15 Top-Rated Things to Do in Port Angeles, WA

Written by Brad Lane
Updated Mar 23, 2023
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Author Brad Lane lives in the Pacific Northwest and considers the Olympic Peninsula, including Port Angeles, one his favorite places to visit.

Port Angeles, on the north end of the Olympic Peninsula is an ideal base for exploring the nearby Olympic National Park. But other things to do run aplenty in this rain shadow region. From orca whale sightings to lavender fields soaked in purple, wonderful vacation memories await in every direction from Port Angeles.

Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park
Rialto Beach, Olympic National Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Olympic National Park is often the first reason visitors flock to Port Angeles. The park encompasses nearly one million acres, and several of its most iconic sightseeing areas are accessible from Port Angeles within a short drive. Hurricane Ridge and Lake Crescent are two notable spots, each within a 30-minute drive, and both offer a taste of the diverse landscapes within the park.

What keeps people coming back to Port Angeles is the friendly community and other in-town tourist attractions. The coast-spanning Olympic Discovery Trail is the main non-motorized corridor in town. Public parks, local establishments, and a unique sand spit line this paved path, as well as friendly locals.

Find the best places to visit with our list of the top things to do in Port Angeles.

1. See the View at Hurricane Ridge

Hurricane Ridge
Hurricane Ridge | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Hurricane Ridge offers one of the most dramatic Olympic National Park views with a 17-mile drive from the city. This scenic vista is a top spot for any visit to the park, let alone a must-do experience when visiting Port Angeles.

The drive on Hurricane Ridge Road starts just after the Olympic National Park Visitor Center on the south side of town. The road passes by the popular Heart O' the Hills Campground, one of the best places to go camping in Olympic National Park. Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center awaits at the top, alongside a breathtaking view of the Olympic range.

Simply staring in awe at the craggy mountains from the visitor center's back porch is time well spent. The visitor center also provides exhibits, restroom facilities, and interpretive presentations. Visitors also gain a better perspective of the massive horizon via the network of trails spanning from the visitor center.

Snow plowing Hurricane Ridge Road in May
Snow plowing Hurricane Ridge Road in May

Things to Do in Winter: Hurricane Ridge also entices visitors throughout the winter. Uphill traffic is allowed on Hurricane Ridge Road Friday through Sunday and some holiday weekends during the winter (weather permitting). Cars need to be equipped with traction devices like chains. At the snowy summit, warmly dressed visitors enjoy snowshoeing, sledding, and downhill endeavors at the Hurricane Ridge Ski and Snowboard Area.

2. Bike the Olympic Discovery Trail

Olympic Discovery Trail near Sequim
Olympic Discovery Trail near Sequim | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

One of the best ways to tour the coastal landscapes of Port Angeles is via bicycle. The slower pace of travel allows more time to enjoy the unique environment at the continent's edge. And the number one route to follow is the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT), which cruises right through the downtown waterfront.

The ODT is a 130-mile route navigating the Olympic Peninsula's northern coast. The trail extends from Port Townsend to La Push and crosses five converted railroad trusses among many postcard-worthy environments. The trail is still in development and currently comprises a combination of paved roads, gravel roads, and bike paths. Non-motorized sections are added to the route every year.

The ODT section connecting to downtown Port Angeles is well developed, with a paved pathway free of vehicle traffic. It's an excellent bike path to reach the lavender fields of Sequim to the east. The trail extends west to Lake Crescent with a 25-mile ride, including sections on a gravel road.

Places in Port Angeles like Sound Bike & Kayak and Adventures Through Kayaking have bicycles available for rent.

3. Paddle off Ediz Hook

View from Ediz Hook of Port Angeles at dawn
View from Ediz Hook of Port Angeles at dawn

Ediz Hook is a three-mile, crescent-shaped sand spit extending from the Port Angeles shoreline. Also referred to as "the Spit" or "the Hook," this unique landform offers easy adventures from the city. Ediz Hook Road extends along the spit for vehicle traffic. The recommended route is via bicycle or walking the improvised trail next to the roadway.

