A current of camaraderie and connection flows between our communities here on the Olympic Peninsula. Our towns and cities are an easy drive from one another. Each offers a different perspective from the landscape we see every day in our own backyard. That’s why locals and visitors alike love to explore these communities and areas on the peninsula. Each of our communities has its own unique feel with a special vibe to it. The personality of a place draws us to discover more. And when you visit, you can sense and see the pride of its residents. The best time to experience these communities is during the quiet season—fall through early spring. So, gather your friends or loved ones, and head to the Olympic Peninsula to live like a local, celebrating community together.
Time to meander
Give yourself a few days to explore. There’s a lot of land to cover with stunning vistas along the way and exciting things to do. Rushing from one place to the next takes away the fun. So, give yourself the gift of time and meander from one community to the next. Start in Shelton, in the southeast corner of the peninsula.
Shelton – Home of Christmastown and the Festival of Firs
For generations, families in Mason County and Shelton have enjoyed holiday traditions centered around their evergreen roots. When they won the Guinness World record for Most Lit Christmas Trees in One Display in 2019, they knew they’d hit the big time. 797 trees that volunteers arranged in a giant maze were lit for the community to enjoy for free. Visitors are welcome, too! Christmastown is a seven-decade tradition that is a bucket list experience for lovers of everything Christmas. 2023 is the first year they’re introducing the Festival of Firs. Certainly not to be missed!
Finnriver Cidery – In the heart of Chimacum
Stop for a glass of cider at Finnriver Cidery. But it won’t just be a glass of cider. It’s a work of art. That cider reflects the passion of a team of famers who’ve come together to build community. To create a small-scale rural economy. To provide stewardship of the land in a collaborative partnership. The Cider Garden is an all-ages gathering place with music and a local food court where friends meet or discover new ones, and to celebrate community.
Fort Worden Historical State Park – Port Townsend
Port Townsend, located in the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula, is known for its Victorian heritage and as a maritime community. But it’s also home to an amazing state park. Check out this fort that features 73 historic buildings with four museums and creative spaces for a community of artists, musicians, woodworkers, educational program attendees, yoga participants and more. You can even stay in historic vacation rentals that were formerly home to military officers. Walk on the parade grounds where An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed. Hike the trails and climb atop gun emplacements built at the turn of the 20th century.
Celebrating the sun and community together at the Sunshine Festival – Sequim
After months of winter weather, come March, we all long for some sun. Time to visit sunny Sequim and experience the annual Sunshine Festival! In 2024, it will be held March 1 – 3. The festival celebrates all things “light.” Have some fun. Explore the town. Discover something new. Run in the Sun Fun Color Run. And don’t miss the amazing Illuminated Drone Show. Enjoy this lovely community in the sun.
Winter Ice Village – Port Angeles
It takes a village—of volunteers—to bring the Winter Ice Village to life! This holiday season, enjoy the mild winter weather and check out Port Angeles’ covered outdoor skating rink. Strap on a pair of ice skates and pirouette your way across the ice. Drop in any time! Head out again for a bite to eat or do some holiday shopping. Your ticket is good until closing time.
Explore the West End – Forks Area
This is a land of original indigenous people, as well as a community of pioneer families, of fishermen and of early settlers and loggers. Travel to Neah Bay and visit the Makah Cultural Center to see 500-year-old artifacts and learn their rich history. Visit La Push, home to the Quileute Tribe, and hike the wind-swept rugged First or Second Beach (always mindful of winter tides). Stop in the Forks Timber Museum to discover fascinating stories of the hearty settlers who made it all the way west to provide lumber to a growing nation. To experience the true grandeur of the rain forest, visit the Hoh or Quinault Rain Forests in the winter or early spring when they are moist, lush and quiet. And if you’ve always wanted to kiss in the rain—Forks is the place to do so with over 100 inches annually!
Razor Clam Digging – Kalaloch, Mocrocks, Copalis and Twin Harbors Beaches
Looking for a new activity, or one you already love, to do with your kids? Razor clam digging could be just the thing. From November through December, razor clams can be found on intertidal coastal beaches on the Olympic Peninsula. Tides for optimum digging range from +3 foot to -2 foot tide levels. Check out all the details you need to know with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. And don’t miss the Ocean Shores Razor Clam and Seafood Festival March 15 – 27, 2024!
There’s a connection that sparks conversation when we travel. A chance encounter can turn into pure magic and unexpected inspiration. It’s part of the adventure of going to different places and meeting new people. We welcome you to come and experience our special places and spaces! Join us in celebrating the community together with all of us who love and live on the Olympic Peninsula.
Click HERE for a full list of events happening on the Olympic Peninsula.
Cover photo courtesy of Visit Port Angeles