Celebrate Summer on the Shores of Hood Canal

Summer on Hood Canal

There is nowhere better to be in the summer than on the western shores of Hood Canal. Besides pure relaxation and breathtaking views, summer brings daytime low tides for shellfishing and beachcombing. Have a blast with the opening of crab season on the 4th of July. Or feel your cares drifting away with the tides while kayaking or boating on Hood Canal. Hike beautiful mountain vista trails, or equally photographic waterfall trails in the foothills of the Olympic mountains.

The peak season has arrived, so check our availability calendar and book directly with us to avoid the booking fees charged by the big online travel sites.

Why Hood Canal is the best place to be this summer…

Crab Season!

Crab season is July 4- Sept 2nd in 2019. If you’d like to try crabbing yourself, here are some other handy links depending on your needs:
Local boat launches
McKays in Brinnon for crab gear
Kayak Brinnon for kayak crabbing


Hood Canal is known for its oysters and clams. Are there low tides during your stay? Gathering clams and oysters is only practical on most beaches during the daytime on tides lower than 2 feet, although minus tides are better. If you’d like to try shellfishing, bring old tennis shoes, rubber boots, or aqua socks to wear on the beach. Bring a bucket and a rake to get clams. On most beaches you can just rake down to the clams since they are close to the surface. Be sure to fill in your holes. Bring an oyster shucking knife and a pair of gloves. Oysters shells are very sharp so you will want to wear gloves when you open them with a knife. An oyster knife is much different than a regular knife so if you love to eat oysters be sure to bring one along. Bring beach towels or old towels. The towels in the houses are for bathing and not the beach. Don’t forget your shellfish license. You can buy them at the Brinnon store. You can buy an annual license or a 1-3 day license. Everyone has to have one even if you are on private property.
List of Beaches
Rules and Limits
Clam and Oyster season

If you’d rather just buy some shellfish, you can get them at Taylor Shellfish in Shelton or Hama Hama in Lilliwaup. They often have oysters and clams in Quilcene at Twana Roadhouse or Quilcene Village store. The vacation home kitchens are stocked with cookware and utensils for preparing your meals. Some kitchens will have seasonings, but you should bring your favorites with you. Prepare your dinner then sit outside with your bounty and a beverage and take in the waterfront view, seals, eagles, and the changing tide.

Mt Walker View


Experience Forest fresh air, vista views from the olympic mountain trails overlooking Hood Canal. Its a hikers paradise with easy to difficult trails to explore for all ages. Bring your camera and check out these local classic waterfall hikes: Rocky Brook Falls, Falls View, and Murhut Falls or check out the Hood Canal Hiking guide from Washington Trails Association.


Popular launch sites include Pt Whitney, Pleasant Harbor, Seal Rock Campground, Yelviks Boat ramp, Dosewallips State Park, and Triton Cove. Kayak Brinnon provides kayak rentals and tours from Yelviks beach in Brinnon and will deliver kayaks to locations between Quilcene and Potlatch. Besides plenty of sealife to view, often our local elk herd are present near Dosewallips State Park.


Here are some tips and local boating facilities to check out. If you are bringing your own boat and staying at a vacation rental, be sure to ask us where you can park your boat. Some homes may have room, but not all of them. Here is a link to the boat launches. If you don’t have a boat, Narwhal Boats has boats to rent and can outfit you with crab gear!

View Wildlife

There are plenty of birds that frequent the tidelands around Hood Canal and along the way on your hikes in Olympic National Forest. Stop off at one of the visitor centers in Quilcene, Brinnon, or Hoodsport to pick up a bird guide. They are an excellent stop for hiking maps and area information. Deer are numerous and Elk can be seen around the Dosewallips State Park. Wildlife information from the Department of Fish and Wildlife can be found Here.

Summer Music Events

Concerts in the Barn– The first three weekends in July. Three glorious weekends of free chamber music concerts in a picturesque, turn of the century dairy farm. Contact them for more information by going to their website at

Concerts in the Woods– Alternate Saturdays throughout summer. 14 miles out on the end of the beautiful Toandos Peninsula. Admission by donation. For info on upcoming shows and directions go to their website at

Moonfest – August 9th & 10th. Classic Rock, Laser light show and Classic Car Show at Lake Leland Amphitheater, Quilcene. Camping is encouraged. For tickets and more information go to


The Brinnon ShrimpFest is a weekend festival located just north of Brinnon celebrating Hood Canal Spot Shrimp and other local seafood. It lures hungry shrimpers from all over the Northwest to fish Hood Canal’s rich waters. 2019 Shrimpfest is Memorial Day weekend, Saturday May 25th and Sunday May 26th. Shrimpfest features craft booths, food booths, belt sander races, exhibits, live music, kids activities and so much more. Here is a link to shrimpfest 2019!

