Olympic Peninsula. Overview of population centers, destinations, and attractions of the Peninsula, with links to the Olympic National Park and Port Angeles, Washington.
The Peninsula is huge! It comprises 3,600 sq mi, of which approximately 1,440 square miles are dedicated to the Olympic National Park.
What follows is an overview of nearly all that the Olympic Peninsula offers, with links to specific details. We'll break it down into North, West, South, and East Peninsula.
Port Angeles is the seat of Clallam County in the north Olympic Peninsula, the main population center, and the main hub of the Olympic Peninsula. A visit to Port Angeles opens up so many tourism possibilities both in Port Angeles and in the nearby areas of the Olympic Peninsula!
Port Townsend is a National Heritage site in the northeast Olympic Peninsula with a very active cultural scene. Port Townsend is a popular getaway destination for those living elsewhere, whether in the greater Seattle area or farther afield. We on the Peninsula also love visiting Port Townsend, WA.
Clallam County Washington takes up nearly the entire north Olympic Peninsula. The western half of the county is known locally as the "West End."
Clallam County WA is our overview of the West End - from Joyce westward to Neah Bay. Population levels are very sparse, but there are several really special places.
Because of the West End's sparse population, or perhaps because you simply like to camp, you may find yourself looking for a place to camp. Check out Olympic Peninsula campgrounds. The link includes camping opportunities throughout the Olympic Peninsula, not just the West End.
Joyce, Washington: Small whistle stop (if that) along Highway 112 west of Port Angeles. But despite its diminutive size population-wise, check out what Joyce WA offers:
Clallam Bay Washington: Clallam Bay is situated west of Joyce, at the east end of the bay known as Clallam Bay, which is part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, now also known as the Salish Sea.
Sekiu WA: Sekiu is a sister town to Clallam Bay, WA, being located on the west rim of Clallam Bay opposite the town of Clallam Bay.
The main focus of this fairly remote part of Clallam County is a little bit of tourism, and a whole lot of fishing, with a dash of logging thrown in.
Neah Bay: Small Makah Indian Reservation village at the top left tip of Washington State's Olympic Peninsula.
The village of Forks is the main population center in the west central Olympic Peninsula. Ten miles away is the Quileute village of La Push.
Forks, WA is located in the southwest part of Clallam County, and so is included in the term, "West End." It is located in the heart of Washington's temperate rain forest, and is recently famous as the setting for Stephenie Meyer's vampire novels, The Twilight Series. (Bella is the main love interest in the novels.)
La Push, WA: Located 10 miles west of Forks on the Pacific coast, and is part of the Quileute Indian Reservation.
The Queets and Quinault Rain Forests make up the lion's share of the South Olympic Peninsula. But additionally, on the coast are all the Kalaloch beaches, including Ruby Beach. These rain forests and beaches are all a part of the Olympic National Park.
To the south of the Kalaloch Beaches and along the southwestern Pacific shores of the Olympic Peninsula is the home of the Quinault Nation.
I'm not exactly certain where the Peninsula stops, and mainland Washington starts, but for completeness' sake...
Since Highway 101 wraps around the west, north, and east sides of the Olympic Peninsula, and since Highway 12 completes the Olympic Peninsula loop by connecting the west and east segments of Highway 101, we'll include the villages along Highway 12 as part of the south Olympic Peninsula.
Hood Canal is a 70-mile fjord which is also the westernmost waterway in the Puget Sound region.
Highway 101 borders the Hood Canal from Brinnon to Potlatch. The area is incredibly scenic, and is dotted with little municipalities with names like Duckabush and Lilliwaup. If your drive includes mid-day, there are fresh oysters (raw or grilled) to be had in Hamma Hamma. I recommend!
Hoodsport sits along the west shore of the Hood Canal. Such a charming village!
Brinnon is situated along the west shore of the Hood Canal north of Hoodsport and Hamma Hamma.
Washington State Transportation: Check this page for details on different ferries, buses, car rentals, etc. Because local public transportation systems are disjointed, that is, not up to European standards or expectations, you will need your own vehicle, whether you own it or rent it.Seattle Tacoma International Airport:
If you fly in, SEA-TAC is your airport of choice.
The Olympic National Park comprises 40% of the Olympic Peninsula. Visitors to Port Angeles come here for many reasons, but I hope one of them is to visit the amazing destination that is Olympic National Park. Here is the main link to Olympic National Park information.
A few direct links to info and things to do: