Washington’s Rain Forest Peninsulas

Exploration and adventure are never-ending on Washington’s Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas. The incredible Olympic Mountains sit in the center of the peninsulas, producing the state’s wettest climate in the famous Olympic National Park and Hoh rain forest on the western coast and its driest climate on the Northern side facing Victoria, Canada. Explore the charming and humble cities like Forks, Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend, spread across this vast region. Each town provides sensational farm to table culinary delights, art galleries, and cultural & historic festivals and sites. Majestic beaches, a 122 mile long Olympic Discovery Trail, lavender farms, berry picking, wine and cider tasting, and abundant wildlife are found throughout the Peninsula. “Twilight” fans come for the vampire haven of Forks and stay for the vast beauty and enchantment of this treasured region. Hurricane Ridge, the second most visited site in Washington’s Olympic National Park, is a close drive from Port Angeles, open to hiking, snowboarding and skiing.


The rural community of Forks, Washington, is the heart of the west side of the Olympic Peninsula.


Forks is conveniently located near the Olympic Mountains, Pacific Ocean beaches and forested river valleys that are quintessentially Washington. You might recognize the scenery from the incredibly popular vampire saga, “Twilight,” which had so much success that Forks hosts an annual festival in its honor. Aside from Twilight-themed entertainment, this town has a bright community, rich history and awe-inspiring natural resources. Additionally, it’s very close to the most famous and breathtaking beaches of the Olympic National Park including ShiShi, Rialto and Third Beach, as well as the Hoh River and Sol Duc River, which are recognized by our INNSiders as some of the top fly fishing rivers in the state in this article. Our INNSiders also have an incredible list of day hikes in the area you don’t want to miss. 

It has a mild climate with daytime summer highs reaching around 70 degrees and summer nighttime lows around 50. In the winter, daytime highs reach the mid-40s and nighttime lows are mid-30s. As part of the rainforest peninsula region, Forks receives an average of 120 inches of rain a year and during the summer it averages about 2.5 inches per month.

Forks is located on the northwest tip of Washington state. Travel time from Seattle is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes and may include catching the Bainbridge Island Ferry from downtown.


Within minutes of Forks are 200 miles of wild rivers. This is an ideal area for salmon and steelhead sports fishing, rafting and kayaking. V

Olympic National Park and National Forest lands provide countless hiking trails for both novice and experienced hikers.

The nearby Pacific Beaches beg to be explored. These beaches are favorites for beach combing and hiking. The beaches at La Push have long been favored places for whale watching.

Additions and improvements to the Olympic Discovery Trail will eventually provide a bike trail from Port Townsend to Forks and LA Push. Many sections are currently open and make for scenic bike rides.

The Hoh Rainforest, one of the largest temperate rain forests in the continental US is a short, scenic 45-minute drive from Forks.

Forks has three main festivals during the year. In April, Forks is host to Rainfest. This is a celebration of the arts in the community, especially quilting. In October, Forks Heritage Days gives old timers a chance to reminisce about the community’s past. They celebrate the rich heritage of logging, mill working and fishing. Heritage Days include a smoked fish and brew contest.

Forks Old Fashioned Fourth of July, the largest celebration of the year, includes a parade, salmon bake, demolition derby and fireworks.

Fans of author Stephanie Meyer, visit to discover the Forks, Washington captured in the popular “Twilight” book series. The National Geographic Channel’s “Legend of Mick Dodge” has also captured the attention of the public.The Miller Tree Inn, located in downtown Forks offers an authentic upscale farmhouse experience. They are also the Twilight “experts”.

Things to Do

Arts and Entertainment

  • Rose Theater
  • Starlight Room
  • Key City Public Theater
  • Port Townsend Farmers Market
  • Port Townsend Gallery Walks


  • Puget Sound Express
  • Sound Adventures
  • Octopus Gardens Diving
  • Wyvern Air Charter
  • Take the loop: Seattle-Anacortes-Friday Harbor-Victoria BC-Port Angeles-Port Townsend-Coupeville-Anacortes

Featured Places to Stay in Forks

Port Angeles & Sequim

Located in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, Port Angeles and Sequim feature majestic forests and serene beaches. Home to the Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site packed with opportunities for outdoor recreation, these stunning cities will capture your heart.


Port Angeles is perched on the northern shore between the mountains and the Salish Sea. East of Port Angeles you'll find the charming city of Sequim. Both of these beautiful towns are located on the doorstep of the Olympic National Park, where nearly one million acres of stunning beauty and old-growth forest await you. There are plenty of things to do in Port Angeles and the surrounding area - it's a paradise for hikers, kayakers, and mountain bikers, ready to capture the hearts of all who adventure there. Enjoy expansive views of the Salish Sea and scenic beaches overlooking the Pacific Ocean too. The region that Port Angeles and Sequim sit closely together in are prime locations for recreation on water and land. If you prefer to explore the urban side of things, you will find plenty of local art, museums, self-guided tours and music to enjoy. You will enjoy excellent craft breweries, wineries and venues and venues serving up fresh, locally harvested cuisine from area farms and waters. Offering endless scenic beauty and cultural significance, prepare to be enthralled by these incredible cities in the rain forest peninsulas.

