Port Angeles is the gateway city of the Olympic National Park – one of the largest and most popular parks in America’s national park system. We are also the departure point for the Coho Ferry, connecting us to Victoria, Canada, and we are the proud home of the Port Angeles Lefties baseball team. With a temperate climate, rural lifestyle, diverse outdoor recreation, and a vibrant business community, Port Angeles is a popular destination for the nearly 3.5 million people who visit the North Olympic Peninsula each year.
Port Angeles is situated at the center of the Olympic Discovery Trail, which stretches across 130 miles of lowlands from the Puget Sound to the Pacific Coast, bordered by the snow-capped Olympic Mountain Range to the south, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the Salish Sea to the north. The diversity of recreational opportunities available here for residents and visitors include a vast network of trails, high mountains, rivers, lakes, rainforests, sandy beaches, and rocky tide pools – all within short minutes travel time around Port Angeles.
The relatively low cost of living, low violent crime rates, temperate climate, and high community involvement and volunteerism help make Port Angeles a great place to establish a business, raise a family, and retire, as we routinely rank at the top of the national reviews and surveys on the nation's best places to live (Outside Magazine, National Geographic, Backpacker Magazine, UpRoxx, Livability, Condé Nast Traveler, and more!). 1889 Washington's Magazine lists Port Angeles as one of the best places to live when you can work remotely from anywhere. In 2020, Clallam County became the nation’s only bellwether county for U.S. president elections, correctly voting for the eventual winner since 1958, longer than any other county in the United States (and only getting it wrong twice before that in the history of U.S. president elections).
The local business economy is comprised of diverse small businesses, many owned by lifelong residents, who together employ the largest total number of employees. Peninsula College, however, and Olympic Medical Center, join the Port Angeles City and Clallam County governments as our largest single employers. Our downtown business district, filled with restaurants, hotels, art galleries, gift shops, bookstores, recreation outfitters, and a broad variety of retail establishments, is a wonderful place to spend a day shopping, exploring, and dining. Sculptures, murals, and other artwork are spread throughout the downtown area, and help tie modern-day Port Angeles to our past as an outpost in the Pacific Northwest, a former logging town, and a forever home to Native Americans.
Housing prices in our area are relatively low, consistent with most rural communities, but partly because our area is such a wonderful place to live, finding housing to either rent or own can be a challenge. Much work is being done in both private and public sectors to build more housing capacity, but until some of that is achieved, finding housing will rely on persistence, creativity, and constant monitoring of housing becoming available. For home buyers, there are many real estate companies who can help, and websites like Zillow.com are a good place to start your research. For renters, there are three primary property management companies that serve our area: James & Associates, Landmark Property Management, and Blue Sage Property Management. If you’re looking for a rental, checking these websites daily, if not more often, is highly recommended.
Job opportunities in Port Angeles and our surrounding communities are plentiful. From federal, state, county, and city government jobs, to private sector in many industries – medical, education, hospitality, light manufacturing, retail, and professional services. A local job listing service that we highly recommend for anyone researching local job opportunities is the North Coast Hot Jobs blogspot, which is updated every Monday and lists hundreds of jobs in our area across the spectrum.
Another challenge our area shares with the rest of the country is access to affordable, quality childcare. This is a high priority for all stakeholders in our community, and much work is being done to build capacity. Our local Boys & Girls Club recently built a new clubhouse that increases their capacity greatly, and our local pool, the Shore Aquatic Center, has added an after-school programs for children that is also doing a great job relieving the need for childcare services. The efforts to find childcare solutions in our area are led by a nonprofit organization called Prevention Works!, and we highly recommend anyone interested in learning about childcare in our area visit their website.