What immediately stands out on The Spit is the magnificent view of Port Angeles backed by the Olympic Mountains. On cloudless afternoons, this vantage point is reason enough to visit. The Hook also provides shelter from the waves of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This protection makes for an excellent spot to launch a kayak or canoe.

The most abundant parking areas are near the beginning of the Spit. Here, it's easy to access the calm water and shoreline.

Other popular water activities include scuba diving and paddleboarding. A public boat launch for motorized vehicles is near the U.S. Coast Guard Station at the far end of the Spit.

4. Stop into the Olympic National Park Visitor Center

Olympic National Park Visitor Center
Olympic National Park Visitor Center | melissamn / Shutterstock.com

Olympic National Park Visitor Center is an excellent place to visit for park information and trip suggestions. It's open seven days a week and is conveniently close to the town center. A staffed information desk at the visitor center is happy to answer or recommend a destination within the park. They also provide the most up-to-date information on park conditions and places to visit.

Exhibits: The visitor center also has exhibits and hands-on activities for kids. These interpretive pieces touch upon the vast and wild ecosystem encompassed by the Olympic Peninsula, including the park's wildlife. The information also covers the native and still residing tribes of the Olympic Peninsula.

Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center is also at the visitor center. Permits are required for all wilderness camping in Olympic National Park, and this is the spot to plan and book backcountry travel. The staff here are available to answer all questions and advise about backpacking within the park.

Read More: Exploring Olympic National Park and the Hoh Rain Forest: A Visitor's Guide

5. Day Trip to Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent
Lake Crescent

Lake Crescent, 20 miles west, is another crown jewel of Olympic National Park near Port Angeles. This incredibly deep and clear glacially carved lake is abundant with natural appeal. It also features campgrounds, hiking trails, and boat docks spread across its entire shoreline.

Activities: A popular activity is picnicking at places like East Beach and Bovee's Meadow, where swimming beaches are also available. Non-motorized boating is also a favorite way to experience Lake Crescent. Public boat docks are on either end of the lake.

Kayaker on Lake Crescent
Kayaker on Lake Crescent | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Hiking: A visit to Lake Crescent isn't complete without hiking around the shoreline a bit. One of Olympic's best hiking trails, Marymere Falls, starts from the Storm King Ranger Station on the lake's southeast shore. The less-than-a-mile trek encounters little elevation gain along the way, and the rushing water at the end of the trail is always a family favorite to experience.

Marymere Falls
Marymere Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Where to Stay: The historic Lake Crescent Lodge is on the southeast side of the lake, offering a cozy lobby with a stone fireplace. The Fairholme Campground, on the west side of the lake, also provides a place to stay for a weekend trip from Port Angeles.

6. Revel in the Rainforest

Hoh Rain Forest
Hoh Rain Forest | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Of the many breathtaking landscapes in Olympic National Park, the mossy rainforests are perhaps the most magical. It's nothing short of hiking through a terrarium, navigating the many shades of green overflowing into every available nook and cranny of the forest. This wild and lush landscape adds to the many reasons why Olympic is one of the best national parks in Washington.

The Hoh Rain Forest within the park is one of the most popular ways to dive into the rainforest. The Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center is a scenic two-hour drive from Port Angeles. At the visitor center, the iconic 17.3-mile Hoh River Trail heads to the base of Mt. Olympus. Several family-friendly trails also span throughout the thick landscape surrounding the visitor center, including the popular "Hall of Mosses."

Hoh Rain Forest
Hoh Rain Forest | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Bogachiel State Park offers a shorter drive from Port Angeles and similar access to a less-crowded rainforest area. Farther south in the park and a longer drive, the Quinault and Queets rainforest areas are also verdant, with hiking trails and scenery.

Tour: If you are looking for an easy way to explore the area, you can join a Hoh Rain Forest and Rialto Beach Guided Tour in Olympic National Park. This option takes care of the transportation from the Visitor Center and includes a guided one- or two-mile hike with a naturalist and a stop at Rialto Beach.

7. Meet Native Sea Creatures at the Feiro Marine Life Center

Sea stars
Sea stars

The Feiro Marine Life Center offers up-close looks at native marine life near the Olympic Coast Discovery Center on the waterfront. This fun place to visit provides a wide array of aquariums and touch-tanks with seawater straight from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This hands-on facility also features educational opportunities and academic lectures.

