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.
The Chestnut Cottage Restaurant menus are very eclectic. Breakfast specialties include egg dishes served with homemade bakery items such as scones, coffeecakes, muffins and strudel. Also served is lemon pancakes, buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles and country style oatmeal with fruit. The Chestnut Cottage features a daily breakfast fresh sheet that offers many local and seasonal favorites including fruited French toasts, egg dishes and much more