Day Trips

A Full Day in Port Townsend

Washington state’s quaint Victorian seaport is less than two hours from Seattle—and that includes the lazy ferry ride.

By Allison Williams September 19, 2016 Published in the October 2016 issue of Seattle Met

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Image: Michael Byers


Ferry time! Thanks to the half-hour Edmonds-to-Kingston ride, a trip to Port Townsend is a mere 50 miles of driving. Consider Port Gamble—an old sawmill town located right before the Hood Canal Bridge—a kind of preview; the restored historic houses and blindingly green grass give it a bucolic New England vibe. 


Port Townsend itself could be bitter; it predates Seattle and was once in the running for state capital before losing out to Olympia. But the picture-perfect seaport settled into its elaborate Victorian shtick and remains the best city for tourists on the Olympic Peninsula. Walk downtown’s Water Street for endless clothing boutiques and art galleries. The best stop: Elevated Ice Cream Company, where they’ll dip your cone in sprinkles—ask for “jimmies.”


The Northwest Maritime Center at the end of town is like our own Wooden Boat Center on Lake Union, but bigger. A massive boat shop, often filled with artisans and students, opens into an outdoor plaza, and owners of beautifully crafted sailboats are known to park their rides on the center’s dock.

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Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park

Image: Mike Shettel


If you have a kite, this is the place to let it fly. The winds whip through the parks of Port Townsend, thanks to its position on the corner of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Chetzemoka Park, named for a S’Klallam leader, has a small open field and beach access, and Fort Worden just to the north has whole parade grounds ideal for kite flying.


For a final stop before the ferry home, slow down in Chimacum, just south of Port Townsend. Though it’s little more than a bump in the road, there are two excellent options: Finnriver Cidery, quickly becoming one of the state’s most popular apple-booze purveyors, which opened a new tasting room this year, or Chimacum Cafe, a classic roadside diner with saucy waitresses and excellent fruit pie. 

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