With a waterfront location, walkable downtown and beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains, Port Orchard is a family-friendly destination well worth a day trip or weekend getaway.

A pedestrian path along Sinclair Inlet connects an observation tower at the west end of downtown to a children’s park, with plenty of spots along the way to picnic. It’s a great place to watch the Seattle-Bremerton ferry and gawk at mammoth aircraft carriers across the water at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in Bremerton. You’re likely to see a few Great Blue Herons as well.

Fans of popular author Debbie Macomber know that Cedar Cove is a fictionalized version of Port Orchard. You can visit many of the places that inspired the settings in her books, including Amy’s on the Bay, the Sidney Art Gallery and the Victorian Tea Room.

If you’re a golfer, don’t forget to bring your clubs. There are five golf courses nearby, including Trophy Lake and Gold Mountain, which were recently named among the top 10 courses in the state by Golfweek Magazine.Port Orchard herons

Other highlights:

  • Vintage and antiques – Bay Street is a treasure hunter’s dream. Glory Grace Designs and Josephine’s Redeemed feature beautiful displays of repurposed items that will inspire you to look at familiar objects in new ways. And the Olde Central Antique Mall houses 45 dealers with a wide selection of furniture, glassware, jewelry, pottery, art and more.
  • For the kids – The waterfront children’s park has new play equipment, beach access and a charming nautical mural. At South Kitsap Regional Park, Kitsap Live Steamers give free rides on miniature trains on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. There’s also a challenge-filled skatepark there with rails, a washboard and a full pipe.children's park
  • Arts & history – The historic Sidney Museum and Gallery has art on the first floor and vignettes from Port Orchard’s history upstairs, including a one-room schoolhouse and photos from the days when logging was done with two-man saws. Dragonfly Cinema shows independent films. And you can take a step back in time at the Log Cabin Museum on Saturdays beginning in May. Built in 1913, the cabin features a butter churn, wood stove and wringer washing machine.
  • Brews & bites – Whiskey Gulch Coffee Co. has tasty sandwiches, soups and salads, baked treats like oatmeal bacon cookies, plus a deck with an awesome waterfront view. The pirate-themed Slaughter County Brewing Co. offers a relaxed setting with pub fare, outdoor waterfront seating, pool and darts. Be sure to check out Etta Turner Park and the new pedestrian bridge next to the microbrewery. Carter’s Chocolates in the Port Orchard Public Market sells ice cream and some of the prettiest confections you’ll ever see. For comfort food, including fluffy biscuits, try Homemade Café in the purple church a block from downtown. And the cozy Bay Street Bistro offers fine dining.
  • Getting there – You can easily get to Port Orchard by car, but it’s more fun to arrive by bike, boat or the historic Mosquito Fleet foot ferry Carlisle II from Bremerton.