Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor is located on the Kitsap Peninsula in the Puget Sound region of Washington state.

Gig Harbor, the southern gateway to the Kitsap and Olympic Peninsulas, lies just across the dramatic Tacoma Narrows Bridge from Tacoma. This tucked-away town sits on a scenic inlet framing a postcard-perfect view of Mount Rainier. Gig Harbor's strong Scandinavian and Croatian heritage has always influenced its nautical lifestyle and fishing-village character. Today specialty shops, creative boutiques, art galleries and waterfront restaurants add to its appeal and make it a wonderful get-away.

Get in

By car

A car is really quite requisite to see the Gig Harbor area as a whole. Gig Harbor is easy to get to by car from the rest of the Puget Sound area. From Interstate 5 take the Washington State Hwy. 16 west across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. The first four exits after the bridge are all Gig Harbor exits.

By boat

By bus

Bus services to Gig Harbor are limited but doable as there are regular buses in Gig Harbor between 45th St Ct SW & Point Fossdick and Purdy Park & Ride (P&R), on the east side of Hwy 16 which includes downtown Gig Harbor. Except some shopping centers along Point Fossdick betweent 45th St Ct SW and Olympic Dr and along 144th St NW near Purdy P&R there are no regular bus services to anywhere west of Hwy 16 or to anywhere towards Fox Island and Key Peninsula.

  • Rt #595 goes up to downtown Seattle via Tacoma Community College during the morning rush hours and returning to Gig Harbor in the afternoons, no weekend service.
  • Rt#590,594 goes straight up to downtown Seattle from downtown Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome during the middle of the day and weekends. Take the #100 bus to Tacoma Community College (TCC) and transfer to #1 or #2 bus to get to downtown Tacoma.
  • Rt#100 Goes from Tacoma Community College (S 19th & Mildred) to Gig Harbor as well as local service through Gig Harbor (between Point Fossdick Dr & 45th to Purdy P&R)
  • 101 runs the same route through Gig Harbor except it does not go to Purdy P&R but rather end at Peacock Hill.
  • 102 Express bus along Hwy 16 to Gig Harbor from downtown Tacoma and the Tacoma Dome. Goes to Gig Harbor during the afternoon rush hour and to Tacoma in the mornings. adult $2, youth $0.75 and is part of the regional Orca payment system..

Get around

The town name suggests that this is a harbor town. Boaters can moor in the harbor itself, a part of Puget Sound, and explore the many shops, cafes, and galleries downtown.

Those coming in on four wheels can struggle to find parking in downtown, but once they do, exploring the town by foot is well worth it.

By bike

By bus


Besides Gig Harbors maritime town center located around the harbor there are many things to see in the nearby area.

Gig Harbor Lighthouse and Colvos Passage


Boat rental

Boat launch

Boat tours

Sea kayaking

Sea kayaking can be a rewarding way to explore Gig Harbor and the Kitsap Peninsulas nearly 400 miles of coastline allowing the paddler a closer and slower look at their surroundings and making Kitsap one of the most popular areas to kayak in Puget Sound. Thick forests of majestic pine and deciduous trees and hundreds of creeks and estuaries dot the coastline. Or just explore Kitsaps many harbor towns like Gig Harbor that cater to kayakers with shops and restaurants accessible from the water such as the Tides Tavern. With kayak rentals available nearby Gig Harbor is a popular place to spend a few hours exploring or set off or restock on a major expedition.

Kayak trails

Organized trails offer overnight camping options and maps of appropriate lengths and scenic travel destinations.

Scuba diving

purple seastar found on Colvos Passage

Scuba diving the cold waters of Puget Sound takes a bit more gear and training than other warm water locations, but the rewards are incredible. The area contains some of the best diving in the world and many areas are accessible from the Kitsap Peninsula. Many dive sites are completely covered with colorful sea creatures that defy description. Giant Pacific Octopus are common, along with friendly wolf eels. Colorful sponges, sea cucumbers, sea stars, soft corals, anemones and fish can be seen on nearly every dive. The state has offers a guide to parks with launch sites HERE

Conservation areas


clams are plentiful on Kitsaps rural beaches

Shellfish are prized resources of the Puget Sound, the cool, clean waters provide some of the finest shellfish habitat in the world. Washington State is the nation’s leading producer of farmed bivalve shellfish (clams, geoduck, mussels and oysters) and with Kitsap Peninisulas dozens of Public Clam and Oyster Beaches and miles of coastline it is a popular place for individuals to find these elusive and sought after shellfish. Maps of public shellfishing areas and health warnings and updates can be found online at the state's Fish and Wildlife website as with all fishing in Puget Sound permits are required and can be purchased online or in some sporting goods stores.

Public shellfishing area


Gig Harbor has many locally owned and operated shops in its downtown area, ranging from dress shops to music stores and jewelry studios. There are quite a few art galleries and other stores that sell art of various types.




There are several lodging choices in Gig Harbor from hotels, to bed-and-breakfasts, to motels, to vacation rentals.


Kopachuck State Park

Additional camping and moorage options are available at nearby Kopachuck and Joemma Beach State Parks.

Go next

By car

Tacoma lies to the south across the Tacoma Narrows Toll Bridge and Olalla and Port Orchard lie to the north.

By boat

Gig Harbor is 6.8 nautical miles to Cedrona Cove on Fox Island. It is also a launch to visit Eagle Island on Balch Passage north of Anderson Island which is 12.5 nautical miles. Penrose Point State Park is 13.8 nautical miles due south after passing underneath the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the Shilshole Bay Marina in Seattle 24 nautical miles away.

Routes through Gig Harbor

Bremerton Purdy  N  S  Tacoma Ends at

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 13, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.