Port Townsend Town
Sound & Bay
Discover the authentic charm of Port Townsend, Washington’s Victorian Seaport, with its maritime heritage and touch of urban chic. The Victorian architecture, the beautiful setting, stunning mountain and water views, unique shops and galleries, excellent restaurants, music and arts programs, and the excellent weather all combine to make this a very special place with a very active outdoor community.
Port Townsend was the birthplace of the concept of the Olympic Discovery Trail, and the trail begins its westward journey across the Olympic Peninsula right here at the waterfront on Puget Sound.
Port Townsend has a rich history of discovery, growth, boom and bust, and although the early dreams of a major Puget Sound seaport failed to materialize here at the end of the 19th century, the rail line between Port Angeles and Port Townsend continued in use until 1985. It had the distinction of being the only railroad in the nation whose schedule was determined by the tides, as the freight cars were loaded onto barges to be towed across Puget Sound.
The abandoned rail corridor now provides the excellent, easy trail route for much of the Olympic Discovery Trail on its way westward from here through the towns of Sequim and Port Angeles and further westward to the Pacific Ocean at the village of La Push. Join the fun in picturesque Port Townsend at the start of your adventure across the Olympic Peninsula on the Olympic Discovery Trail.
Visit our Planning and Support pages to learn about how to get here and for specialty needs. The main street of Port Townsend is Water St. If you arrive by the Washington State Ferry, you'll drive off the boat and turn right on Water St directly into the downtown. If arriving by car, you'll enter the town on State Hwy 20 (Sims Wy). Continue through the roundabouts and down the hill onto Water St and the downtown area. You'll pass by the ferry terminal on your right and then many shops, restaurants, and galleries. Another main street is Lawrence, 5 blocks to the north on the hill above downtown, in an area called Uptown. There are two chain grocery stores in town, both on Sims Wy and a speciality market Uptown on Lawrence.
The outstanding Port Townsend Farmers Market is located Uptown Saturday Farmers Market, and the city also hosts many good restaurants of all types and price ranges. Several restaurants feature locally grown organic produce and local seafood. There are also several charming coffee shops with free WiFi and occasional live music. A favorite with trail users is Elevated Ice Cream on Water St. Owners Julie and David McCullough are active in the local bike club and enjoy discussing local biking opportunities with customers. A listing of restaurants and all things Port Townsend can be found at the PTGuide website.
Most motels and hotels are located along Sims Wy and downtown on Water St. There are many fine B&Bs throughout the town, several in beautifully restored historic Victorian homes. Visit the tourism website for the Olympic Peninsula for the latest lodging information or the PTGuide website for listings and descriptions.
The town is host to many local events such as the annual Rhododendron Festival, the Rhody Run, Rhody Cycling Tour, and the Wooden Boat Festival. There are summer music events sponsored by Centrum, the Port Townsend Film Festival, and the weekly Farmers Market.
Several State Parks are close by, providing camping, hiking, biking, horseback riding, and access to fishing, boating, kayaking, and some great beachcombing. Camp within the tall timber or stay in the original officers quarters at Fort Worden, where the movie "An Officer & a Gentleman" was filmed, or at Fort Flagler State Park with stunning views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca.