Standing on the northern tip of Quimper Peninsula—a point off the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula—Port Townsend (pop. 9,000) is best known for its many excellent Victorian homes. Sandwiched between the perpetually snow-covered Olympic Mountains and the ship-filled Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Townsend is a working town with much to see and explore. Many folks consider it one of the most interesting and beautiful towns in Washington.
Getting to Port Townsend
Parking can be a nightmare on summer weekends; avoid the hassles (and parking tickets) by parking at the Park & Ride (Haines Pl. and 12th St.); stop on the south side of town and hop aboard a Jefferson Transit (360/385-4777 or 800/773-7788, www.jeffersontransit.com) bus, serving Port Townsend and Jefferson County.
Port Townsend is served directly by the Washington State Ferry (206/842-2345 or 888/808-7977, 800/843-3779 for automated information, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/) from Keystone on the southwest side of Whidbey Island. The ferries depart about every 50 minutes, and in summer cost $2.60 one-way for passengers and walk-ons, $11.15 one-way for car and driver, $0.50 extra for bikes.
P.S. Express (360/385-5288, www.pugetsoundexpress.com, $78 round-trip, bikes and kayaks $12 extra) provides passenger-only service between Port Townsend and Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The boat leaves Port Townsend daily April–October and takes you through Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where you’re likely to see seals, sea otters, and orcas.
Goodwin Aviation (360/531-1727) offers charter service to Sea-Tac Airport, Victoria, the San Juan Islands, and other Northwest destinations.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition