What to do and where to stay
From Seattle, take the Bainbridge Island ferry across Puget Sound, then follow State 305 13 miles to State 3. Hood Canal Bridge is 7 miles north, Belfair 27 miles south.
For information about attractions around the canal, visit the Kitsap Peninsula Visitor & Convention Bureau (32220 Rainier Ave. N.E., Port Gamble; www.visitkitsap.com or 360/297-8200). For more information and maps, contact the U.S. Forest Service office in Quilcene (295142 U.S. 101 S.; 360/765-2200).
Kayak Hood Canal. Rentals $15 per hour, guided tours $55 for three hours. In front of Hood Canal Marina in Union; www.kayakhoodcanal.com or 360/898-5925. (Call the Alderbrook Resort & Spa for rental fees at that location; see below.)
Rocky Brook Falls. From U.S. 101 north of Brinnon, head west 3 miles on Dosewallips River Rd. Park on the west side of the unmarked bridge and hike north, past pump house, about 100 yards to the falls.
Theler Wetlands Trail. Easy 3-mile round-trip trail marries the end of Hood Canal with the Union River Estuary. Start at Mary E. Theler Community Center, 22871 N.E. State 3, Belfair; 360/275-0721.
Whitney Gardens & Nursery. The 6 3/4-acre show garden, heavy on rhododendrons and azaleas, peaks from mid-April through mid-May. 306264 U.S. 101, Brinnon; www.whitneygardens.com or 360/796-4411.
Dining and lodging
Alderbrook Resort & Spa. Don’t miss the heated, glassed-in pool or the restaurant, headed by executive chef Tom Black (who was also behind Woodinville’s Barking Frog). 77 rooms from $170, 16 cottages from $260. 10 E. Alderbrook Dr., Union; www.alderbrookresort.com, 800/622-9370, or 360/898-2200.
Hama Hama Oyster Company. 9:30–5:30 daily. 35846 U.S. 101 N. (on the south side of the Hamma Hamma River); 360/877-5811.
Selah Inn. 7 rooms from $95, 2 cottages from $160; five-course dinner from $30, reservations required. N.E. 130 Dulalip Landing, Belfair; www.selahinn.com or 877/232-7941.
Willcox House Bed & Breakfast. 5 rooms from $139. 2390 Tekiu Rd. N.W., Seabeck; www.willcoxhouse.com or 800/725-9477.