Port Townsend's forever charming downtown.

Population 9,545

Port Townsend

Vibe: Life-size Victorian dollhouse

Finest Feast: The homemade pastas and seasonal produce at Finistère lure Seattle folks onto a ferry.

Newest Novelties: A new summer arts and music festival at Fort Worden, Thing, moved to replace Sasquatch; the Olympic Discovery Trail, a bike route that will eventually stretch across the entire peninsula, gains miles every year.

Population 10,670


Vibe: Vikings, but for kids

Finest Feast: This place has a sweet tooth: Mora Ice Cream, headquartered here, gets national attention for its blackberry flavor, and locals swear by homemade doughnuts at Sluys Poulsbo Bakery.

Newest Novelties: The Kitsap Peninsula’s own Little Norway got the brand-new multi-business Centennial building last year. It houses Crabtree Kitchen and Bar, an eatery dishing local beef, plus a high-end liquor store and artisanal chocolate shop ChocMo. Beats lutefisk tacos (the town has those too).

Executive chef Jason Aldous heads the kitchen at Friday Harbor House.

Image: Amber Fouts

Population 2,407

Friday Harbor

Vibe: If Maine had orcas

Finest Feast: Friday Harbor House boasts bird's-eye views of incoming ferries, an outdoor raw bar, and a chef who once cooked at the famed Willows Inn.

Newest Novelties: The seaside town’s Coho Restaurant earned attention for nixing salmon from the menu in solidarity with hungry orcas in 2018.

Population 947


Vibe: Lumberjack central with good coffee

Finest Feast: Roslyn Cafe may have the Northern Exposure cachet—it was often filmed for the show—but Roots BBQ does Texas-style brisket and isn’t afraid to pour box wine.

Newest Novelties: It’s been decades since the kooky CBS dramedy drew the Hollywood spotlight here; these days the town is best known for outdoor recreation—the recently relaunched Ride Roslyn Bikes even rents fat-tire ones good on snow. The new Hotel Roslyn opened in May with 10 rooms, and Bord and Pillar Pet Spa debuted last spring with hot oil and hydrotherapy treatments…for dogs.

Image: Jane Sherman

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