HIking, Biking, and Mountains

Begin your visit to the Olympic Peninsula by visiting Hurricane Ridge.Take the scenic 17-mile drive to the most easily accessible mountain area in Olympic National Park. On a clear day, the views are spectacular. Enjoy traversing the ridges along one of the hiking trails, or stop at a picnic area and have lunch with a view. The road is open throughout the summer and scheduled to be open Friday-Sunday in the winter months, weather permitting.

The Olympic Peninsula is home to green forests, snow capped mountains and expansive water views. Some of the WaINNSider member inns in the area sit on the bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  From here you can relax in the evening and watch the lights of Victoria, BC.

Those who like to bike or hike can access the 120 mile long Olympic Discovery Trail from access points within 1 mile of member inns, various other access points along the trail, and even the Port Angeles City Pier. From downtown Port Angeles, the trail extends 7 miles west to the Elwha River and ultimately all the way to Lake Crescent and Forks.

Day Trips from Port Angeles & Sequim

Cape Flattery: It is a two-hour drive from Port Angeles to Cape Flattery. The trip is well worth it. Cape Flattery is the northwestern most point of the contiguous U.S. and home to the Makah tribe. Most visitors come to hike the popular 1.5-mile trail at Cape Flattery. This well maintained trail winds through old growth forest and along the water affording breathtaking views as well as the chance to view abundant wildlife. While there, visit Neah Bay and learn about the Makah Tribe at the Makah Cultural and Research Center.

Elwha River: The Elwha River is the largest watershed of the Olympic Mountains and is less than 15 minutes from downtown Port Angeles. The valley has a very short hike to Madison Fall or longer day hikes along the river's edge to the old dam site and Olympic Hot Springs.

Lake Crescent: A short 30-minute drive from downtown Port Angeles is Lake Crescent, a pristine glacier-fed lake with waterfall and old growth forest hikes and water recreation.

Victoria, BC is a short 75-minute ferry ride from downtown Port Angeles via the Blackball Ferry Line. The ferry makes it easy to visit historic Victoria. Spend the day in this very walk able city enjoying historic architecture, beautiful gardens and a large variety of delightful restaurants and quaint shops. Butchart Gardens is a must see and easily accessible by the Butchart Gardens Shuttle Express Bus. Return to the Port Angeles/Sequim area in the evening.

Things to Do

Hike, Bike and Walk

  • Hurricane Ridge: Part of Olympic National Park. Several hikes are available from the visitors center, offering endless views into the interior of Olympic National Park as well as North to Canada over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
  • Lake Crescent: Part of Olympic National Park. Moderately difficult hikes to waterfalls as well as more challenging hikes to Mt. Storm King.
  • Olympic Discovery Trail: 122-mile paved biking/hiking trail beginning in Port Townsend and ending in Forks with easy access points at each section of the trail.
  • Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along this five-mile naturally made sand spit overlooking the Salish Sea to Canada. An abundance of migratory birds inhabit this area so be sure to bring binoculars!


  • Ferry to Victoria BC: A short 75-minute ferry allows for day trips to Canada. Be sure to bring your passport!
  • Whale Watching: Departures available from Port Angeles and nearby Port Townsend
  • Lavender Farms: Situated in the rain shadow of the Olympics, the Sequim area is one of the largest Lavender producing areas anywhere in the world outsid of France. July is the peak month for blooming.
  • Olympic Game Farm: Grab a loaf of bread and experience a zoo like never before.
  • Dungeness Golf Course: Great 18-hole golf course and restaurant facilities.
  • Wine Tasting: Harbinger, Camaraderie, and Olympic Cellars are all a short drive from Port Angeles

Featured Places to Stay in Port Angeles & Sequim

Port Townsend

Port Townsend, a historic seaport town is in the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula. It is known for its many Victorian style homes.


Port Townsend WA is a picturesque historic seaport on the Olympic Peninsula. It is surrounded by water and mountains. Therefore,Port Townsend is an ideal home base for exploring the Olympic National Park. The historic district is filled with vibrant independently-owned shops, galleries and restaurants. Downtown is gentile today compared to its rough-and-tumble waterfront heritage. Tall ships no longer line the bay, but you may catch sight of classic wooden schooners under full sail.

