You have a number of options if you’re traveling to or from Port Townsend. You can follow US-101 around the western Olympic Peninsula, or take a ferry via Whidbey Island and explore it and the even prettier San Juan Islands to the north. Last, but not least, you can take a middle route across the Kitsap Peninsula, then catch a ferry to Seattle.

This last route, which includes a trip on the frequent Washington State Ferries between Kingston and Edmonds, has the great advantage of taking you through Port Gamble, a slice of New England on the shores of Puget Sound. Owned and run by the Pope & Talbot Lumber Company from the 1850s until the mill shut down in 1995, the entire town is a National Historic Landmark District, with dozens of immaculate Victorian buildings standing along maple tree-lined streets. After wandering past the saltbox houses, have a look inside the large Port Gamble General Store and Café (32400 NE Rainier Ave., 360/297-7636), which includes a seashell museum, a local history museum ($4), and a popular café.

Map of Pacific Coast through Northern Washington.
Map of Pacific Coast through Northern Washington.