75 Ways to Spend your Days on Hood Canal

You probably don't need any urging – just enjoying one of the many parks and beaches or watching the wildlife in the water is enough for most visiting Hood Canal. But just in case you need a few ideas here's a couple MORE to inspire you – Yep, we’ve expanded the list from 50 to 75! Check out things to do for even more great suggestions.

#1. Hit the Beach

Hood Canal to Hope Island, it’s surprising how many beach access options there are.  Pack a picnic, towels, sunblock and plenty of water. 

#2. Take a Hike

From a quiet city trail behind Shelton, forest walk at Twanoh State Park Trail (2.3 miles EASY) or Theler Wildlife Refuge (3.5 miles) where boardwalks over wetlands reveal flora and fauna.  Here’s a list of great hiking spots around the Canal. Need a map? Try this link.

#3. Catch a Drift

Salmon season starts on Hood Canal and South Puget Sound in July and area lakes are stocked with trout and steelhead each Spring. Stop in at Verles for all the tips and tools. Fishing is the universal excuse to relax. Salmon season starts on Hood Canal and South Puget Sound in July and area lakes are stocked with trout and steelhead each Spring. Get your license at these local locations or online.

#4. Dive in the Canal

Giant octopi, friendly & curious wolf eels, and swarms of ancient rock cod add to the wonder of scuba adventures in Hood Canal. Scuba lessons, rentals (including air), and charters are available. Hoodsport n' Dive offers a whole series of certifications to "get your feet wet."

#5. Take the Leap

Views of the fjord and the Olympics and a seven minute free fall from 13,000 feet will change your perspective. Tandem flights $185-$215. Call Kapowsin Air Sports (360) 432-8000.

#6. Fly a Kite

Pick an afternoon low tide on Hood Canal and take advantage of the winds. The Port of Shelton (Hwy 101) has plenty of open fields.


#7. Dip your Paddle

 Alderbrook Resort and Spa (Union) rents everything from waterbikes to classic rowboats. On the north shore of Hood Canal in Brinnon, visit Yelavik Beach, where Kayak Brinnon has kayaks for rent by the hour, day or week, and they'll deliver to your home or rental! In Allyn, stay at the Allyn House Inn right on the water where they have kayaks and SUP's for rent to explore Case Inlet.

#8. Celebrate Community

The Canal and South Puget Sound are packed with fun and unique events - from summer salmon bakes to fall oyster extravaganzas –– Visit the events page for a ever updated list of community happenings!

#9.  Find a Fall

The best time to view waterfalls is in the spring but it’s fun to swim in the pools in warmer weather. Some waterfalls and rivers can be very dangerous with undertows; be aware of hazards and watch children or inexperienced swimmers.

#10. Get a new View

Soaring 420 feet above the Skokomish River, the High Steel Bridge (1929)  is the highest steel truss arch in Washington. Follow Skokomish Valley Rd from U.S. 101 to bridge.

#11. Launch a Boat

Take the boat out and explore the islands and passages from Case Inlet on South Puget Sound, Hope Island near Arcadia Point Boat Launch and, of course through all the waterways and the Canal!  Check out this list of boat launches and water access under fishing.

#12. Patio Dine

Alderbrook Resort has patio dining with favorites like fish tacos and berry lemonade. 2 Margaritas in Union and El Puerto de Angeles at Hoodsport Marina have dockside dining. Smoking Mo's and Ritz Drive In are local hangouts for outdoor dining in Shelton.

#13. Slurp!

Hama Hama Oyster Co., north of Lilliwaup, is open year round. Eat oysters – raw, baked and grilled, or try the crab cakes! The views alone will excite you, but head their way weekends and holidays all Summer for Live from the Shellpile concerts. The Taylor Shellfish retail store, South of Shelton is open daily for clams, oysters, geoduck and mussels – all harvested fresh in local waters! Smoking Mo's in Shelton also has an upstairs oyster bar serving local delicacies in season.

#14. Pick a Peak

The Olympic National Forest and the Olympic National Park offer great climbing for all skill levels. Up for a challenge? Try the less visited but fulfilling Wagonwheel hike.

