape Flattery, the most NW tip of the contiguous US. There is a short hike, mostly on boardwalk to the overlook to Tatoosh Island. You’ll often see whales and an array of marine animals and shore birds. Make a stop at the Makah Museum. World-class exhibits you won’t soon forget. Either stay along Hwy 112 or wander into Forks or La Push on the Quileute Nation for the night.

Olympic Peninsula Ruby Beach

Ruby Beach

Day Three. Check out the Visitor Center in Forks, Land of Twilight. You’ll be amazed at the map with pins representing visitors’ homelands. There’s John’s Beach Combing Museum in Forks. Take a look at what washes up on our shores. Traveling south on Hwy 101, make a turn into the Hoh Rain Forest. Walk the Hall of Mosses for that other-worldly experience of hiking through canopies of drippy moss. Catch the Ranger-led walk if you can. Back to Hwy 101 and a stop at Ruby Beach. One of our favorites. Continuing south, Kalaloch Lodge has dining and accommodations right above the beach.  Or further down Hwy 101, you’ll find Lake Quinault with many types of lodging and dining. Interesting fact about Lake Quinault. The National Park owns some of the property around the lake. The Olympic National Forest owns part of the land and the Quinault Nation has jurisdiction over the water.

The morning of the fourth day, head back to Seattle/Tacoma/Portland/Olympia. It’s closest to keep going on 101, making almost the entire loop.

Olympic Peninsula Map

Port Angeles vs. Chattanooga

PA Campaign for Best Town

PA Campaign for Best Town

Earlier this spring Outside Magazine asked America to identify America’s Best Town Ever in their fifth annual contest. Outside Magazine looked for places with great access to trails and public lands, thriving restaurants and neighborhoods, and, of course, a good beer scene. For the first time, they added a wild-card round, letting their Instagram followers nominate favorite towns. As wild cards, Port Angeles, WA; New York, NY; Saugatuck, MI; and Roanoke, VA filled final spots in each section of the bracket. A beautiful video was produced to help support the Port Angeles cause, showing off the area at its finest. Do you see familiar places?

After a lively campaign Port Angeles and Chattanooga ended up in the finals with Chattanooga taking the top prize. Port Angeles had a tough road to get to there, going through Santa Barbara, CA; Bainbridge Island, WA; Glenwood Springs, CO; Flagstaff, AZ; and Eau Claire, WI. With a population of only 19,000, Port Angeles had a fine showing against more populated areas. Chattanooga’s population is a little more than 193,000. It was a David and Goliath battle to be sure!  Chattanooga’s final round count was 67,432 votes to Port Angeles’ 62,130 (52 percent to 48 percent). At the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau there are visibly more requests for Travel Planners from Chattanooga area since the contest!

This friendly (for the most part!) contest brought the two towns in contact with each other and forged a connection between the two communities. At the Olympic Peninsula Visitor Bureau there have been more requests for Travel Planners from Chattanooga area since the contest!

In July, the sad story of the death of four Marines and a Navy Petty Officer during an assault on Military Recruiting office sent Chattanooga into shock and Port Angeles into sympathy for our newly-acquired Tennessee friends. Twenty banners with sympathy messages expressing condolences to the people of Chattanooga were taken personally to Chattanooga’s mayor by Leslie Kidwell Robertson. You can read the story of Leslie’s visit to Chattanooga at Revitalize Port Angeles. It was reported that everyone who saw the banners were deeply moved when they were presented.

Finding Totem Poles on the OP

A Few Totems Around the Olympic Peninsula

Sequim Totem Pole

Sequim Totem Pole

After a meeting in Sequim we stopped to look at the new totem pole installed at the site of the new City of Sequim offices. The totem is the starring highlight of the plaza outside the building. Stop to take a look (and some photos!) on your way through Sequim. The totem represents the sun always shining in Sequim. We know that’s true! The legend this pole represents can be found at this link. There is also a geological reason the sun shines a lot in Sequim; and that is because of the rain shadow created by the Olympic Mountains. As weather systems come ashore along the Pacific Coast, the mountains slow the systems down where a majority of rain gets deposited on the western slopes, creating the famous, lush, mossy rainforests.

For a description about the rain shadow, Wikipedia does a pretty good job:

Rain Shadow Effect

Rain Shadow Effect

The Dungeness Valley around SequimWashington lies in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains. The area averages 10–15 inches of rain per year, less than half of the amount received in nearby Port Angeles and approximately 10% of that which falls in Forks on the western side of the mountains. To a lesser extent, this rain shadow extends to other parts of the eastern Olympic Peninsula, Whidbey Island, and parts of the San Juan Islands and southeastern Vancouver Island around Victoria, British Columbia.

Port Ludlow Totem Pole

Port Ludlow Totem Pole

After spending some time examining the Sequim totem, I got to thinking about other totem poles and carvings on the Olympic Peninsula.  Port Ludlow did a re-dedication last July 4th of their 40-foot refurbished totem pole that sits on Burner Point. It was originally carved from a 720-year-old western red cedar that grew near the Hoh Rain Forest and was blown down in the 1993 windstorm. If you get to stop to see this totem, you’ll find places to go kayaking, good food and beverages, and a picture-worthy marina. There are often bald eagles keeping an eye on things around the area. If you have time, Ludlow Falls is not far.


