Boating and maritime life is integral to Port Townsend, one of three Victorian seaports in the United States. The city hosts regattas, races, and events like the Wooden Boat Festival to celebrate that culture. The downtown area in the Port of Port Townsend is a haven for artists and art galleries where there is a monthly Arts Walk and many opportunities to take art classes or workshops. Port Townsend has also been building an annual independent film festival in September. With the beautiful Olympic Mountains to the west and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north, the Port of Port Townsend offers limitless opportunities for recreation. The city offers many city parks, three State parks, and year-round marine access to some of the country's best fishing and boating areas.
Port Townsend has a moderate Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and chilly damp winters. Proximity to the Strait of Juan de Fuca gives the Port of Port Townsend frequent fogs and cool breezes. Temperatures in Port Townsend range from an average high of 22°C (71°F) in July and August to an average low of 2°C (36°F) in January. Precipitation in the Port of Port Townsend ranges from a low of 1.9 centimeters (0.75 inches) in July to a high of 6.5 centimeters (2.6 inches) in December. Snow comes to Port Townsend from Nov ember through March, peaking in January at 4.3 centimeters (1.7 inches). Humidity levels are high in the Port of Port Townsend, seldom falling below 90% and reaching up to 95% in October.
Visitors to the Port of Port Townsend will want to check out Fort Worden State Park's trails, beaches, and military bunkers. A military base in the early 20th Century, the park and conference center is a 175-hectare multi-use park that boasts more than 3 kilometers (two miles) of saltwater shoreline and over 19 kilometers (12 miles of hiking and bike trails) and eight kilometers (five miles) of accessible trails. High on a bluff that overlooks Puget Sound, this Port Townsend attraction contains many 19th Century historic buildings that have been preserved.
Fort Worden State Park offers two boat ramps with 378 meters (235 feet) of saltwater dock and two boat ramps. Water lovers can dive, fish, swim and waterski at this Port Townsend park, and crabbers love the beaches. There are kayaks and bicycles for rent at the park, and land lovers will enjoy the two fire circles, and the baseball field or one of two tennis courts. There are alternative fitness classes as well as interpretive activities and museums in the Port of Port Townsend's Fort Worden State Park. Several golf courses are located near the park.
Fort Worden contains dozens of day-use and picnic areas, and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is located at the end of the pier. The Cable House Canteen offers on-site food and a convenience store. Among the other attractions at this Port Townsend park are the Rothschild House, Natural History Museum, Coast Artillery Museum, and Commanding Officer's Quarters. Visitors can rent equipment for croquet, tennis, bocce, and horseshoes. The park offers rentals of kayaks, rowboats, bicycles, and tandems.
The Port of Port Townsend's Fort Warden State Park Conference Center offers 456 bedrooms for overnight lodging for families and events. Visitors can stay at the 19th Century officers' housing, one-room houses, a castle, or in dormitories. There are 35 housing units at the park available for rent throughout the year with from one to six bedrooms and kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms. All houses are fully equipped and have linen service.
The park office is open every day from 8:30am until 4:30pm, and from May through September, it is open until 7pm on Fridays. The Local Goods Café is open every day from 7am until 5pm from May through August, closing at 2pm from September until April. Located at the beach, the Cablehouse Canteen is open from late May through mid-September on Saturday and Sunday from 10am until 6pm. The Guardhouse Visitor Center and Gift Shop is open every day from April through October from 10am until 5pm. In November and December, it is open until 4pm.
Located within Fort Worden State Park is the Port Townsend Marine Science Center, dedicated to helping people understand and protect the marine environment. During the summer, visitors enjoy the on-sire Natural History Exhibit from Wednesday through Monday from 11am until 5pm. Closed in January, the Natural History Exhibit is open off-season from Friday through Sunday from noon until 4pm. The Marine Science Exhibit is located on the dock, and it is open in the summer Wednesday through Monday from 11am until 5pm. From November through March, the Marine Science Exhibit is only open by appointment for groups of at least 12 people, and from April through mid-June and September through October, it is open to the public from Friday through Sunday from noon until 4pm. During the summer season, admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids aged six to 17, and free for kids under six. Off-season, admission is $3 for adults and $2 for kids aged six to 17.
The Puget Sound Coast Artillery Museum in the Port of Port Townsend's Fort Worden State Park is open all year from 11am until 4pm. In July and August, the museum extends its hours to 10am until 5pm. The museum focuses on the harbor defense of Puget Sound from the late 1800s until the end of World War II, including the history of Fort Worden. The museum collection contains artifacts from the Coast Artillery Corps and other units stationed at Fort Warden. The artifacts include arms, uniforms, drawings, and photographs. Admission for the museum is $3 for adults and $1 for kids aged six to 12.
The Commanding Officers' Quarters at the Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend is a beautiful home built in 1904. Capturing the life of senior Army officers and their families, the home features late Victorian and Edwardian furnishings. Overlooking Admiralty Inlet, the building is located at the shoreside end of Officers' Row. From May through September, the museum is open from 10am until 5pm every day. Closed in January, it is open from noon until 4pm the rest of the year. Admission for the Commanding Officers' Quarters is $4 for adults, and children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge.
Owned by the Rothschild family since it was built in 1868 by D.C.H. Rothschild a decade after he arrived in Port Townsend, the Rothschild House Museum preserves the family home as it was 100 years ago. Located in uptown Port Townsend, the home was the site of Rothschild and Company Mercantile which started as a general store and evolved into a marine-oriented business. For many years, the family lived upstairs over the store. The last surviving family member, Eugene, donated the house to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, and it opened to the public in 1962. From May through September, the home is open for tours from 11am until 4pm every day with an admission fee of $4 for adults and $1 for children 12 and younger. Every year, the museum features a textile exhibit with, for example, a collection of dresses dating from the late 19th Century to the 1930s.
The Port of Port Townsend celebrates the Wooden Boat Festival each year in September. The festival is packed with over 300 wooden vessels, presentations and demonstrations, and thousands of wooden boat experts and enthusiasts. This educational and inspirational event honors tradition and invites debate and demonstrations of the latest boatbuilding innovations, equipment, skills, and adventures. The schedule brims with seminars and demonstrations in Port Townsend on topics ranging from historic journeys to boatbuilding and maintenance techniques to marine crafts. Hundreds of commercial vendors offer food and marine-related goods and services. In the evenings, attendees unwind with free live music and after-hours fun.