Explore rugged beaches and lush green forests.
Escape into the wild along Washington’s peninsulas, where rain forests, rugged beaches, and a massive national park provide endless places to explore.
Washington’s Peninsulas Region
The Peninsulas Region, which includes the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, is a geographically diverse area that attracts artists and adventurers alike with its natural beauty and away-from-the-world vibe. Separated from the Seattle area by Puget Sound and bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the west, the Peninsulas Region offers plenty to see and do.
The Olympic Peninsula is home to stunning Olympic National Park, friendly small towns, the world’s largest Sitka spruce, and ample outdoor recreation opportunities.
In Olympic National Park, visitors can explore multiple rain forests, pristine lakes, scenic viewpoints, and beaches punctuated by awe-inspiring sea stacks. The park offers ample hiking opportunities, from moss-draped waterfall hikes in the Hoh Rain Forest to the sweeping mountain views found at Hurricane Ridge. Due to the park’s popularity, it’s best to visit during the week or outside the busy summer months.
There is also plenty to do outside the national park. While July is the best time of year to see and smell the intoxicating lavender fields in Sequim, the region beckons travelers year-round with abundant outdoor recreation and quaint towns. Port Angeles and charming Victorian Port Townsend with its colorful historic houses make great bases for exploring the area, especially for those visiting Olympic National Park. Fans of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight novels can head to the east side of the peninsula to visit Forks, the primary setting for the vampire series.
To disconnect, visitors can head to remote La Push, which provides easy access to explore driftwood-strewn Rialto, Second, and Third beaches.
Related: Things to do on the Olympic Peninsula
On the Kitsap Peninsula, visitors will find nearly 300 miles of shoreline. Located between the Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound directly west of Seattle, this area makes a great day trip destination for those looking to escape the busy cities in the Metro Puget Sound Region. Bainbridge Island is easily reachable via a short ferry ride from Seattle, while Gig Harbor is an easy drive from Tacoma across the scenic Narrows Bridge.
Bremerton, the largest city on the peninsula, draws visitors for its military attractions, including the Puget Sound Navy Museum and the USS Turner Joy naval destroyer museum ship, as well as the city’s many parks, shops, and galleries. The nearby Hood Canal area is known for its oysters and outdoor recreation, while Poulsbo celebrates a rich Nordic heritage. Established in the 1880s, the city offers visitors a taste of “Little Norway” as well as a look into the area’s maritime roots. Port Orchard’s charming downtown waterfront features antique shops and local dining.
You’ll also find thriving agritourism opportunities, with most towns offering farmers markets. Enjoy fresh, locally sourced produce, visit farm stands, tour local farms, and more.
Learn more at the Visit Kitsap website.
Getting to and Around the Peninsulas Region
The Peninsulas Region can be reached by road from the south end as well as by ferry connections. The main ferry routes include:
- Seattle-Bainbridge Island
- Coupeville-Port Townsend
Find Washington State Ferries Schedules
No highways run across the Peninsulas Region, so getting between destinations can take more time than you expect. Those who wish to see as much of the Peninsulas Region as possible should consider a partial or full loop road trip on Highway 101, which runs along the peninsula’s perimeter. Highway 16 connects Tacoma to Gig Harbor and other destinations along the Kitsap Peninsula.