Visitors encounter sea cucumbers, hermit crabs, and other aquatic creatures at the Marine Life Center. The museum also has several exhibits detailing the diverse ecosystem found just offshore. The naturalists at the Feiro Marine Life Center are perhaps the most valuable resource, however. These oceanic experts are happy to share their favorite local tide pool spots.

Address: 315 N Lincoln Street, Port Angeles, Washington

8. Wander the Wild Washington Pacific Coast

Rialto Beach
Rialto Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

With several dramatic landscapes to explore, the rugged western coast of Olympic National Park should be high on the list. Olympic protects over 70 miles of the most rugged coastline in the country. Jutting sea stacks, forested headlands, and a wild sense of exploration define much of the mesmerizing landscape.

Third Beach, South of Rialto Beach
Third Beach, South of Rialto Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Port Angeles makes for an excellent basecamp for day trips to the Pacific coast. One of the closest coastal areas to the city is Rialto Beach, approximately 70 miles away in the park's Mora area. The classic scenery of coastal Olympic National Park presents itself at this blissful beach backed by a dense forest.

The immediate beach encountered near the large parking area is breathtaking enough. But visitors often head north along the coastline, where the shoreline continues to impress. Hike approximately two miles north, and the eye-catching Hole-in-the-Wall rock offers a treasure chest of intertidal areas to explore.

Hole-in-the-Wall, Olympic Coast
Hole-in-the-Wall, Olympic Coast | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Other beaches of interest line the coast north and south of Rialto Beach. The southern coast has more resources for visitors and places to stop, while the more rugged northern coast is primed for extended backpacking trips.

9. Watch for Whales


Port Angeles is a prime spot for whale sightings. And not just a single species—humpback, orca, minke, and gray whales make appearances throughout the year. The city offers several ways to enjoy these remarkable wildlife sightings, including land-based viewing areas and guided tours.

Several sites near Port Angeles are on The Whale Trail, an international collection of prime whale-watching sites. Salt Creek Recreation Area, a 20-minute drive from Port Angeles, is one such Whale Trail location where several vantage points offer a spectacular view. Tongue Point, within the Recreation Area, is a particularly great spot to see whale spouts.

One of the most guaranteed ways to spot whales is by hopping on a guided tour. Several companies in the region offer knowledgeable navigation of the water. Puget Sound Express offers one of the most popular guided whale watching trips from Port Angeles. This half-day tour departs from downtown seven days a week between May and October.

10. Get Lost in Lavender in Sequim

Lavender farm in Sequim
Lavender farm in Sequim

The sunny city of Sequim sits 18 miles east of Port Angeles, easily accessible with a bike ride on the Olympic Discovery Trail. Sequim, pronounced "Squim," has several scenic attractions to explore. But only one earns the city the title of "Lavender Capital of North America."

The sunny weather of the Olympic Rain Shadow nourishes thousands of lavender plants in the Sequim-Dungeness Valley. Lavender operations in the area comprise almost exclusively local and family farms. This aromatic agriculture gets its first tint of purple near late June, with a full burst of color approximately two weeks after.

The community celebrates the full bloom with the Washington Lavender Festival in July. This time of year, visitors make good use of the Sequim Lavender Trail, which connects all the local farms in the region. Alongside an abundance of eye-catching colors, this farms host small events and receptions. Gift shops at the farms encourage visitors to support local operations.

11. Hike to Sol Duc Falls

Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Sol Duc Falls is an iconic display of gravity near Port Angeles, accessible within an hour's drive. Its size and scenic beauty add to its popularity, as well as the relatively easy hike to reach the falls. It takes approximately 1.6 miles to Sol Duc Falls and back, with less than 200 feet of elevation.

A scenic bridge passes over the water gushing through a narrow slot canyon. This is an excellent place to pose for a photograph, though an occasionally crowded one during peak summer visits. The area also has a few picnic benches to rest up any feet before hiking back.

