Exploring Washington’s North Kitsap Peninsula

by Richard Walker | Photo © Richard Walker

North Kitsap Peninsula is a treasure trove for the casual day traveler with its rural communities along the inlets of the Salish Sea and its richness of cultural and historical sites. You can easily reach it by state ferry from downtown Seattle and Edmonds or by bridge from Tacoma.

At Point No Point on Admiralty Inlet, a monument marks the place where indigenous leaders and representatives of the U.S. signed the Treaty of Point No Point in 1855, opening the region to non-Native settlement. Tour the restored 1879 lighthouse, enjoy the songs of migratory birds in the salt marsh and hike to Hood Canal on a forested trail of the Hansville Greenway and Wildlife Preserve. kitsapgov.com/parks/parks/pages/regionalparks/point_no_point.htm

In Little Boston, view fine S’Klallam art on exhibit at the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe’s Point Casino. At the entrance, you will be greeted by two large welcome figures carved by S’Klallam artist Jimmy Price. the-point-casino.com

For any traveler interested in indigenous culture, the House of Knowledge in the S’Klallam government center is a must-visit. A longhouse, a carved honor pole and story poles tell of the S’Klallam people’s culture of welcoming and teaching. pgst.nsn.us

The waterfront town of Port Gamble, where a lumber mill operated for 142 years, is a nationally registered historic district. Restored mid-1800s New England-style buildings feature an eclectic assortment of stores, shops and cafes. The general store houses a restaurant and historical museum. portgamble.com

In walkable Suquamish Village, explore thousands of years of Suquamish culture at the Suquamish Museum, pay respects at Chief’s Seattle’s gravesite and breathe the sea air at Old Man House Park, the former site of the largest winter longhouse on the Salish Sea. The Suquamish Veterans Memorial features carved house posts depicting chiefs Kitsap and Seattle, by Squaxin artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo. suquamish.nsn.us

Downtown Poulsbo’s building fronts reflect the heritage of Norwegians that settled here beginning in the 1880s. Downtown has art galleries, bookstores, a coffee house with poetry readings and live theater. It’s also a foodie’s delight, with two breweries, a wine-tasting room, a Scandinavian bakery and plenty of restaurants. historicdowntownpoulsbo.com

In Keyport, the Naval Undersea Museum houses the nation’s largest collection of artifacts related to naval undersea history and science. Study sea life with a microscope, peer into a torpedo tube, operate a control panel in a recreated submarine control room and check out the deep-sea diving equipment. Admission is free. history.navy.mil/museums/keyport/index1.htm

For more information about visiting Kitsap Peninsula, go online at visitkitsap.com.