Port Angeles: Gateway to Olympic National Park

The gateway town to Olympic National Park is not devoid of it’s own treasures. This is something to rave about because the areas around many national parks I have been to lack decent food and atmosphere. We cooked all of our own breakfasts and lunches, but had two fantastic dinners. The first was a trendier sit down restaurant called Next Door Gastropub [113 W 1st St, Port Angeles, WA 98362]. It was still relaxed enough that they took us in our hiking clothes, my kind of place. The hostess mentioned it would be a while to get seated, but bar seats are first come first serve so we swooped in and got two of those in no time. We kept hearing and seeing Dungeness everywhere, it was finally time to eat some local crab! After a long day of hiking we were ready for some comfort food, Dungeness crab cakes and Dungeness crab mac and cheese sounded heavenly…and they were!

The crab cakes were filled with a lot of fresh meat and little breading, just the way I like it. The seasoning was amazing and the tomato chutney which I was hesitant about was off the hook! The mac and cheese was top notch and had generous portions of crab dispersed throughout. So delicious! The next night we tried a place that I didn’t yelp, something that doesn’t happen very often. Jeff and I had seen this cute little drive thru diner spot as we were driving through town and the name Frugals [1520 E Front St, Port Angeles, WA 98362] stuck with us! The lines were always long as we’d pass by, but when we hopped on it moved fast. It was a good thing too because everything here is made to order. There is no indoor seating so we stuffed our faces in the tiny parking lot, oh my goodness this food was ahhh-mazing. This is a fast food joint, reminiscent of a McDonalds, but the food is fresh and it really is a frugal option! We each got sandwich combo meals, Jeff a burger and me a halibut, which came with a small fry and a MILKSHAKE. You might remember how I wanted milkshakes? It’s funny because it’s all I could think about on Rialto Beach, other than the gorgeous nature. Fate was on my side this day and I got one!

Mine was butterfinger and Jeff got an oreo, they were oh so yummy. Everything was perfect and crave-worthy. We still talk about Frugals ALL THE TIME, I wish they would come to the East Coast. Our last morning the weather was once again dreary, so we nixed our idea of visiting Mount St. Helens who was having a bit of a blizzard and decided to stay local. It was not too much of a compromise. The Dungeness Spit National Wildlife Refuge [554 Voice of America Rd W, Sequim, WA 98382] had a manageable drizzle. We made our way past the informational panels and through the woods to the coast to walk along the 5.5 mile long sand spit.

It looked a bit apocalyptic on this day, but I can imagine how radiant it would be with the sun shining. The water and sky may have been grey, but the colors on the rocks were brilliant by contrast!

Amongst the rocks there was a ton of kelp and beautiful driftwood.

There were seals and sea lions in the waves, and so many different birds. This is really an excellent birding location, and there is a great identifying list near the entrance.

On our visit we saw grebes, loons, wrens, cormorants, but most exciting of all a bald eagle. We’d seen a great number of bald eagles on the trip, but none so bold and noble as this one who didn’t ruffle a feather as we walked by very closely.

We didn’t have the time to walk all the way out, but as the fog lifted a bit we finally caught a glimpse of the Dungeness Lighthouse in the distance.

This is a great walk right in town filled with wildlife! We just scratched the surface in Port Angeles, but everything we got to do in town was memorable in its own right.

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