About Port Townsend and the Surrounding Area
Come vacation in picturesque Port Townsend, and you won't want to leave. Often called the "City of Dreams," this community on Washington's scenic Olympic Peninsula offers a variety of activities and sightseeing to satisfy anyone's desires for relaxation and recreation. Built in the late 1880's railroad and shipping boom, Port Townsend was originally touted as the "San Francisco of the North." Rich in architecture, this city is one of only two nationally registered Victorian Seaports.
Year round events fill Port Townsend's calendar, offering architectural and garden tours, guided beach walks, kayak rentals, and world-class shopping. Antique buffs won't be disappointed as the town itself a nationally registered historical district, offers many fine shops.
A town that loves its celebrations of life, you'll be hard-pressed to find a weekend that there's not a festival of some sort or another! Chances are you'll happen upon one of the town's many year round music festivals, offering jazz, classical, bluegrass, or even renaissance music. Each year brings the annual Rhododendron and Victorian Festivals, as well as Historic Homes Tours and opportunities to see the secret gardens of some of the town's most lavish homes.
Located in the center of downtown lies a living example of early life in Port Townsend. The Jefferson County Historical Society & Museum is open year round and has scores of photographs, antiques, and general information on this exciting time in Port Townsend's history. For hours and other information, call (360) 385-1003.
Just outside of town, historic Fort Worden beckons history and scenery buffs alike. A working weaponry fort during the war, several large artillery bunkers are scattered about the wooded trails for exploring. A haven for both avid and recreational hikers, the Fort offers many trails of varying lengths and intensity. Peace Mile Hike, which gently loops up toward Artillery Hill and alongside the Chinese Gardens, a lovely meadow lounging in front of the magnificent Olympic Mountains. Be sure to visit the Coast Artillery Museum, offering educational films detailing Fort Worden's military history, as well as replicas of weapons used in the war. Also of interest to museum buffs is the Commanding Officer's Quarters, a 12-room house filled with Victorian antiques depicting the life of an early 20th century officer and his family. For more information on Fort Worden, contact the information center at (360) 385-4730.
Keeping with Port Townsend's maritime roots, a trip would not be complete without a visit to the Point Wilson Lighthouse. First lit in 1879, it is still a working lighthouse today, though long gone are the days where dedicated lighthouse keepers kept the midnight oil burning to warn ships of the craggy shoreline. The lighthouse went fully automated in 1976 and has since been largely closed to the public. Limited tours are available in the summer, call for more information. Located a short walk away from the lighthouse is the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. A see-and-touch experience provides four large "touch tanks" and over a dozen aquaria for viewing. The Center appeals to all ages, offering a variety of teaching programs about local fish and wildlife. Open regular hours spring through fall, and winter by appointment. Call (360) 385-5582 for more information.
While staying in Port Townsend, you might wish to hop aboard the seasonally-run whale watching cruise up to the San Juan islands for a delightful day trip that gets you home in plenty of time for a walk downtown and a cozy dinner at one of Port Townsend's many fine eating establishments. Spend the afternoon looking for Gray Whales and enjoy a four-hour port of call in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
If you're in a seafaring frame-of-mind, saunter down the dock and climb aboard a Washington State Ferry bound for Whidbey Island for a round-trip crossing that traverses the Strait of Juan de Fuca into open waters! Take a picnic supper, or purchase lunch aboard the ferry for a spectacular view of the Olympic Mountains and a stunning view of the city of Port Townsend. The ferry runs year round. For schedule and fare information, call (800) 84-FERRY.
After spending your days exploring or relaxing, evenings are a delight in Port Townsend. Stroll down Water Street after a delicious meal at one of many fine eating establishments, or take in a movie at one of Port Townsend's three movie theaters. The Uptown Theater offers first-run movies in a comfortable atmosphere, for showtimes call (360) 385-3883. Downtown in the historical district is the refurbished Rose Theatre, a luxurious theater showing a variety of movies, call (360) 385-1089. Port Townsend is also home to one of the last great American pastimes, the drive-in movie. The Wheel-In Motor Movie is open during the summer months, for showtimes call (360) 385-0859.
For live entertainment enjoy Port Townsend's two thriving theather companies, Bare Boards and Passion, and the Key City Players. Port Townsend also supports two full-sized orchestras, the Turtle Bluff Orchestra and the Port Townsend Symphony. Information on concerts and theater productions, as well as Port Townsend's other festivals and events is available by calling the Port Townsend Visitor Information Center at (888) 365-6978.
Port Townsend Recreation Links
Olympic Mountain Outdoors
Captain Jack's Sea Charters
Chevy Chase Golf Course
Other Helpful Area Links
The Belmont Restaurant
Washington State Ferries
Port Townsend Chamber of Commerce
Olympic National Park Field Guide
Olympic National Park (Official)
Olympic National Forest
Maps and Directions
From Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport: I-5 to Bainbridge ferry. Off ferry follow signs to Hood Canal Bridge. Cross bridge and continue on Highway 104 to Highway 19 (Beaver Valley Road) turn off and follow signs to Port Townsend or Port Ludlow. Driving time from Bainbridge is approximately one hour.
From Portland and Points south: I-5 north to Tacoma to 38th St. Bremerton exit and across Narrows Bridge (Highway 16) to Highway 3 north to Hood Canal Bridge, Highway 104, to Highway 19 (Beaver Valley Road) turn off and follow signs to Port Townsend or Port Ludlow. ALTERNATE ROUTE: take I-5 to Olympia and Highway 101 north. Turn off to Highway 20 east and follow signs.
From Vancouver, Canada and Points North: I-5 south to Highway 20 west turn off. Follow signs to and through Oak Harbour (on Whidbey Island) to Keystone Ferry to downtown Port Townsend. If during summer after 3pm use Edmonds ferry to avoids delays.
BY FERRY: Seattle to Bainbridge: Follow directions above from Sea-Tac International Airport.
Edmonds to Kingston: I-5 north from Seattle to Edmonds/Kingston ferry to Highway 104 across Hood Cannel Bridge and follow signs to Port Townsend and Port Ludlow (Hwy. 19, Beaver Valley Road).
Current Ferry Schedules:
Washington State Ferries
M.V. Coho Ferry