You do have ferry options to the Olympic Peninsula, though the drive around can be a respite from ferry lines and take less time. Head south to highway 16 and cross Puget Sound over what natives fondly call Galloping Gertie (the Narrows Bridge), so named for the disaster that took down the first bridge that spanned the waterway. You can drive further south to Olympia and take highway 101 up north, though this takes longer. Therefore, your route is I-5, to hwy 16, changes to hwy 3 (take N), west on hwy 104 (crosses Hood Canal Bridge), which merges into hwy 101. Hwy 20 takes you into Pt Townsend. Also, you can take hwy 19, from the Ft Flagler exit. The tree-lined highway makes the drive most enjoyable. You do want to choose at least a partially sunny day to drive up the peninsula. A day of all clouds and/or rain makes the drive one that you want to be over and those are days to take the ferry. On my recent visit this past February, it was a beautiful, though somewhat cloudy, day for a nice drive.
As you cross the Narrows Bridge, you can just barely make out some of the peaks of the Olympic Mountains, bright white with the glimmer of the sun. The day promises to be clearer and you will look forward to seeing the mountains further north. The water is calm though the skies are cloudy. This is the way to Gig Harbor, as well, which at one time was a summer escape for Tacoma residents.
As you cross the Hood Canal Bridge, the water has a bit of a chop, and to the left you see the cloud enshrouded hills of the mountains.
Pt Townsend could be your only stop, though make it a multi-day stay, and enjoy the several surrounding communities. Take advantage of what the Olympic Peninsula has to offer. Further west of Sequim is the ocean and the beauty of the Olympic Mountains and the Olympic Rain Forest to enjoy. If during winter, a weekend is better for more shops and wineries to be open.
If you only have a day, do not discount heading up the Peninsula, it is well worth the drive, or the ferry ride. As I drive away, the sunset is red, so tomorrow will be another nice day. Driving in the forest in the dark is serene and calming. Heading out of town, exit for highway 20 back to 101, turn left, and take the exit for the Kingston Ferry, highway 104. Cross the bridge, and turn right onto highway 3, follow this to Tacoma, highway 16. Soon you’ll be crossing Sturdy Gertie and pay a $4 toll, and return to I-5 and home.
- Ferry options: Bremerton, Bainbridge, Kingston, Southworth
- Gardiner Troll Haven www.trollhaven.org/About_Troll_Haven.htm
- Sequim, Olympic Game Farm www.olygamefarm.com
- Native American culture is from the S’Klallam Tribe. Related to tribes of British Columbia, also related to tribes of Puget Sound
- Ft Flagler – a former US Army fort – a beautiful walk through the woods, or enjoy the entrance area and get a history of the area and the fort http://www.stateparks.com/fort_flagler.html