Port Angeles is the most popular point of entry into Olympic National Park. Its working-class harbor is backed by striking mountains, but there are few reasons to linger, except as a stopover to more compelling destinations.
Although it's preferable to stay inside the park, Port Angeles has a number of inexpensive motels near its uninspiring one-way main drags, First Street and Front Street. By far the best chain offering is Best Western Olympic Lodge, 140 Del Guzzi Drive (Tel:360/452-2993, Web: www.portangeleshotelmotel.com ; Price: $161-200), with a pool and spa, and rooms with free wi-fi, fridges, and microwaves. Also good is ADomaine Madeleine, 146 Wildflower Lane (Tel:360/457-4174, Web: www.domainemadeleine.com ; Price: $161-200), an elegant B&B with a lovely five-acre garden and five art-themed rooms, which variously come with jetted tubs, fireplaces, and balconies.
For eating, Michael's Divine Dining, 117-B E 1st St (Tel:360/417-6929), is a fine-dining spot that has paella, oysters, pasta, and especially steak; almost as good, the midpriced Bella Italia, 118 E 1st St (Tel:360/457-5442), offers prime seafood, pasta, pizza, and traditional Italian cuisine.
Port Angeles has the peninsula's best transportation links. The bus depot is beside the waterfront at W Front and Oak streets, and from there it's only a couple of minutes' walk to the main ferry terminal. Olympic Bus Lines (Tel:360/417-0700, Web: www.olympicbuslines.com ) offers daily trips to Amtrak and Greyhound stations in Seattle ($39) and to Sea-Tac Airport ($49). Black Ball Transport (Tel:360/457-4491, Web: www.cohoferry.com ) car ferries arrive from – and shuttle over to – Victoria, British Columbia (March– Dec two to four ferries daily; 1 hr 45min trip; one-way fares $13.50 walk-on, $50 per car and driver). Arriving at a neighbouring pier at the foot of Lincoln Street, the passenger ferries of Victoria Express (Tel:360/452-8088 or 1-800/633-1589, Web: www.victoriaexpress.com ) operate a faster service (2–3 daily) for $25 round-trip. Port Angeles' visitor center, 121 E Railroad St, beside the ferry terminal (Tel:360/452-2363, Web: www.portangeles.org ), has information on the entire peninsula and can put you in touch with river-rafting and sea-kayaking operators.