Potlatch Travel Guide

Your ultimate Potlatch travel guide, including attractions, activities, food and drink, accommodations, local customs and safety tips, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

Potlatch, located in the heart of Olympic Peninsula in Washington, is a hidden gem of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. With its scenic vistas, outdoor activities, and rich cultural heritage, Potlatch offers visitors a unique experience unlike any other. This comprehensive travel guide will help you plan your visit to Potlatch.

Introduction to Potlatch

Potlatch is a small town that has preserved its native heritage, even while embracing its modern amenities. The community’s rich cultural traditions are still alive and well today, as reflected in its museums, festivals, and everyday life.

List of Places to Visit in Potlatch

Potlatch offers a variety of attractions and activities that cater to different interests and age groups. Here’s a list of places to visit in Potlatch:

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  1. The Potlatch Tribal Museum: This museum showcases the history of the local tribes and their contribution to the region’s culture.
  2. The Pioneer Farm Museum: This museum is dedicated to preserving the farming heritage of the Pacific Northwest.
  3. The World Kite Museum: As a tribute to the Windless Kite Festival held every August, this museum showcases kites from around the world.

Natural Attractions of Potlatch: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  1. Lake Cushman: A glacially-fed lake surrounded by mountains and forests, Lake Cushman is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and hiking.
  2. Olympic National Park: This National Park boasts of snow-capped mountains, emerald forests, and pristine beaches, making it a perfect destination for adventure-seekers.
  3. Staircase Rapids: Located in the Olympic National Park, the Staircase Rapids is a must-visit for those who love the thrill of waterfalls.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Potlatch

Potlatch has a wide range of hiking and biking trails that cater to different levels of fitness and preferences. From scenic nature walks to long-distance hikes, here are some popular trails:

  1. Mount Ellinor Trail: A challenging hike with a strenuous climb, Mount Ellinor offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains.
  2. Staircase Loop Trail: This trail is a moderately easy hike with a mix of forest and coastline views. It takes you through the Olympic National Park, starting in Staircase.
  3. Skokomish River Trail: A relatively easy trail that requires less effort, the Skokomish River Trail is a 13.2-mile route that takes you through beautiful forests and streams.

Best Things to Do in Potlatch: Activities and Tours

Potlatch is full of exciting activities, and different tours will help you explore them. Here are our top picks:

  1. Whale Watching Tour: Head out to the ocean and observe majestic whales in their natural habitat. Whale watching tours usually operate from March to November.
  2. Salmon Fishing: Salmon is a popular fish in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy the thrill of catching one while on a fishing tour.
  3. Kayaking: Take a relaxing tour on the crystal-clear waters of the Hood Canal, which is full of wildlife such as seals and otters.

Week-Long Itinerary for Potlatch

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a week-long visit to Potlatch:

Day Activity
Day 1 Visit the Potlatch Tribal Museum and Pioneer Farm Museum
Day 2 Enjoy a hike on the Staircase Loop Trail
Day 3 Take a whale-watching tour
Day 4 Visit Lake Cushman and enjoy boating and fishing
Day 5 Take a kayaking tour
Day 6 Visit the Olympic National Park
Day 7 Experience the Windless Kite Festival and try your hand at kite flying

Food and Drink Scene of Potlatch

The cuisine in Potlatch is a reflection of its regional heritage, with a mix of indigenous and modern influences. Here are some must-try dishes and local beverages:

Must-Try Dishes

  1. Cedar-planked salmon: A popular and traditional dish among the natives of Potlatch, the salmon is cooked on a cedar plank, imparting a smoky flavor.
  2. Oysters: Potlatch is famous for its fresh oysters, which are served in different styles like raw, BBQ, or steamed.

Local Beverages

  1. Olympia Beer: A regional favorite since the 19th century, Olympia Beer is a must-try. The brand recently relaunched in 2018.
  2. Washington wines: Washington is renowned for its wines. Try some of the whites from the Mercer Island Winery.

Where to Stay in Potlatch: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Potlatch’s accommodations cater to various budgets and preferences. The town offers cozy cabins, boutique hotels, and luxurious resorts. Here are some of the best places to stay in Potlatch:

  1. Robin Hood Village Resort: Located on the banks of the Hood Canal, this resort offers comfortable lodgings in a lush forest. The resort has various rooms and suites to choose from, and guests enjoy an outdoor pool access and a seafood restaurant.
  2. Alderbrook Resort & Spa: This elegant resort is set in a stunning location overlooking the Hood Canal and Olympic Mountains. Guests can enjoy spa services, dining options, and an indoor pool.

What to Buy in Potlatch: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Potlatch offers a multitude of locally sourced products that make for perfect souvenirs, like:

  1. Handwoven baskets: Basket weaving is an integral part of the native culture, and handwoven baskets make for an excellent gift or souvenir.
  2. Local Honey: The honey of the Pacific Northwest region is famous for its quality, and it comes in varied flavors.
  3. Wooden furniture: Potlatch has a fantastic variety of handcrafted wooden furniture which includes unique items like traditional crafts, home decor, and furniture.

Local Culture and Customs of Potlatch

Potlatch has a rich cultural heritage, and visitors should respect its customs and norms. The native tribes have a unique culture, which is evident in their conduct and festivals. Visitors should be mindful of the differences and show sensitivity towards them.

Best Time to Visit Potlatch

The best time to visit Potlatch is between May and September when the weather is mild and suitable for outdoor activities. The Windless Kite Festival takes place in August, making it an exciting time to visit.

Do’s and Don’ts of Potlatch


  1. Dress in layers, especially if you intend to go hiking. The weather in Potlatch can be unpredictable, so it’s best to be prepared.
  2. Respect the local traditions and festivals.
  3. Take a tour to explore locally crafted products.


  1. Break any local laws
  2. Disrespect cultural norms or customs of the natives in any way.

Safety and Health

Potlatch is a safe place, but visitors should always be vigilant of their surroundings. Here are some tips:

Safety in Potlatch

  1. Always lock your vehicles and leave your valuables in the trunk or out of sight.
  2. Be aware of your surroundings, especially if you’re hiking in remote areas.

Health in Potlatch

  1. Always carry a water bottle with you, especially during hikes or outdoor activities.
  2. Use sunscreen and bug spray to stay protected from the sun’s rays, especially during summers.

Getting to Potlatch: Transportation Options and Logistics

Potlatch is a remote town, and the best way to reach is by renting a car. Alternatively, you can take a bus or a ferry, depending on your location.

Airports Near Potlatch

  1. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  2. Olympia Regional Airport (OLM)

Bus Stations Near Potlatch

  1. Greyhound Bus Station in Olympia

Other Options

  1. Car rentals are available from major car rental companies throughout the Puget Sound region.

How to Get Around in Potlatch

Potlatch is a small town, and most places are easily accessible. We recommend renting a car to explore the region at your leisure.

Where to Go Next from Potlatch: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

Potlatch is a perfect base to explore other scenic destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a list of popular nearby cities and attractions:

  1. Seattle
  2. Mount Rainier National Park
  3. Portland, Oregon


Potlatch offers visitors a unique cultural experience amidst breathtaking natural beauty. This travel guide is meant to help you plan a memorable trip to Potlatch, with detailed information on its attractions, food and drink scene, accommodations, and more. Respect the local culture, nature, and customs, and have a fun and safe trip!