If you're looking for a good backcountry trip from Port Angeles, Sol Duc Falls is a recommended starting point. The trail continues beyond Sol Duc Falls, eventually ascending into the Seven Lakes Basin of the park. This route is part of the High Divide Loop, which offers up-close views of Mount Olympus.

Permits are required to spend the night in the park's backcountry, which is among the best campgrounds in Olympic National Park.

Read More: Top-Rated Waterfalls in Washington State

12. Soak in Hot Springs

Sol Duc Hot Springs
Sol Duc Hot Springs | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Among its many mystical atmospheres, Olympic National Park is also home to one of Washington's best hot springs. Situated south of Lake Crescent, and an hour's drive from Port Angeles, Sol Duc Hot Springs is well worth the day trip or overnight visit.

Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort, a charming and rustic lodge operated by a concessionaire within the park, maintains the hot-water pools. The resort has three mineral hot soaking pools and one freshwater pool. The hot water is accessible to the public, not just guests, with the price of admission.

Sol Duc Falls
Sol Duc Falls

This area of the park caters to all-day adventures. The nearby hike to Sol Duc Falls offers a scenic 1.6-mile round trip to a postcard-worthy waterfall. It is a recommended way to achieve sore muscles before a soak. The drive to Sol Duc passes by the southern shores of Lake Crescent, which offers several side adventures to tack onto a day.

13. Olympic Coast Discovery Center

On the Port Angeles waterfront, the Olympic Coast Discovery Center offers an excellent resource for making the most out of a coastal vacation. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates the facility and offers detailed information about the coastal region—specifically, everything visitors need to know about the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary.

The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 3,188 square miles off the peninsula's rugged west coast. Knowledgeable volunteers at the Discovery Center are happy to help plan any voyage along this part of the peninsula. The Discovery Center is open daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, always with free admission.

Address: The Landing, 115 E Railroad Avenue #208, Port Angeles, Washington

14. Take a Twilight Tour

Forks, Washington
Forks, Washington

The Olympic Peninsula holds particular interest for fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Her suspenseful and best-selling vampire romance novels take place in the nearby community of Forks, approximately an hour's drive from Port Angeles. But as any fan knows, Port Angeles is also home to some central plot locations.

Bella and Edward's first date took place at Bella Italia on First Street. Patrons today can order the mushroom ravioli or whatever suits their cravings while indulging in the literary atmosphere.

The enthusiasm for Twilight in Port Angeles is low-key if visitors don't know where to look. The real fan experience is in Forks, where a city-sponsored Twilight Map highlights real-life locations from the book.

Forks also sponsors the annual Forever Twilight in Forks festival in September. This fandom event brings in thousands of like-minded readers with a plethora of unique experiences and special speakers.

15. Hop on the Ferry to Victoria, BC, Canada

Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia
Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, British Columbia, is a quick 90-minute ferry ride from Port Angeles. This relatively small capital city packs many things to do into a walkable vacation. It's a popular destination for several reasons, including stately architecture and bountiful gardens, and perhaps because of its unusually mild climate—making it one of the warmest places in Canada come winter.

Black Ball Ferry Line operates the passenger and vehicle ferry to Victoria from Port Angeles. The ferry ride itself is fun, as the boat cuts through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Indoor and outdoor seating is available, as well as a cafeteria, gift shop, and solarium.

Port Angeles, WA - Climate Chart

Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Port Angeles, WA in °C
8 1 9 2 11 3 13 4 16 7 18 9 21 11 21 11 19 9 14 6 10 3 8 2
Average monthly precipitation totals for Port Angeles, WA in mm.
98 71 54 33 27 22 16 19 27 63 112 112
Average monthly snowfall totals for Port Angeles, WA in cm.
3 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
Average minimum and maximum temperatures for Port Angeles, WA in °F
46 34 48 36 51 37 56 40 61 45 65 49 69 52 69 52 66 49 58 43 50 38 46 35
Average monthly precipitation totals for Port Angeles, WA in inches.
3.9 2.8 2.1 1.3 1.1 0.9 0.6 0.8 1.1 2.5 4.4 4.4
Average monthly snowfall totals for Port Angeles, WA in inches.
1.2 0.3 0.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.0

Map of Port Angeles, WA - Things to Do