By Barry Galvin
Parks, gardens, and other Kitsap Peninsula destinations are opening up as summer gets into full swing. The range of scenic activities await. From vigorous woodland outings to leisurely strolls, there’s plenty of opportunities to come back with images that say, “Yay!”
Here are six of the most Instagrammable spots in and around the Kitsap Peninsula.
Among the most glamorous gardens in the Seattle region, the 150-acre Bloedel Reserve stuns at every turn from the habitat-focused Buxton Bird Marsh and Meadow to the serene and Zen-like Moss and Stone Gardens. A new one-way trail system will lead you through a course of striking cultivated and natural landscapes.
Set on the glassy waters of Mayo Cove, this 237-acre marine and camping park boasts 2 miles of saltwater frontage and rugged woods. The scenic beauties range from intimate glimpses of sea stars and shorebirds to the rustic charms of Lakebay Marina and inspiring views of Mount Rainier.
Situated near Kitsap Lake, this private property contains nearly 14 miles of woodland trails and logging roads open to the public for non-motorized exploring. The trip through the lush woods is a photo-op in itself, especially with wildflowers in bloom. The trails lead to stunning views of Dickerson Falls and vast mountain panoramas.
Set at the end of Liberty Bay with views of the Olympic Mountains, Poulsbo is known as Little Norway because of the area’s similarity to the fjords. The quaint downtown is filled with shops, restaurants, and a lovely waterfront park. The picturesque Poulsbo Marina has moorage for nearly 400 boats and ranks among the top marinas in the country.
If exploring and picture-taking on the water is your pleasure, there is no greater resource than the Kitsap Peninsula National Water Trails. These trails cover 371 miles of saltwater shoreline with more than 100 launch sites. Part of the National Water Trails System, the Kitsap Peninsula section has its own website, with detailed descriptions of paddle routes. Research your paddling adventure according to region, difficulty, viewing, and local amenities.
6. The Evergreen Rotary Inclusive Playground
Kids need to get away from it all, too. This special section of a 10-acre family-friendly park in Bremerton will spark memory-making smiles in children. The park is wheelchair accessible and has safety features on its wide-range of play stations. Bremerton, with its arts district, Harborside Fountain Park, and the marina, is a great destination in itself. And Evergreen Rotary Park is the site of a 9/11 memorial.
Summer 2021 is a season like no other, with conditions and regulations changing all the time. Before you go, be sure to check with your intended destination about hours, possible ticketing, and social distancing rules.
Barry Galvin made his camping debut at age 3 months. The nature habit stuck, and now he hikes, skis and rides mountain bikes in as many natural areas as he can, often with his own two children in tow.