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Ten Reasons to Visit Port Townsend

Ten Reasons to Visit Port Townsend

We just returned from a random weekend in Port Townsend, which is a small coastal town on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It was a last-minute trip and we didn’t plan anything (including booking a place to stay). We just hopped in our car and drove! What we founded was an incredible community that was welcoming, relaxing and a lot of fun. Here is our list of ten reasons to visit Port Townsend (in no particular order):

Bainbridge Island Ferry

The Seattle skyline from the Bainbridge Island ferry.

1. Nearby: It doesn’t take long to get to Port Townsend. The trek is less than two hours from downtown Seattle. The trip includes an easy (and fun) 30 minute ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. From there, Port Townsend is only about a 45 mile drive.

2. Peace and Quiet: While Port Townsend is easy to get to, it is still far enough from the city that you really feel away from it all. If you’re looking for a fast pace weekend trip in the heart of a big city, then Port Townsend probably is not for you. But, if you’re looking to relax then this is a great option.

3. Beaches: One of our favorite things to do is just roam around and explore with no plan. The beaches surrounding Port Townsend are a great place to do just that. We spent several hours walking around, playing in the sand, watching the tide and having fun in the sun.

Port Townsend Sea Lions

Sea lions soaking up the sun

4. Wildlife: The wildlife in Port Townsend is incredible! Not only are there dozens of birds flying above you at any given time, but there are also lots of different sea creatures. It didn’t take us long to spot some seals and sea otters while exploring the beaches. A highlight of our trip was going on a whale watching tour. We spent four hours on the water and encountered several different gray whales. It was out of this world!

5. Movie Theater: The Rose Theater, located downtown Port Townsend, is not your typical theater. Before every movie starts, a staff member introduces the film with a brief background and biography. While they play recent releases, the theater gives you an entire experience.

6. Tsunami Route: Since Port Townsend is a coastal town there is a possibility for a tsunami. That means there are several signs along the beach and city streets that direct people to higher ground. While there was no threat of a tsunami while we were there, we thought it would be fun to follow the sings and see where they take us. It was a great way to explore the less traveled streets of the town.

Port Townsend Sunset

Sunset on the beach in Port Townsend

7. Sunsets: Nothing beats a sunset overlooking water, especially if that water is located in the Pacific Northwest. We enjoyed a sunset while sitting on the beach the first night we were there, and then sipped on beers on the back deck of Siren’s Pub while the sun went down on our second night. Both sunsets were spectacular!

8. Beer: Port Townsend is home to one of the oldest breweries in the region. The original Port Townsend Brewing Co. opened shop in 1905. When Washington State passed the prohibition initiative, the brewery was forced to close in 1916. In 1997, the brewery opened again. Today, they brew more than 12 delicious ales.

9. Food: There are so many restaurants in Port Townsend!  Whether you’re looking to grab some homemade pizza, Asian cuisine, or a fancy dinner, Port Townsend offers them all (and many more). We checked out Silverwater Cafe, Fountain Cafe (our favorite), Siren’s Pub and Tyler Street Cafe.

10. Palace Hotel: This is by far one of the most unique hotels we’ve ever experienced. A stay at the Palace Hotel is worth a trip to Port Townsend by itself. This old hotel, located in downtown, used to be a brothel in the early 1900s. The rooms are named after the different girls who worked the brothel and are decorated with beautiful antique furniture and décor.

Visit Port Townsend

Port Townsend

We could have named our top 30 reasons to visit Port Townsend, but we didn’t want to overwhelm you. We’re already planning our next trip to PT (what the locals call it), including a visit to the Mt. Townsend Creamery and renting kayaks for a day. We can’t wait to go back and add to our already long list of reasons to visit Port Townsend.

Have you ever visited Port Townsend? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you.Leave a comment below or connect with us on TwitterFacebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more on great things to do in the city!


Puget Sound Express Whale Watching Tour

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  1. My husband and I are going to be moving to Seattle in 6 months to a year so I’m really excited that I’ve found your blog. I showed this post to my sister and we’re already planning a girls weekend there. If we went on a Friday morning and came back on Saturday evening or Sunday morning would that give us enough time there you think?

    • Kelly,

      You’re going to love Seattle! Per our conversation on Twitter, you might not know anyone right away, but this is a fantastic city with some of the best people in the world. We’re really glad you enjoy our blog, and we’ll be more than happy to help you acclimate to the Emerald City!

      Friday through Saturday evening/Sunday morning would be enough time to experience Port Townsend. For no real reason aside from giving yourself a few extra hours there, we’d recommend staying to Sunday morning. If you do that, you can try another restaurant, soak up another sunset, etc.

      The best part is — Port Townsend is only about two hours from Seattle, so you can always go back and see what you missed (if you feel like you didn’t get enough time there)!


  2. Hi there, I just stumbled onto your blog & ironically we have a similar story. My wife planned this trip to PT from Portland for this Labor Day weekend with very little planning & so far we love it here. I’ll definitely look into some of your recommendations. We ate at Lanza’s last night & it was exquisitely good. Anyway, we are here until sometime Sunday & we are exploring as we go. Thanks for the info.


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