44 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 to inspire you – let us know your favorites and will change it from 44 to 50!

#1: Head for the beach

Hood Canal to Hope Island, it’s surprising how many spots have free & easy beach access.  Pack a picnic, towels, sunblock and plenty of water. 

#2: Follow your own path

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. 

#3 Drop a line in the water

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: Go 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.

#5: Take a Leap from 13,000 feet...

Views of the fjord and the Olympics and a seven minute free fall adrenaline rush from 13,000 feet will change your perspective. You must be 18 years of age to skydive in the US. Tandem flights $185-$215. Call Kapowsin Air Sports (360) 432-8000.

#6: Join a Sing-Along

There are plenty of opportunities  to let your voice soar... even if you just want to blend in with some good friends and company... check out the monthly Beer Choir hosted by the Great Bend Center for Music at Alderbrook Golf Clubhouse. Check out a list of upcoming events.


Paddling on Hood Canal

Paddling on Hood Canal

#7: Paddling the Fjord

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. Participate in a local event

The Canal and South Puget Sound ar packed with fun and unique events – head to Allyn for their annual Salmon Bake and Geoduck Festival  (second weekend in July); The Bite of Hood Canal in August is a great place to get some local flavors; OysterFest and the "WA State Shellfish Festival" in Shelton (first weekend in October) features live music, shucking competitions and great food;  or check out one of the area music festivals.  Visit the events page for a ever updated list of community happenings!

#9: Dive Deeper into 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. Right now Hoodsport n' Dive is offering a whole series of certifications to "get your feet wet."

#10:  Fall for a Waterfall

The best time to view waterfalls is in the spring but it’s fun to swim in the pools in warmer weather.  

Please note: some waterfalls and rivers can be very dangerous with undertows; always be aware of possible hazards and take special care with young children or inexperienced swimmers.

#11: Get a new view

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

#12: Boating on Hood Canal

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 coves of Hood Canal!  Check out this list of boat launches and water access under fishing.

#13: Nostalgia abounds at a Drive-in Movie

Pack the pillows, the Sky-line Drive in (off Hwy 101) offers double features May through October. $8, kids 6-11 $3, under 5 free! 


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#14: Catch your Crab Dinner

May through September Dungenese can be caught by hand at low tide, off the dock in Hoodsport or by boat. wdfw.wa.gov

#15: Pick a Peak

The Olympic National Forest and the Olympic National Park offer great climbing for all skill levels. Visit Mt. Ellinor or aim for a more challenging peak. Check out this great recreation video.

#16: 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.


Hama Hama's     Live from the Shellpile     concerts.

Hama Hama's Live from the Shellpile concerts.

#17: Eat Oysters

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.

#18: Let them eat...PIE

Craft Pie and Art    | Shelton, WA

Craft Pie and Art | Shelton, WA

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!  

#19: Sip & Taste

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.. 

#20: Scream for Ice Cream

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

#21: Dockside Movies

The Union City Market offers films at the Marina the first Thursday of each month as well as a Pier Peer, $10, unioncitymarket.com. 

#22: Savor the Cycle on the Hood

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

#23: Ride the Current

Launch a kayak at the Port of 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!

#24: 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.

#25: Breakfast Out

Blondie's on Railroad Ave, Shelton has generous portions and a never ending coffee pot; in Union the Union Country Store is now open for meals and breakfast is amazing – try the Eggs Benedict!

#26: Create Shell Art

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! 

Vance Creek Railriders, offering peddle tours in Shelton

Vance Creek Railriders, offering peddle tours in Shelton

#27: Ride the Rails

Opening in May for the season in Shelton – 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. 

#28: Hole in One

From the award winning Salish Cliffs Golf Club in Kamilche, the scenic well-maintained par 72 course Alderbrook Golf & Yacht Club in Union, the  9-hole course with dual tees above Hoodsport, Lake Cushman Golf Course, to the 27-hole course at LakeLand Village Golf Course in Allyn all offer majestic views of the area.

Sunset cruises depart Alderbrook dock each evening

Sunset cruises depart Alderbrook dock each evening

#29: Sail Away!

Step back in time with an evening cruise on the 1800’s replica schooner, Pleiades. Sunset cruises depart Alderbrook dock each evening. See olympiaschoonercompany.com for more information.

#30: Find a Lake

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

#31: Outdoor Concerts

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! Click here for complete schedules!

#32: 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!

#33: Discover Culture

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.

#34: Read a Book

Stop in at the local Timberland Library branch to check out the selection of "Friends" books, many  great titles less than a dollar!

Shelton Ridge Motorsports Park

Shelton Ridge Motorsports Park

#35: 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.

#36: Guided Kayak Trip around Squaxin Island

During this four-hour kayak adventure, circle the uninhabited and beautiful Squaxin Island. The island is entirely in a natural state, providing a rare opportunity to view wildlife including sea otters, seals, coyotes, deer and eagles. There are even documented sitings of the legendary sasquatch or as he’s known in the traditional language, Lushootseed. Kamilche Adventures (360) 462-0266.

#37: Mushroom 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.

The ultimate "glamping" experience can be provided by     Hood Canal Events     located in Union, WA. For a fee they can arrange the perfect getaway for you and your signifigant other – or the whole family. From setting up the camp & tent (pictured above) in a spectacular location, arranging tours, hikes or kayaking expeditions, to chef prepared gourmet meals in your camp – Jeff and Kerry can take care of it all for you. Call them directly at (360) 710-7452 or visit hoodcanalevents.org.   Photo Poppi Photography

The ultimate "glamping" experience can be provided by Hood Canal Events located in Union, WA. For a fee they can arrange the perfect getaway for you and your signifigant other – or the whole family. From setting up the camp & tent (pictured above) in a spectacular location, arranging tours, hikes or kayaking expeditions, to chef prepared gourmet meals in your camp – Jeff and Kerry can take care of it all for you. Call them directly at (360) 710-7452 or visit hoodcanalevents.org. Photo Poppi Photography

#38: Glamping

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.

#39: Geocache the Fjord

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!

#40: Visit a Museum

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.

#41: Gaming & Casinos

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

#42: Roast S'mores

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

#43: See Salmon Run

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

#44: 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.