Port Townsend runs down to the water's edge on the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula in a show of quaint Victorian homes and Puget Sound spray. With spectacular views of the Olympics to the south and a stretch of the Juan de Fuca straights to the north, Port Townsend seems like the edge of wilderness, despite the close proximity of the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island and Victoria B.C.
Though Port Townsend's postcard-pretty location might easily keep one preoccupied, the town also has a clutch of cultural attractions to keep visitors otherwise occupied, whether lingering on in an atmospheric bed & breakfast for the weekend or bound on to Olympic National Park. If you only have a day to see the area, spend an hour at least wandering past historic buildings downtown, then rent a boat and row on out to sea for fresh perspective on this stretch of coast; take a guided wildlife tour in sea-kayaks if you're not entirely confident in your paddling abilities.
The area is chock-a-block with orca's and whales, Port Townsend's mammalian stars, and a day out on a charter boat is an easy way to maximize your chances of sighting a spout. Sailing is also popular all through the area and offers an approach to west coast waters that allows for a certain amount of solitude. Take lessons locally if you don't know a jib from a jab, starting out in a small vessel and working up to some schooner sailing. And for those who'd rather leave the "driving" to someone else, there's always the ferry, "Washington's #1 tourist attraction", which makes a trip somewhere beyond the sea the task of an afternoon.
There are plans to finish the Olympic Discovery Trail, slated to wind along the north end of the Olympic Peninsula for 100 miles, sometime in the future. To date only about a third of it is done, part of which runs past Port Townsend and is popular with perambulators and peddlers.
Port Townsend is 80 miles from Tacoma when the Hood Canal Bridge is open; 113 miles when it is not. Olympia is 98 miles south down the Olympic Peninsula.