#15. Eat Pie!

Head to the Halfway House in Brinnon or Blondie's in Shelton for fresh pies in flavors only your grandma knows the recipe for! Check out a delicious restaurant in Shelton dedicated just to pies and art – Craft. The inspiration of Smoking Mo's owners Tom and Mo Beben, come feed your need for pie!

#16. Run!

The Huff in Puff trail in Shelton is a great place to start but there are lots of beautiful trail run areas too.

#17. Sip

Stottle Winery, Hardware Distillery, and Hoodsport Winery in Hoodsport; Bent Bine Brewery and Mosquito Fleet Winery in Belfair; and Walter Dacon, Shelton, all have tasting rooms open during the summer and seasonally weekends and holidays.

#18. Ice cream fix

For the perfect day include a scoop or two of locally made Olympic Mountain Ice Cream. Get your Oly Mnt. Ice Cream fix at these Hood Canal & South Puget Sound locations. Now available in pints! Check out the OLY Mountain gelato at Paulie’s deli in Shelton!

#19. Bike the Fjord

Trails in the Olympic National Forest vary from challenging to easy gravel roads. Combine trails and roads to create loops that offer a variety of forests, streams and panoramic vistas.  

#20. Ride the Current

Launch a kayak at the Shelton Marina on outgoing tides and ride currents in Hammersley Inlet to Arcadia Point. Lunch at Hope Island Park and return with the incoming current!

#21. Canal Cook Out

Savor farm to table Hood Canal food at Union City Market’s monthly dinners. Canal Cookouts are offered the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Hood Canal Marina in Union, $45.

#22.  Breakfast Out

Blondie's on Railroad Ave, Shelton has generous portions and a never ending coffee pot; dining options are available all around the Canal.

#23. Shell Creations

Head to a Hood Canal beach for the whitest oyster and clam shells perfect for the guest room soap dish – ask before taking, but most won't mind!

#24. Find a Lake

There is no shortage of accessible and open lakes throughout the area.  Lake Cushman has plenty of great swimming spots! 

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#25. Outdoor Concert

So many free and almost free opportunities for a fun evening out with the family! Pack the picnic, chairs, blankets and don't forget the kids – Shelton, Music in the Park; Lilliwaup, Live from the Shellpile; and Belfair, Music on the Estuary! Check out the schedule on pages 6-11.

#26. Hole in One

From the award winning Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Kamilche,  Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club in Union, Lake Limerick, Lake Cushman Golf Course, and Lake Land Village Golf Course in Allyn  – all offer majestic views of the area. Click here for golfing options.

#27. Antiquing 

Shelton and Belfair to the shores of Union – there are plethora of great antique shops to choose from. Plan your route, plan your lunch and start hunting for treasure!

#28. Ride the Rails

Peddle powered rail rides with Vance Creek Railriders. Pedal the rails on the decommissioned Simpson Logging rail line for a 12-mile round trip work out! As you pedal the multi-seat "railrider" along the track you will have the opportunity to see wildlife, old growth and new forests as well as diverse meadows teeming with wild flowers, moss, and ferns.

#29. Get Cultured

In Kamilche head over to the Squaxin Island Tribe Museum Library & Research Center, Home of Sacred Belongings, a living treasury of cultural items and activities, including rare artifacts from a 500 year-old village site.

#30. Motorsports

Whether you prefer the thrill of watching motorists rip around one of the Northwest's most famous racing track, The Ridge; or feeling the wind in your own hair as you navigate 23,000 acres of working forest, Tahuya State Forest, networked by extensive and winding trails,there's has something for every adrenaline junkie.

#31.  Forage!

New amongst the many activities offered by Hood Canal Events is guided mushroom foraging. Contact Jeff and Kerry at hoodcanalevents.com to schedule an excursion.

#32. Glamp On

From Canal beach side glamour picnic, or an overnight trip - Hood Canal Events can provide tent and custom designed activities with a chef prepared food and beverage menu; Tahuya Forest Adventures offers forest glamping opportunities.

