Day Trip Guide: Beach Towns and Fun Cities in Washington State
One of my favorite parts of living in the Olympia area is the close proximity to the ocean, mountains, and big cities. Although Olympia has plenty to explore in its 20 square miles, there is even more to see beyond its borders. Let’s take a closer look at some of the fun small towns here in Northwestern Washington.
Ocean Shores and Westport:
Located an hour and a half west of Olympia, Ocean Shores and Westport are two little beach towns ready for a weekend break. Now that summer is upon us, the sandy beaches are a perfect way to cool down when the temperatures climb. For Star Wars fans, stop in Aberdeen at the Star Wars Shop and pick up some memorabilia before hitting the coast.
When you arrive at the beach, take some time to surf or make a small fire. Hot dogs taste incredible next to the ocean. If you are at Westport, grab some ice cream on the boardwalk and watch the fishermen bring in the days catch. At Ocean Shores, pop by the strip mall and grab a tee shirt commemorating your trip. You can also take a picture next to the giant shark at Sharky’s.
To cap off the day, grab dinner at Galway Bay in Ocean Shores (the chicken pasty is incredible) or pop into the Westport Winery for sandwiches and a few wine samples.
Port Townsend and Port Angeles:
Located around 2 hours northwest of Olympia sits Port Townsend and Port Angeles. These small towns are home to history and adventure. In Port Angeles, there is a delightful drive thru fudge shop called WeDo fudge. The staff is great and the fudge is delicious. The city also hosts a lavender festival in mid July so bring your cameras and enjoy the calming plant.
In between the two towns is Troll Haven, a wacky destination filled with carved, wooden trolls. They make an excellent photo spot and the kids will have a great time exploring the grounds. The property is great for weddings and other special events in this warm season.
As a final stop, check out Port Townsend. Their downtown has excellent antique shops and a beautiful waterfront. They also have a great art and history museum complete with an old jail in the basement. According to some, the downstairs is haunted, so visit at your own risk. Before you head out, be sure to drive through the historical district and look at the beautiful old homes.
Just a 20 minute drive north of Olympia sits the small town of Steilacoom. This spot sits on the banks of Puget Sound and has an excellent historical property at the center. Check out the old houses and feel transported to the early days of the region.
After you see the houses, walk and rest down at the waterfront. The large pathways are a great place to catch up with a friend and even sit for a picnic! If restaurants are more your thing, head into Steilacoom Pub and Grill. Situated on a hill, eat with a great view of the water and islands.
Regardless of where you go, Western Washington has a lot of great towns to visit. Take your time in each spot and try out the local cuisine. If you meet anyone during your travels, don’t forget to invite them to Olympia and check out both the downtown and Capital!