For as long as I can remember, my family and I have spent a significant chunk of our summer in and around the Hood Canal area. The short drive, or ferry ride is well worth it for the outdoor adventures and uniquely historical experiences. Here are a few tips for how to maximize your time in the area.
Hop on a boat at the Seattle Ferry Terminal toward Bainbridge Island, and enjoy the 45-minute ride. Once you’re back on land, head to the historic Nordic town of Poulsbo – home to plenty of boats, café’s and independent retailers. Take a stroll through the marina docks, or on the rocky beach. When you’ve worked up an appetite, make your way to the famous Sluy’s Bakery, a local favorite since 1966. Indulge with a Viking Donut (they're the size of your face!), an apple-walnut cinnamon roll, or the classic happy face cookie. Everyone will find something to satisfy their sweet tooth at Sluy's.
The Nordic town of Poulsbo is home to the famous Sluy's Bakery. Wikimedia Commons photo
Stop by Port Ludlow for a day of outdoor excursions. Start at Shine Tidelands State Park for miles worth of walkable beach – you will surely spot an abundance of sea creatures, especially at low tide. Make a quick drive into town, where you will find the Port Ludlow Resort, complete with a marina and golf course.
Practice your driving skills, or play the full 18. If golf doesn’t suit you, check out the boats along the docks, or rent one of your own to explore the Sound. Look here for a complete list of activities.
Move along into Port Townsend -- about a 25 minute cruise into the city center. Since the town is located right on the water, it’s nearly impossible to run out of activities. Rent paddle boards, kayaks and canoes for hourly and daily use at sport and water shops along the beach (check here).
Meander the streets of the historic district, where you'll find a variety of gift shops, restaurants and sweets shops nestled within beautiful Victorian architecture.
One of our favorite stops is Elevated Ice Cream, an old-fashioned parlor that serves up fresh, homemade frozen treats like classic ice cream flavors, sherbets and Italian ices.
Port Townsend is filled with iconic Victorian architecture. Wikimedia Commons photo
After you’ve stuffed your stomach, loop back to the Wheel-In Motor Movie to catch a film (or two) under the stars. The outdoor theatre is more than 60 years old, and one of only five drive-in theatres left in the state. The Wheel-In features back-to-back films – typically the first show is appropriate for a younger audience, and the second is best fit for a more mature crowd. The experience is complete with classic stereo speakers for each vehicle, as well as an indoor concession stand.
You won’t need longer than a weekend to see the sights in the Hood Canal area, but the tiny towns are well worth a wander.