#33. Geocache Hunt

Start at Alderbrook Resort and Spa, experience the high-tech treasure hunt as you explore the resort. Check out a clue book and a Garmin Handheld GPS and search for hidden containers leading to prizes!

#34. Read a Book!

 Stop in at a Timberland Library branch.  Need a beach book? "Check out" the book sales area, many great titles less than a dollar! Here’s a few ideas to get you going!

#35. Learn History

Located conveniently in the heart of historic downtown Shelton, the Mason County Historical Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, offering free WIFI as well as research and meeting tables.

#36. Get a Game On

Check out Little Creek Casino Hotel and Spa south of Shelton and the Lucky Dog Casino, just south of Hoodsport near Potlatch. 

#37. Head to the Market!

Mason County's three Farmers Market operate on Saturdays during the summer months.  Click here for a list of markets and stand.

#38. Take a S'more Break

This should be #1... be sure to remember the chocolate, graham crackers and marshmallows -- wouldn't be the same without the S'mores!

#39. Run with the Salmon

Visit one of the many fish hatcheries on Hood Canal! Visit fws.gov for information on area hatcheries.

#40. Ride the Roundabout!

Shelton recently got its first traffic roundabout at the bottom of North Cliff!

#41. Free Movie Mondays at Shelton Cinemas

The Summer movie program for kids is happening at Shelton Cinema. Check out these great flicks, 11 AM Mondays through August 25.

#42. Hit the Drive In Movie

The Shelton Skyline Drive-In is one of only five remaining drive-in movie theaters in Washington and one of less than 300 left nationwide.

#43. Fudge Break

The best fudge flavors are at Alderbrook County Store. Don't be fooled because its a gas station, the staff and the food here are great 

#44. Jig for Squid!

Squidding is open year-round, but most fishing is done in the winter, when squid move from the depths to the shallows. Squid are drawn to light and things that shimmer and sparkle. Jiggers  cast lines into illuminated patches of water and then jerk or “jig” flashy hooked lures.

45. Take your Dog on a Hke

Check out this list of area hikes where Fido is welcome to tag along.

#46. Head to the Estuary

Support a great cause, learn lots and get some great views! Head over to pnwsalmoncenter.org for program highlights including day camps for kids.

#47. Gyro on the Canal

Sunset Beach Grocery & Deli near Belfair on SR 106 is claimed as being the  best kept secret. Their food is OUTSTANDING, and they recently put in outdoor seating.

#48. For the Birds

The Theler Wetlands, Skokomish Delta, Duckabush, Dosewallips and Hamma Hamma are great places to catch glimpes of our resident and visiting avian community! Check out the local birding spots.

#49. Sleep under the Stars

Around every corner you will find a great place to pitch a tent.

#50. Don't fear Art

Head over to Union City Market for their newly opened gallery and indoor event space. Don't miss the new blue octopus mural by Harro! 

#51. Roast the Beans

Urraco Coffee in Shelton roasts all their beans on site in their quaint and friendly cafe on 7th and Cota. Free WIFI and yummy pastries are another reason to stop a while at this much loved local hangout. Coffee available by the pound as well.

#52. EAT MORE!

At the Union City Market, be sure to try their outdoor restaurant, Hook and Fork, open for Happy Hour 1 - 6 PM  Friday, and Brunch weekends from 10- 3PM. Menu changes daily. 


#53. Get a Carve On

Stop in at the Bear in A Box,  Allyn for chainsaw artwork by George Kenny and his team. Feeling like a lumberjack? Sign up to learn how to sculpt a squatch with a chainsaw! Get the details here!

#54. Support Art

Check out the newly opened Sunshine Creations Gallery in the historic Hays Building, Hoodsport. This welcoming venue hosts work shown by artists from all around the Canal. The gallery is currently building a 700 square foot deck overlooking the water that will welcome customers to relax and enjoy their ice cream, coffee and picnic in this great location.

#55. Hydro Savvy

Check out the first hydroelectric wheel on the fjord. Dalby Waterwheel is located on SR 106 between Cameo Boutique and Alderbrook Resort.

#56. Nina's for a win!