Uptown is home to classic Victorian mansions as well as other unique architecture. Stay at The Old Consulate Inn. This beautifully restored Victorian home was built in 1889. For a different experience, stay at the Ravenscroft Inn B&B. The b&b was designed as a Charleston single. It sports an elegant veranda with sweeping views.

Experience wine & cider touring, whale watching, hiking and cycling.There is always music in Port Townsend. Popular events include the world class jazz, blues and fiddle festivals. Port Townsend is a mecca for wooden boat enthusiasts. Visit she Wooden Boat Festival and the annual gathering of vessels in September. Visit Fort Worden State Park and the historic Point Wilson Lighthouse.

The town has about 9000 permanent residents. Weather is mild year around. Summertime average high temperate is 71 degrees Fahrenheit. Wintertime average low temperature is near 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The town is shielded by the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains and averages 19.1 inches of precipitation.

Arrive by car or car ferry from Seattle, Olympia, the San Juan Islands, or Victoria B.C. Travel time from Seattle is 2 hours and 15 minutes when traveling by ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge. It is about the same travel time on driving around the southern end of the hood channel from SEATAC airport.

Things to Do

Puget Sound Express

Offers amazing half, full-day, and multi-day whale watching tours as well as a good option for a walk-on ferry service to Friday Harbor (May-September).

Port Townsend Vineyards

Enjoy local wine tasting with beautiful patio views, music, and small bites.

Sail Port Townsend

Want to get out on the water? Sail offers private trips for 2-4 people.

Fort Worden State Park

Weddings and events, music concerts, restaurants, and more at this historic State Park. Less than two miles from downtown Port Townsend.

Point Wilson Lighthouse

1914 Lighthouse located on the waterfront at Fort Worden is popular with photographers.

Featured Places to Stay in Port Townsend

Port Ludlow

Port Ludlow is a small village nestled on the banks of the Hood Canal and is uniquely positioned as the gateway to the Olympic Peninsula. Spend lazy days kayaking marshy inlets, wandering sandy beaches and exploring coastal trails through lush rainforest. Plan your visit to Port Ludlow now!


Port Ludlow was originally a logging and sawmill community. Following the completion of the nearby Hood Canal Bridge in 1960, it became the site of resorts and planned communities attracting more affluent residents who were retired, buying vacation homes or needing a more convenient commute to the business centers on the west side of Puget Sound.

What Is The Weather Typically Like During Different Times Of Year In Port Ludlow?

Port Ludlow, Washington has a moderate climate with mild summers and cool, wet winters.

Winter (December - February): Winters are rainy, cloudy and relatively mild in Port Ludlow. Daytime high temperatures reach 45-55°F (7-13°C) on average, with nighttime lows of 35-45°F (2-7°C). The rainiest months are November through January, when long drizzles and downpours are normal and average rainfall reaches up to 7 inches per month. Snow is rare in the area, though light dustings may occasionally occur – usually less than an inch of accumulation. Cold winter air blows in from the Pacific Ocean, so dress in layers year-round.

Spring (March - May): Spring brings a mix of lingering showers, increasing sunny skies and comfortable warm days reaching highs around 60°F (16°C). Rainfall begins tapering off in March and April. Spring is beautiful in Port Ludlow as wildflowers bloom and trees display their bright green leaves. By May there are noticeably longer dry spells, though light rain showers still occur. Overnight lows cool to the 40s.

Summer (June - August): Port Ludlow offers the best of the Pacific Northwest during the summer. Port Ludlow’s warmest months have pleasant weather with daytime temperatures ranging from 65-80°F (18-27°C). Brilliant sunny blue skies become more of the norm with significantly less rain, though passing showers and clouds still happen occasionally. Overnight low temperatures usually remain mild in the 50s. Some humidity and rare hot days above 80°F may occur for short periods. This would be the best time for day hikes and beach activities.

Fall (September - November): Fall brings more frequent rainy days interspersed with crisp sunny days. Afternoons continue to reach 65-70°F (18-21°C) through September and cool down as it gets later into fall. The fall foliage display of vibrant autumn leaf colors also peaks from October into early November before most deciduous trees go bare for the winter. September rainfall remains on the higher side with an average of 3.5 inches. Check out some of the best fall activities here.

Are There Boat Tours, Kayaking, Whale Watching Or Other Water Activities In Port Ludlow?

Numerous charter boat companies offer seasonal whale watching tours departing right from the Port Ludlow Marina. These two-to-three-hour cruises take passengers along the coastline of the Olympic Peninsula to view gray whales and other marine wildlife like seals, sea lions and a wide variety of seabird species. Many operators also combine whale sightseeing with an optional stop for kayaking or hiking. In addition to whales, boat tour companies may also provide summer fishing charters or more private sunset cruises and sailing trips customized for tourists.

