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Visit Port Townsend

One of the coolest small towns in Washington

Port Townsend dock at sunset. Photo credit: Leah Jones

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Do you dream of warm, sunny days on a sandy beach? Then you won't want to miss out on Port Townsend. A short road trip away, this vibrant beach community is less than a two-hour drive from Joint Base Lewis-McChord. One of only three Victorian waterfronts in the U.S., Port Townsend offers a little something for everyone. Check out the unique stone and brick buildings downtown, study the historic landmarks, shop at the unique boutiques or explore miles of trails and waterways. This beach town and artist community also offers great golf courses, whale tours and is host to many festivals including the annual Wooden Boat Festival.

One of the most popular attractions in Port Townsend is Fort Worden.  An old military post turned state park, this beautiful fort features 100 historical structures and sits on two miles of saltwater shoreline. Fort Worden State Park is the perfect place to spend a day (or longer). Lounge on the sandy beach with lighthouse views, explore military bunkers or learn about sea creatures at the maritime museum (my kids' favorite). The museum's touch tank, which is filled with sea life, was a winner, and the knowledgeable and friendly staff made it even better. If you'd like to stay overnight, check availability at the old officer's housing or rent an RV or camping space. Best booked in advance, spots here fill quickly. Also, make sure to bring your Discover Pass or purchase one there (only $30 for a year; provides access to all Washington state parks).

Fort Worden State Park, 200 Battery Way, Port Townsend,360.344.4434,

If you're planning an overnight trip and would rather stay downtown, The Bishop Victorian Hotel is a great choice. This clean and cozy hotel feels like a family-friendly bed and breakfast and is within walking distance of great shops and restaurants. With comfy mattresses, breakfast delivered to your doorstep and a large, free selection of DVDs, board games and popcorn, this is a great option for couples or families. As an added bonus, breakfast, WiFi and parking are all free.

The Bishop Victorian Hotel, 714 Washington St., Port Townsend, 360.385.6122,

Explore the vibrant downtown with its book stores, tea shops, restaurants and more.  There are plenty of unique places to shop and dine. One local favorite is Pippa's Real Tea, a modern tea spot with a large selection of teas that you can enjoy hot or iced. It also offers scrumptious pastries made in house and dried teas you can purchase to brew at home.

Elevated Ice Cream Co. and Candy Shop is another can't miss. With interesting offerings like Amaretto hazelnut milkshakes and Swiss orange chocolate, you're sure to find your unique favorite. If you have kids or are just a kid at heart, this spot next to the waterfront is a Port Townsend must.

Pippa's Real Tea, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wed-Sun, 636 Water St. Port Townsend, 360.385.6060,

Elevated Ice Cream Co., 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, 627 Water St., Port Townsend, 360.385.1156.

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