Port Angeles welcomes all to experience this friendly and inclusive city that is perfectly positioned between the sea and Olympic National Park. From LGBTQ+ gatherings to accessible hiking and biking trails to celebrating the Native people that have inhabited this land for generations, Port Angeles is a safe and comfortable place for everyone to visit. Read on to hear about inclusive travel experiences in Port Angeles.
Native Cultural Experiences in Port Angeles
Look around to learn about the indigenous culture that surrounds us. Navigate through downtown Port Angeles’ waterfront using the street signs that are in both the Klallam and English language. Head to the Port Angeles Farmers Market on a quiet Saturday morning for a handmade pastry and a latte. There you’ll spy The Strong People art mural that explains the origin of the name of the Elwha Klallam People, “Nəxʷsƛ̕áy̕əm.” Discover more Native history art murals along the Port Angeles Art Mural Trail near the Feiro Marine Life Center at the City Pier. View the Ennis Creek mural which depicts a 1750 Klallam village, painted by internationally renowned artist Cory Ench.
For a deep dive into Native history and stories, view the artifacts from čixʷícən, an ancient village uncovered near the Port Angeles waterfront. The exhibit is on display at Elwha Klallam Museum at the Carnegie which is open by appointment only. For workshops on basket weaving and beading as well as traditional Native art exhibits, poets, and storytellers, film screenings and more, visit the ʔak̓ʷustəƞáwt̓xʷ House of Learning at Peninsula College Longhouse. It was the first longhouse in the nation to be built on a community college campus and serves as a community and educational center for honoring and sharing Native culture.
For another open-air art experience, head to Webster’s Woods Sculpture Park (open daily from sunrise to sunset; free to enter). It’s located on five acres in the woods in the Uptown Arts District area at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. See one of the newest sculptures called “Sčtə́ŋxwən Mákw’ aʔ” which in Klallam means “Earth/Land Grave.” Anthony May’s sculpture is made from an upcycled tree trunk and “honors Native American ancestors and spiritual connection with the land.”
Traveling While Black founders, Anthony and Marlie Love, Visited Port Angeles and Loved It
Anthony and Marlie are an adventurous couple based in Seattle who love to travel and share their inclusive travel experiences on a one to five-point scale. This is based on a drive grade, level of fun and comfortability for black people. Visit Port Angeles was happy to host them for several days and to receive a score of four out of five on their 5-point scale!
“Throughout our visit, we were pleased to find a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for Black travelers in this coastal Washington city. From the restaurants and shops to the interactions with locals, we felt comfortable and accepted. Moreover, we were pleasantly surprised to encounter other Black individuals during our time in Port Angeles. This inclusivity and diversity made our experience even more enjoyable.”
LGBTQ+ Festivals and Celebrations
Our queer-friendly community hosts a handful of events like the annual Pride On the Port Angeles Pier or Pride Picnics at the nearby B&B Family Lavender Farm in Sequim. The annual Esprit gala, hosted and supported by the Red Lion Hotel Port Angeles Harbor, is a week-long conference that has been happening for over 20 years in Port Angeles, filled with fun events and classes. “Over the years, as Esprit grew, the town of Port Angeles grew in its own way. Support from City Hall, the police, and the business community was present from the beginning. But as the economic benefits became more apparent with each passing year, the business community began to welcome Esprit with greater eagerness every year,” said Esprit gala organizers.
Check the event calendar for a number of events hosted at Studio Bob – an arts and events venue in downtown – including the Out Loud Story Slam. The lodging, restaurants, shops, and tour and attractions community is full of LGBTQ+ friendly businesses. Maitland Manor and Domaine Madeleine are also popular queer-friendly bed and breakfast lodging destinations in Port Angeles, which are a delight to stay at.
Accessible Trails, Bicycle Pump Track, and Getting Outside with Ian’s Ride
One of the best biking trails in Washington spans over 135-miles from Port Townsend to the Pacific Ocean (just outside of Forks, Washington). Known as the Olympic Discovery Trail (ODT) and the “Pathway to the Pacific,” this trail is ADA compliant in a number of significant sections, including the Deer Park Scenic Gateway Center, the Port Angeles Waterfront and Morse Creek Trailheads. The ODT trail continues to be improved for ADA compliance in sections with steep grades and creek crossings.
Port Angeles’ Erikson Playfield Pump Track was designed not only for bicycles, but also includes an adaptive track for manual and electric wheelchairs that is the first of its kind in the nation. It was honored with an award from Washington Recreation & Park Association.
Ian Mackay wants to promote outdoor accessibility for all. Mackay is an avid cyclist that experienced an accident, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. His non-profit organization, Ian’s Ride, hosts two annual events in Port Angeles. The 74-mile Sea to Sound multi-modal group ride is every August spanning the entire paved section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. The Ride the Ridge cycling event is every September where riders power to the top of Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge.
For more inclusive travel experiences, see one of Port Angeles’ waterfalls along the Olympic Peninsula Waterfall Trail via a short, paved pathway from the parking lot. Madison Falls is a 50-foot-tall waterfall cascading into a clear, peaceful pool surrounded by ferns and evergreens and is accessible. Drive up to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park for out-of-this-world Olympic Mountain views. Wander the Hurricane Hill trail, a 1.5-mile winding paved pathway with sea to mountain vistas.
By Guest Blogger Lynnette Braillard, Visit Port Angeles
Cover photo courtesy of Lynnette Braillard
Click HERE for upcoming events on the Olympic Peninsula