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Olympic Peninsula

Cut off from Washington state by water on three sides, the remote Olympic Peninsula exhibits all the characteristics of an island. The region's main population centers are in the northeast and include Port Angeles, Port Townsend and drier, balmier Sequim, now a budding retirement community. As the region is protected climatically by the Olympic Mountains, outdoor activities abound here.

North of Gray's Harbor is one of the most undisturbed slices of coastal wilderness in the US. Here tiny Native American towns list populations in the hundreds rather than the thousands and, bar a 15-mile stretch of US 101, there are few roads. Outside of small Native American reservations around Oil City, La Push and Ozette, 53 miles of coast is protected as a part of the Olympic National Park that was added in 1953.

Exempt from strict wilderness regulations, the area outside the park is largely given over to the lumber industry.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Olympic Peninsula.