Artists Pavilion, Neah Bay

Artists Pavilion, Neah Bay

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Center

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Center

PA totem poles

Port Angeles Totem Poles

Another stop on Hwy 101 is in Blyn at the Tribal Center for the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, the Longhouse Market and 7 Cedars Casino. There are several totems at these properties along the edge of Discovery Bay. A stop at the House of Myth (the totem carving shed) at the Tribal Center is a special treat if the doors are open. Stick your head in to watch! They are actively carving totem poles by traditional methods and tools. It smells so good with cedar essence in the air.

Port Angeles waterfront has two totem poles to stop and visit while you pick up additional information you may need from the Visitor Center on Railroad Avenue. One represents our glorious past, our great present and the future for all of us. While you are there you might want to walk out the pier for a view back across the city with the Olympic Mountains in the background.

Carved figures at the Makah Cultural & Resource Center

Carved figures at the Makah Cultural & Resource Center

Part of the Olympic Discovery Trail goes in front of the Visitor Center. This rails-to-trails project along the old railroad line traverses peninsula lowlands, bordered on the south by the Olympic Mountains and on the north by the Strait of Juan de Fuca. One end point is the Victorian seaport of Port Townsend, the other is La Push on the Pacific Ocean. When complete, the trail will be a 130-mile-long, wide, paved path designed for multiple uses: bicyclists, hikers, and disabled users, with a 4’ shoulder for equestrians where appropriate.

There are several totem poles in Forks and some lovely carvings in La Push. If you’re in Neah Bay, you’ll see two figures by the Makah Cultural & Resource Center and Museum. Be sure to stop by the new Artist’s Center on Hobuck Road, Neah Bay.


Farmers Markets

farmers markets

Beautiful rutabaga at the Jefferson County Farmers Market

It’s that time again to revel in the bounty of the Olympic Peninsula. This is a blog that we posted a couple years ago and have updated. Things have changed, but not our love of these markets.

The Olympic Peninsula is home to an incredible bounty of fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, fish, meat, flowers, herbs, and locally produced products. Farmers markets are great ways to support local producers and create your own Olympic Coast Cuisine dishes. There are numerous famers markets to choose from, a couple are even award-winning. Many are open primarily during the summer and early fall while a few markets stay open year round. The Olympic Peninsula is also home to bakers, cheese makers, honey producers, and chefs many of whom are represented at the farmers markets. In addition to edible products, many of the farmers markets offer local artisan wares such as jewelry, lotions, pottery, fiber arts, garden decor, and even toys. Below is a list of some of the farmers markets around the Olympic Peninsula.

Chimacum Farmers Market – Sundays 10-3, June-October, 9122 Rhody Dr.

A colorful display at the Sequim Farmers Market

Forks Open Aire Market– Saturdays 10-3, Mid-May-September, 1421 S. Forks Ave.

Jefferson County Farmers Markets– Saturdays 9-2 April-December, Wednesday Summer Market 2-6, 650 Tyler St. Port Townsend

Quilcene Farmers Market-April through Sept at Hwy. 101 & Center


Port Angeles Farmers Markets – Saturdays 10-2 Year Round, Wednesday Summer Market 10-2, Downtown at Gateway Transit Center

Sequim Farmers Market – Saturdays 9-3, May-October, 2nd & Cedar St.

Baskets at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand

Shelton Farmers Market – Saturdays 9-3, May-September, Franklin St.

Farm fresh produce and products can also be found year round at farm stands and stores.

Chimacum Corner Farmstand– Open daily 9 am – 7 pm. 9122 Rhody Drive, Chimacum, WA.  360-732-0107

Nash’s Farm Store – Open daily 9 am – 7 pm.  4681 Sequim-Dungeness Way, Sequim, WA.  360-683-4642

Sunsets West Co-op – Open daily 10 am – 7 pm, longer in the summer. 16795 Hwy 112, Clallam Bay, WA.  360-963-2189

Junior Ranger Program at Olympic National Park

Rangers in National Parks study different aspects of the parks to understand animals, vegetation, geology and many other things to help protect the parks, as well as to help visitors understand and safely enjoy their visits. Your younger traveling companions can help! When you visit the park they can complete the steps in a Junior Ranger booklet to become an Olympic National Park Junior Ranger.

Pick-up a copy of the Olympic National Park Junior Ranger booklet at any visitor center in the park. Add even more to your visit by borrowing the Olympic National Park Discovery Backpack to enhance your exploration of the park.

contents of Jr. ranger backpack

Click here for details of the Discovery Pack

In the backpack you’ll find field worksheets, two interactive outdoor games, and six photo field guides. When our out-of-town, wanna-be ranger participated in the program we were treated to her poem about the Hoh Rainforest, and long conversations in the car about the flora and fauna she had learned about and identified. It was an afternoon well spent – out among nature, enjoying all we could see, hear and smell through different eyes. It was a joy to witness the unbound enthusiasm in our young traveling companion for the beauty and diversity of Olympic National Park.

Jr. Ranger swearing in

Taking the Jr. Ranger Oath

After she had completed the tasks in her booklet and they were reviewed by a Ranger, she stood proudly in front of him and took the oath for being a Jr. Ranger, which she took very seriously. She still treasures her badge and displays it proudly in her room among the stuffed animals and Harry Potter memorabilia!


If you are interested in Jr. Ranger Programs, check out becoming a Web Ranger! There is lots of information, quizzes and activities. Join the Webrangers Community. Click here!