For the more adventurous, kayak rentals are available to launch and explore around Ludlow Bay and the beaches of Port Ludlow independently. Guided kayak tours are also popular, ranging from gentle half-day paddles to physically demanding full-day sea kayaking trips discovering the region’s rich marine life diversity. 

Featured Places to Stay in Port Ludlow


Bremerton, Washington is a historic port town located on the Puget Sound across from Seattle. You can visit the Puget Sound Navy Museum to learn about the area’s rich naval history, relax at waterfront beaches and fountains, explore the Harborview district or take a ferry ride to Seattle for iconic attractions and skyline views.


Bremerton, located on the Puget Sound across from Seattle, features a scenic waterfront downtown with panoramic views of passing boats, ferries and harbors. Founded in 1891 as a timber port, it evolved into a key shipbuilding hub for the U.S. Navy, especially during World War II, before shifting to a center for private maritime industries.

Today, Bremerton’s nautical heritage influences its lively downtown. The city attracts visitors with its growing public art galleries, outdoor recreation opportunities and easy access to neighboring towns and attractions. Offering a quieter alternative to larger cities, Bremerton has expanded into the biotech industry and retail and features a pedestrian-friendly boardwalk, the Seattle ferry hub and a variety of cafes, museums, parks and trails. 

While the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard remains a major employer, Bremerton's balance of urban excitement and small-town feel is making it an increasingly popular tourist destination in Washington State.

How Easy Is It To Reach Seattle From Bremerton?

It is relatively easy to reach Seattle from Bremerton. The driving distance between Bremerton and Seattle is 67 miles. You can either take a ferry or drive from Seattle. The ferry ride from Bremerton to Seattle takes around 30 minutes and costs between $2 and $40 depending on the type of ticket you purchase. Alternatively, driving from Seattle to Bremerton takes approximately 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Can I Tour The Puget Sound Naval Museum Or Any Warships?

The Puget Sound Naval Museum in Bremerton offers visitors comprehensive exhibits and displays highlighting the history of this major Pacific coast naval shipyard. Visitors can easily spend hours wandering this expansive museum dedicated entirely to educating people about Bremerton's naval and maritime legacy. 

Exhibits showcase models of vessels constructed at the Puget Sound yards including submarines, battleships and aircraft carriers that served in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and continue to safeguard the country today. Authentic artifacts, photographs, films and recruitment posters convey what life and work was like on base during war and peacetime. Most impressive of all, the museum provides regular access for self-guided walking tours aboard the historic USS Turner Joy destroyer ship on location. This Forrest Sherman-class warship was in service from 1958-1982 and saw combat in Vietnam before becoming a floating Naval museum. Sign up to climb aboard and imagine life at sea!

While there is restricted access to most of the other vessels in the active naval shipyard, the museum's artifacts, archives, outdoor combat memorials and the USS Turner Joy provide immersive interactions with Bremerton’s ongoing shipbuilding heritage. Make sure you add it to your itinerary so you can learn more about this integral feature of the town.

Book for the best accommodations near Bremerton here.

To discover more activities in the Rainforest Peninsula, you can explore the related articles below for helpful and insightful recommendations:

5 Weekend Vacation Destinations for Seattlites

Day Hiking Adventures Of The Olympic National Forest

Best Beaches For A Beach Day On The Olympic Peninsula

Unique Ways to Bring in the New Year in Washington


Keyport is a quaint village positioned on the shores of Liberty Bay on the Kitsap Peninsula. Spend lazy days beachcombing sandy beaches, visiting local museums and galleries and exploring the harbor front. Plan your visit to Keyport now!


Keyport, Washington, first known for the Keyport Naval Torpedo Station active from 1913 to the 1940s, transformed after World War II. The naval base, once a hub for torpedo work, gave way to businesses focused on fishing, boat making and repairs to support a growing recreational boating and tourism sector. This charming town by Liberty Bay soon attracted artists, galleries, cafes and more residents and vacation home owners, all drawn to its quaint appeal and beautiful waterside. Today, Keyport honors its maritime and naval roots while thriving as one of the most visited tourist destinations in the Puget Sound area.

Is Keyport Close To Larger Cities If I Want To Do A Day Trip?

Keyport, Washington is located on the eastern shore of the Kitsap Peninsula and is fortuitously positioned for many scenic day trip opportunities thanks to its prime location on the Puget Sound and proximity to major Washington State tourist destinations. Visitors can easily combine exploring Keyport’s charming beaches and harbor front cafés with urban attractions and adventures in nearby Bremerton, Silverdale or Poulsbo.

Keyport also offers quick and picturesque ferry connections to docks across the Puget Sound. You can venture into downtown Seattle in under an hour for the big city sights or head to Edmonds, Kingston or the San Juan Islands for a change of pace. 

Look for the best accommodations near Keyport here.

See Places to Stay


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