Explore the Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula is a large swath of land in the Pacific Northwest, crowned by the famous Olympic National Park. It's bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Hood Canal, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and anchored by the Olympic Mountains. But the way the natural world and the built environment intertwine in this rugged landscape is what makes the northwestern point of the lower 48 United States so majestic. Read below to explore some of the Olympic Peninsula's most fascinating historic places.

  1. Photo By: Dan Elvrum/Makah Cultural and Research Center

    Makah Cultural and Research Center

    While the building itself isn't historic, the Makah Cultural and Research Center offers visitors a look at a vast array of historic artifacts and insights into the Makah way of life on Tatoosh Island and in Neah Bay.

  2. Photo By: cmh2315fl/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    Port Angeles

    Located in the seat of Clallam County, Port Angeles is just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Canadian border. The town's recorded history goes back to 1791, so visit historic sites like the Clallam County Courthouse, Ediz Hook, and the Naval Lodge Elks today.

  3. Photo By: Marcia Bromley

    New Dungeness Light Station

    Punctuating the end of a five-mile ribbon of sand and driftwood at the entrance to Puget Sound, New Dungeness has served as an essential beacon for sea captains traversing the Strait of Juan de Fuca for more than 150 years.

  4. Photo By: Jefferson Museum of Art and History

    Jefferson Museum of Art and History

    Built when it was one of the foremost seaports on the West Coast Port Townsend, Washington's City Hall is a pivotal part of the Port Townsend National Historic Landmark District. While the City Hall building is still in active use by the City Council, it also includes the Jefferson Museum of Art and History, which preserves the history and culture of Jefferson County and the State of Washington. The Jefferson Museum of Art and History is a member of the National Trust Distinctive Destination program.

  5. Photo By: cmh2315fl/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    Port Gamble Historic Museum

    This museum tells the story of Port Gamble, a small New England-esque town and National Historic Landmark. The museum was originally built in 1916 as one of the town's millsite offices and was redesigned in 1972.

  6. Photo By: Jasperdo/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0


    Edmonds is a small town on the western shore of the Puget Sound. Its first home was built in 1868, and the area later became a center for logging. The town today offers visitors historic sites like the Edmonds Carnegie Library (now the Edmonds-South Snohomish County Historical Society) and the Ganahl-Hanley Log Cabin.

  7. Photo By: BDFri2012/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

    Olympic National Park

    Any guide to the Olympic Peninsula would be remiss in neglecting to mention Olympic National Park. It stretches over a million acres and is best known for its ecological diversity, which includes snowy mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and more than 70 miles of coastal life.

Note: an earlier version of this story included outdated information on Edmonds. The story has been updated accordingly.

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