As you travel north on the Kitsap Peninsula you’ll encounter more wooded areas, smaller towns and natural beauty at every turn. To get to the area, take a short, scenic Washington State Ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island or from Edmond’s to Kingston. Or, drive across the world’s largest floating bridge from the Olympic Peninsula, or take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge from I-5. Washington’s North Kitsap Peninsula is considered the area anchored by Bainbridge Island and Poulsbo on the south and Port Gamble and Hansville to the north. It will take you about a half hour driving up the peninsula from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
Bainbridge Island is known for art and artists, their food scene and, of course, outdoor recreation.
In August and December you can tour the island in search of art and visit the artist’s studios, all accessible from the ferry terminal. Bainbridge Island Studio Tour maps are available in town and online. If it isn’t studio tour time, art lovers can walk from the ferry terminal to the well-respected Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, museum store and bistro.
Bainbridge is now home to seven artisan wineries, a brewery and an organic distillery. You’ll find restaurants and, in summer, may be enticed to stop at Mora Ice Cream, featured in Food & Wine Magazine.
Tuesday through Sunday you can wander the trails of The Bloedel Reserve, an internationally renowned public garden and forest preserve.
Just over the bridge via Hwy 306 you’ll come to the quaint Norwegian fishing village of Poulsbo. A day-tripper would want to spend their time on Front Street and the scenic marina area. Front Street is filled with shops, a bookstore, restaurants and the must-visit Sluy’s Bakery, famous for their Poulsbo bread.
As you walk, you’ll understand why Poulsbo is referred to as “Little Norway on the Fjord.” Up on the hill overlooking the town and marina, is the First Lutheran Church, built in 1908. And, you’ll find Viking murals and Norwegian-themed storefronts.
Hungry? You might want to try JJ’s Fish House or The Loft with a view of Liberty Bay. Add on an hour to your stay if you have lunch in Poulsbo.
Traveling North on Hwy 3 you’ll see a turnoff to Port Gamble. It is certainly worth a visit. Port Gamble is a 120-acre National Historic Landmark. Once a mill town, you still be able to enjoy picturesque, turn-of-the-century buildings filled with shops, a historic church and graveyard, breathtaking views, and New England style houses on maple and elm tree-lined streets. There is a history museum.
The Port Gamble General Store has an excellent café and coffee shop in the back. Locals love it for breakfast or brunch.
Back track a little bit and then head north once again, through beautiful woods, to the small town of Hansville at the tip of the Kitsap Peninsula. You can walk the driftwood-strewn beach or cast a line in hopes of catching a salmon.
But the big draw is the beautiful Point No Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse has been in continuous operation since its completion in 1879. There is a keeper’s duplex that is rented out to visitors. It’s a beautiful lighthouse. Tours are available weekends from 12 p.m. April through mid-October.
At this point, you’ll turn around and travel back to your point of entry. Depending on where you have stopped, and for how long, your visit to the Upper Kitsap Peninsula will have given you a taste of the area, probably sufficient to entice you to return to spend more time.
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Washington’s North Kitsap Peninsula: Where Everyone Sees the Point … A day of quaint towns, art and the Point-No-Point Lighthouse in Washington