Just across the Narrows Bridge from Tacoma, Gig Harbor is one of the finest and most scenic on Puget Sound. The pictorial village and its namesake harbor is postcard-perfect, with hundreds of sailing and fishing boats, tall pine trees, and a circle of seaside houses, all against the backdrop of Mt. Rainier.
The town was named by Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, who in 1848 sent out a survey crew in a captain’s gig, which sought shelter in the protected waters of the harbor during a fierce storm. Ever since then this has been a place for sailors. Boatbuilding was an important part of Gig Harbor’s history; hundreds of purse seiners, gillnetters, tenders, yachts, and other vessels were constructed here over the decades. And today those protected waters still do well to keep many commercial fishing and pleasure craft safe.
You don't need sealegs to enjoy the town, though. On land there are upscale shops, galleries, good restaurants, and at least one noteworthy tavern.
Getting to Gig Harbor
Pierce Transit (253/581-8000 or 800/562-8109, www.piercetransit.org) has daily service from Gig Harbor to Tacoma and other parts of Pierce County. The Bremerton-Kitsap Airporter (800/562-7948, www.kitsapairporter.com) offers shuttle bus connections to Sea-Tac Airport.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition