Dungeness Recreation Area Near Port Angeles

Wildlife and Sea Life in Port Angeles


With nearly 1 million acres of wilderness to roam, the Olympic National Park is home to a variety of animal, bird and plant species. Some of the more common animal residents include elk, black tail deer, black bears, coyotes, marmots and mountain goats. It’s not uncommon to run into these animals in their natural habitat while you’re hiking. Remember, these are wild animals and you should always keep your distance. Approved bear canisters are required in specific wilderness areas of the park for all food storage and certain scented items. Even the chipmunks can be curious around unattended backpacks.

The Olympic Game Park allows you to get up close to mountain lions, tigers, bears and buffalo. There’s an extensive list of animals you’ll see riding in your car through the drive-through park. You can feed some of the animals by hand, or hop on a camel or pony for a ride.

Watch Roosevelt Elk Calves Crossing the Hoh River along the Hoh River Trail

Bird Watching

Birding enthusiasts flock to the Olympic Loop to see over 225 of the 346 bird species found in Washington. The Olympic Loop is part of the Great Washington State Birding Trail and is recognized by the Audubon Society. Make a plan to come for the Olympic Peninsula BirdFest every April, which coincides with the timing of wintering birds and the beginning of spring migration on the Olympic Peninsula. Serious birders can partake in presentations and workshops. Then take field trips to many area hot spots for birdwatching – Port Angeles Harbor, Ediz Hook, Dungeness Spit, Sequim Bay, the Elwha River, Salt Creek and Neah Bay, and Hurricane Ridge.

Sea Life

Start your day in Port Angeles with a hands-on sea-life experience at the Feiro Marine Life Center where you can get an up close encounter with sea creatures collected within 20 miles of Port Angeles from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Then head over to Freshwater Bay for the best kid-friendly tidepooling near town. Low tide reveals a walkable sandy beach dotted with anemone-covered rocks and pools teeming with crabs and tiny fish. Move into the big leagues of tidepooling with visits to these top tide pool spots around the Peninsula: Salt Creek Recreation Area, Ruby Beach, La Push Beaches, and Kalaloch Beach 4.

Whale Trail & Marine Mammals

The rich ocean waters and currents of the Olympic Peninsula coast create an ideal ecosystem and habitat for a vast number of marine mammals, seabirds, sea life and fish. The Olympic Peninsula is surrounded by over 400 miles of coastline, which includes the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary that is over two times the size of the Olympic National Park.

Watch the whales go by on foot or by boat. The Whale Trail is a dedicated aquatic trail that starts in California and runs along the coast of Oregon, Washington and then continues through the Strait of Juan de Fuca into British Columbia. In order to be listed as an official site along the whale trail, there needs to be a good chance of seeing orcas or other cetaceans at some time during the year in public areas. Depending on the time of year and your location, you can spot orcas, minke, gray and humpback whales from the shore. Look for signs at lookout points throughout the Olympic Peninsula. For guaranteed whale sightings, you’ll definitely want to book a whale watching tour — there’s nothing more magical then seeing a breaching whale by boat.

  • 331 Things to Do - #35 Rise & Shine with Seals on a Sunrise Kayak Tour

Sunrise Kayak Tour in the Harbor

331 Things to Do - #35 Rise & Shine with Seals Wake up with a two-hour Sunrise Sea Kayak Tour Paddle the calm waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Port Angeles harbor [...]

Wild Life Attractions & Tours

  • City Pier

    The Port Angeles City Pier is located in the heart of downtown. The pier not only offers scenic vistas, fishing and ferry watching, but it’s also the sight of many annual events like Concerts on the Pier and The Dungeness Crab Festival. Learn More

  • Olympic National Park

    One of only three National Parks located in Washington state, the Olympic National Park is by far the largest (nearly 1 million acres) and is home to numerous species of animals, marine mammals, birds, and plants. The park’s rugged mountains transition to lush old-growth rain forest and onto ro Learn More

  • Kaiyote Tours

    Kaiyote Tours provides a variety of education and eco-friendly guided tours for beginners to experts. They specialize in birding, hiking, backpacking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing tours throughout the entire Olympic Peninsula. Learn More

  • Adventures Through Kayaking

    What once was just a kayaking tour company, Adventures Through Kayaking expanded their guided tours to include mountain biking, standup paddleboarding (SUP), rafting trips and, of course, saltwater and freshwater kayaking tours. If you’d prefer to head out on your own, they also rent paddleboar Learn More

  • Sound Bikes & Kayaks

    Sound Bikes & Kayaks is much more than just an outdoor gear store selling some of the best brands for climbing, skiing, mountaineering, biking, kayaking and water play. They also offer plenty of advice for exploring the Olympic Peninsula. Check out ISO Adventures (their professional guiding servi Learn More

  • Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

    The waters off the Olympic National Park coastline contain a large living sanctuary of marine life and thriving ecosystems. This nationally recognized ocean habitat hosts a range of sea life — from microscopic plankton to whales. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is 2.5 times larger t Learn More

  • Feiro Marine Life Center

    Located in downtown Port Angeles at the City Pier, the Feiro Marine Life Center allows you to get close-up, real-time views of the ocean and tidepools — including stars, anemones, crabs, scallops, fish and a giant Pacific octopus. This is a fun, safe and easy way for people of all ages and phys Learn More

  • Waters West

    Waters West is a full service fly shop and outfitter in downtown Port Angeles. It’s your one-stop-shop for gear, clothing, equipment, fly tying classes, and guided fishing excursions on both fresh and saltwater. They’re the closest fly shop to the legendary waters of the Olympic Learn More

  • ExperienceOlympic

    Experience Olympic is an ecotourism company providing guided tours and treks in the Olympic National Park and the surrounding Olympic Peninsula, including Hurricane Ridge, the Elwha River, Hoh Rainforest and beach tours. Operated by biologist and naturalist guide Carolyn Wilcox, she will pick you up Learn More

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