  • Bring along your favorite decorated belt sander to enter the races that will be held.
  • The tides are usually low enough during this weekend for easy harvest of clams and oysters on the public beaches near the festival, (license required) and the weather is traditionally good during this holiday weekend. Here is a link to public beaches (choose Jefferson County)
  • If you would like to try your hand at shrimping, the shrimp dates are May 11, 15, 29 and June 1st, 9 am to 1 pm. Here is a link to shrimping regulations (choose area 12, Hood Canal)

Come stay the weekend and celebrate the holiday. Bring your hiking shoes and enjoy the spectacular mountain and river hikes of the Olympic National forest. View Wildlife, Hike, Kayak or just Relax!

Spot Shrimp Hood Canal
Brinnon Shrimpfest Memorial Day Weekend

Make your Hood Canal plans for 2019

Ready to start filling your 2019 calendar with fun things to do? Start by planning your getaway to Hood Canal! Spring, Summer, Fall or Winter, check out our seasonal recommendations below. And take advantage of our spring and summer specials: for stays prior to May 15th get 3 nights for the price of 2; for stays between June 1st – September 1st get 7 nights for the price of 5 (excluding 4th of July week). Give us a call 888-796-3450, or request a reservation using our online form.


Spring means our mountain hikes are more accessible as the snow melts. Check out the Washington Trail Association website for Hood Canal trails and trail reports here. Spring also means the return of Daytime low tides, time to gather Hood Canal oysters and clams. Click here for the handiest daytime low tide chart for 2019. Here is a link to local beaches. And the popular, Hama Hama Oysterrama returns in April. Shrimpfest is also back! Memorial Day weekend attend the Brinnon Shrimpfest. Celebrating Hood Canal Spot Shrimp and other local seafood. It lures hungry shrimpers from all over the Northwest to fish Hood Canal’s rich waters. Shrimpfest features craft booths, food booths, belt sander races, exhibits, live music, kids activities and so much more.


Crab Season opens! Check out WDFW website for crabbing dates and regulations. Hiking the summits of Mt Ellinor, Mt Townsend and other lofty Olympic Mountain vistas. Visit the website for Trip Reports. Take advantage of warmer summer weather and low tides for shellfish gathering and beachcombing. Or try your hand at Kayak and Kayak crabbing with Hood Canal Adventures.


A fun fall weekend starts with the Jefferson County Farm Tour. Fall hiking adventures include spectacular colors, less people and more wildlife. Dosewallips State Park has a variety of hikes and wildlife viewing areas in the forest and on the beach.


Start your holiday tradition by choosing an Olympic National Forest christmas tree, and take advantage of winter rates. Have the trails to yourself-There are plenty of stunning lowland trails with rivers, waterfalls and moss covered trees to start the new year off on the right foot. Then celebrate by Wine tasting at Olympic Peninsula wineries. Cheers!

Fall on Hood Canal

Fall colors Hood Canal Dosewallips RiverTime to Visit Hood Canal

Here on the west side of Hood Canal, we greet fall as a time to relax and welcome the cooler weather which makes for stunning fall colors, mountain trails with less people, more mushrooms,  and migrating wildlife.

Fall may be the best time to hike Hood Canal before the snow hits the summits  Autumn color makes for nice photography, not to mention the eastern views from the Olympic mountain vistas toward the Puget Sound waterways. The crowds are gone. To choose your Hood Canal hike, has the most comprehensive database of hikes in Washington state. Choose the Olympic Peninsula Region and the Sub region Hood Canal. The website gives you a Hike Finder, Hiking Guides and Trip Reports. Be sure to check NOAA weather and snow levels before you go.