This newly opened restaurant, Nina’s, on the road to Lake Cushman is getting rave reviews. According a recent google review, "Arguably the best food in Hoodsport" noting the cozy hometown dining, friendly faces, great food, and good prices. (360) 877-9000.

#57. Chuck a disc!

The Shelton Springs Disc Golf Course in Shelton just recently recieved top ratings. Visit masoncountydiscgolfassociation for details on all the local courses.

#58. Pizza Attack

Hungry? Stop by Casper's Pizza and BBQ in Belfair for great menu options and divine homemade crust. In Shelton visit Dominos and Westide Pizza on First Street or head up the Railroad Taproom on Railroad Ave for some authentic Italian flavors and a huge selection of brews on tap.

#59. Let them eat Quiche

Oh WOW! Stop in at the newly refurbished Union Country Store for freshly made (daily) quiche! The smell alone as you walk in will make your mouth water. The clam chowder gets high reviews as well!

#60.  Squatch Watch

With over 22 sightings in Mason County alone - chances of catching a glimpse get higher each year.  Keep your eyes peeled and your camera ready for that money shot! 

#61. Visit Tollie

The Shelton Visitor Center is in at this historic timber train. Stop by the Caboose for area maps, brochures and even the latest Fjord!

#62. What's 'Sup?

Alderbrook Resort and Spa and Allyn House Inn also rent stand up paddle boards by the day or hour.  A great way to explore the canal.

#63. Experience the Fjord Spirit

Using water from the Olympics, The Hardware Distillery, Hoodsport, offers spirits in an ambient tasting room.

#64. Explore the Stump House

Nestled in a 200-year old maple grove, just 4.5 miles outside of Seabeck is a well-hidden gem, Guillemot Cove Nature Reserve. With several easy loop trails and beach access offering views of the Hood Canal and the Olympic Mountains, this park is a great place to bring small children.  Imaginations are inspired by the Stump House, a large hollowed out Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) stump that has been outfitted with a door way, window openings and a split-shingle roof.  The 184 acre park can be found at 19235 Stavis Bay Road NW, Seabeck.

#65. Celebrate the fjord with live music, local vendors, seafood & classic cars!

Head over to Belfair State Park on August 10th for the annual Taste of Hood Canal. Located just outside of downtown Belfair, the annual community festival is set for 10 AM  – 5 PM with admission of $5, Taste of Hood Canal Festival offers an array of live music, arts and crafts displays, a variety of food vendors and beer garden, as well as a much anticipated car and motorcycle show. See complete list of events

#66. View the Views

Take time to catch a sun setting from Union. 

#67. Watch for Whales

Each year Hood Canal and South Puget Sound enjoy visits from orcas and grays. Follow their arrivals on the orcanetwork online.

#68. Beach Walk

Gather up the family and the buckets and head to the low tide for a giant aquarium that beats any confined exhibit. You’ll et wet and muddy but will walk with memories to last a lifetime!

#69. Hoodstock 2019

August 16 - August 18, join the festival where music, art, and nature connect. Visit hoodstock.org for schedules, tickets and camping. 

#70. Park or Hike Picnic

Stop by Olympic Bakery & Deli, 591 E Pickering Road, for fresh baked goods and sandwiches to create the perfect gourmet hike lunch.

#71. Let the Kids Run Free

Check out the conmmunity built wood castle in Kneeland Park in Shelton (Off Hwy 3),  with swings, slides and picnic areas.

#72. Dinner with a View

Recently reopened Lake Nahwatzel Resort has a brand new menu. Enjoy dining on their patio or indoors.

#73. Take a Day for Youself

Visit an awarding spa - Seven Inlets Spa the Little Casino in Kamilche and Alderbrook Resort  and Spa located on Hood Canal in Union have won numerous awards for thie treatments.

#74. Celebrate Smokey

Our favorite bear turns 75 this August. Celebrate by being responsible with your campfire and spreading good fire practices. Visit smokeybear.com for ideas on how you can be a steward of our forests!

#75. JUST R-E-L-A-X!

Enjoy your friends and family and your life on the fjord! We have some of the cleanest air and water in the country, friendly people and gorgeous scenery everywhere.