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

Known as "Little Norway," Poulsbo was settled in 1892 by Norwegian loggers, farmers and fishermen who likened the fjord-cut landscape to their homeland.

Stroll down Front Street with its dozens of quaint and colorful shops offering everything from Scandinavian gifts to fine art, fashions, antiques and much more.

Shops on Front Street

If shopping makes you a bit hungry, feast on handmade European chocolates, baked goods, fresh waffle cones, delicious smoked salmon or gourmet coffee in one of Poulsbo's fine restaurants and cafes.

If the great outdoors is your passion, rent a kayak and paddle scenic Liberty Bay, take a walking tour of the town, or simply relax along the boardwalk and look for seals, herons and eagles.

Get in

By car

Main highways to Poulsbo are WA Highway 3 from Shelton, north through the county to the Hood Canal Bridge near the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. From Tacoma and Interstate 5, take WA Highway 16 north from Tacoma across the Tacoma Narrows Bridge until it combines with WA Highway 3 near Gorst.

By boat

Poulsbo Pavilion and marina

Like most towns on the Kitsap Peninsula, Poulsbo was built around the harbor and had no roads so the town center is geared towards the piers.

By airport shuttle

Get around

The charming core of Poulsbo is walkable on foot and is geared towards the harbor with easy access from the water.

By bus



Annual events

Viking Fest

Beach combing

What Puget Sound beaches lack in white sand and warm water is more than made up for in the amazing scenery as the clear waters play against wild coastlines and snow peaked mountains scatter on the horizons. Nearby Kitsap Memorial State Park and Salsbury Point County Park are good places to start a beach combing adventure offering a mixture of beaches from the rugged to the sandy smooth. Small crabs, moon snails, sea stars and sand dollars are common sites and tide pools can offer hours of exploration.

Be warned that sea shells and driftwood are considered part of the natural environment and should not be removed, however the often rocky and wild shores are havens for creating and revealing beach glass and anything artificial found is fair game for removal. Be respectful of private property and gentle with sea creatures. Keep a wide distance away from nesting birds, seals and other shore animals and always put back anything removed from the shoreline.


The Kitsap Audubon Society has been actively meeting since 1972 and has a broad coalition of birders actively tracking and sharing sightings since then. They also maintain an active website with updates of the latest sightings, suggestions on areas for birders and even a regular newsletter. They also developed a checklist of birds likely to be seen birds in the area.

The state Audubon society developed 'The Great Audubon Birding Trail' which includes key migration flyways. Flyways are major north-south routes of travel for migratory birds and likely areas to see birds along the route extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Liberty Bay near Poulsbo is one of only a handful of areas named to the list.

Sea kayaking

Sea kayaking can be a rewarding way to explore the Liberty Bay near Poulsbo and helps to make Kitsap one of the most popular areas to kayak in Puget Sound. Poulsbo is one of the many harbor towns that cater to kayakers with shops and restaurants accessible from the water. Harbor Seals, Otters, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and Blue Herons are common sites and Liberty Bay offers views of nearby beach homes and other boaters.

Kayak trails

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

Kayak rentals





Go next

By car

Poulsbo is centrally located on Kitsap Peninsula and offers nearby access to several other towns. Port Gamble and the Olympic Peninsula are to the north via highway 3 and the Hood Canal Bridge. Keyport is slightly to the south while Suguamish is to the west and offers further access to Bainbridge Island via the Agate Bridge.

By boat

Poulsbo is located on the protected waters of Liberty Bay and is a fun area to explore by boat or sea kayak. Keyport is also located on Liberty Bay and has a newer marina which has nearby access to the Undersea Museum.

Routes through Poulsbo

Ends at Port Gamble  N  S  Silverdale Bremerton
END  NW  SE  Suquamish Bainbridge Island

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, March 14, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.