Fall mushrooming has begun! In the Olympic National Forest, no permit is required for incidental gathering of mushrooms forchanterelle mushrooms
personal use.  For a single species, the daily limit for personal use is one (1) gallon. For multiple species, the daily limit is three (3) species, (1) gallon each. Harvested chanterelle mushrooms must have a cap diameter of one inch or greater. Here is  link to the National Forest Mushroom information handout.  And, here is a link to #PNW Mushroom experts, the Puget Sound Mycological Society. A great resource for Harvesting rules, Recipes and more!


While looking for mushrooms, watch for wildlife. Its the time of the season for Salmon, Migrating birds and Roosevelt Elk. For viewing wildlife and safety tips we recommend the Dept of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Viewing  section.


Wind down your Summer at Hood Canal

#WineDDown your Summer at Hood Canal with Farms, Oysters and Wine!

If you’re not ready to say goodbye to summer, why not  toast its finale with farm, food, wine? Join us!

Farm Tour BannerSeptember 15 & 16th
Every year the Jefferson County Farm Tour draws thousands of visitors eager to experience a working farm and connect with local farmers. A self-guided Tour! Want to participate? Hop on your bike or load up your car with friends and family. Here is a list and map of farms for the day-of events.

Farm Tour Central is at the Chimacum Corner Farmstand which is open daily and features a Sunday Farmers Market from 10-2.
The Farm Tour is Open to the public with a $10 Suggested Donation per carload. No one turned away! You can make this donation at any stop including Center Valley Animal Rescue.

Sunday, September 16th Quilcene Oyster RacesOyster Races Logo
No, Oysters are not racing, but YOU can. The course covers 13.11 miles and features views overlooking Hood Canal and Quilcene Bay, plus a peek at the Olympic Mountains (weather permitting). The Half Marathon is hilly and challenging, but totally worth it! There is also a free concert from 1-3 pm . Details Here.

Speaking of oysters, the last of this year’s daytime low tides are Sept 20 – 26th. Here is a list of beach seasons. However, you can still get your Hood Canal seafood fix at the Hama Hama Oyster Bar Thursdays-Mondays. Their farm store is open daily. Or, visit the Taylor Shellfish Market in Shelton also open daily.

Shelton is also home to the annual Oysterfest. This year’s event takes place October 6 & 7th. Oysters, wines, microbrews, live music and more. Attended by thousands, OysterFest is home to the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championships and is Washington State’s official seafood festival. More information can be found here.  Oyster Shuckers




Olympic Peninsula has its own region of wineries. The Olympic Peninsula Wineries are a group of hands-on owners/winemakers committed to handcrafting excellent, award-winning Washington wines. Each of our Olympic Peninsula Wineries offer visitors friendly hospitality and a unique, memorable experiences. Owners/winemakers are often available to personally pour for the visitors in their tasting rooms and to answer questions. And the Fall Harvest usually provides for special events and tastings. Stay tuned for details. 
Olympic Peninsula Wineries

If you need one more reason to #WineDDown to Hood Canal, it’s because it is the beginning of our non-peak season. That means lower prices for our vacation rentals (starting September 16th), and less people on hiking trails, beaches and wineries. Enjoy!

Northwest Stays – New PNW Listing Site

northweststays.comWindermere Hood Canal Vacation Rentals is proud to announce a new partnership with Northwest Stays, a regional listing platform featuring the best professionally managed vacation rentals in the Pacific Northwest.

From lovely urban area vacation rentals to charming and cozy cabins, you’ll find everything you want in a vacation at Northwest Stays. Vacation Homes on Hood Canal, managed by Windermere Hood Canal can be found in the Hood Canal, Brinnon, Hoodsport, Lilliwaup, Port Ludlow and Quilcene sections where you can search all of our inventory and visit our website (where you are now) to book the ideal rental property for you.

Northwest Stays also features professional managers from nearby areas: you can trust the rentals you’ll find on the website are vetted, trusted properties that are ideal for your next getaway. Instead of clicking around and not being sure that you’re finding a trusted vacation rental company, you can choose from the best at Northwest Stays.

In addition to the benefits of searching from trusted professional vacation rental managers,,  you’ll also pay no booking fees or any guest traveler fees on Northwest Vacation Rental ManagersNorthwest Stays. Each listing page brings you directly to the rental managers website where you can book direct to save money the same exact rental property.

We’re excited to share the new marketplace with you, our guests, and look forward to seeing you explore the platform to find new places to travel in the beautiful PNW.