4 Great Day Trips From Kitsap County

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: even if you don’t love your duty station, do yourself a favor and get out and explore the region around you. As military spouses, it can be next to impossible to plan trips or family vacations without knowing our spouse’s sea schedule. So perhaps easy day trips are the answer?

If you’re stationed at Naval Base Kitsap, Washington state has so many great day trip destinations. Here are four to consider this summer (and any time, really):

Hood Canal

Photo courtesy of Expxlore Hood Canal

Have you ever ventured over the Hood Canal Bridge? Recently, my family and I headed to Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, WA. Located about an hour from base, the park sits on 1,064-acres,with five miles of shoreline on Hood Canal and the Dosewallips River. The park’s moss-carpeted forest provides ample hiking, with 3.5 miles of shaded trails. We hit the Steam Donkey Trail, a 2.5 mile loop which was kid and dog-friendly.

After our hike we decided to drive the long way home and stopped at Hama Hama Oyster Saloon for lunch. The 5th generation family oyster farm sits on the Hood Canal, offering a sweet farm store and outdoor oyster saloon that is family and dog-friendly. Rustic picnic tables and mini a-frame huts make for a unique dining experience. While you wait for your table (it’s worth it, we promise!) enjoy the outdoor beer garden dotted with fire pits. And don’t let your kids miss the oyster mountain they can climb! Other fun Hood Canal pit-stops: Alderbrook Resort & Spa, Hoodsport Winery, Union Country Store, Cameo Boutique & Wine Shop.

Whidbey Island

Photo courtesy of whidbeycamanoislands.com

Hop on an early morning ferry from Port Townsend to Whidbey Island, located about an hour from base. The ferry will bring you to Coupeville, Washington state’s second-oldest community dotted with hundred-year-old buildings, beautiful rural farmlands, old military forts and a charming downtown waterfront. Stretch your feet at Fort Ebey State Park and/or Fort Casey Historical State Park, both will beautiful cliff-side hiking trails, WWII tunnels and forts to explore. If you’re looking for a more scenic hike, Ebey’s Landing is a favorite.

For lunch, head into downtown Coupeville. Don’t miss the savory sandwiches at Toby’s Tavern, Penn Cove mussels at Front Street Grill, or Neapolitan-style pizza at Ciao Food & Wine. Walk off your lunch and enjoy the downtown shops and waterfront charm before heading back for a late afternoon ferry.

Hot Tip: If you want to make a weekend of it, check out the area B&B’s, family-friendly hotels in Oak Harbor or the lush Captain Whidbey Inn!

Vashon Island

Photo courtesy of VRBO

Vashon-Maury Island is nestled in the “Heart of the Sound.” At 13 miles long and eight miles at its widest point, the island boasts 45 miles of shoreline and a year-round population of 11,000. The island is only accessible by ferry, which makes it feel so special and remote. When coming from Kitsap, hop on the short, 10 minute Southworth Ferry from Port Orchard.

For activities, pick around dozens of shops and antique stores; explore one of 16 hiking trails; picnic and playground at Ober Park; or e-bike tours and kayak rentals from Vashon Adventures. If you come on a Saturday, hit up the Vashon Island Farmers Market. For lunch, check out the family and dog-friendly Camp Colvos Brewing. Other favorites include The Hardware Store Restaurant, and others. There’s also several wineries, cideries and breweries. If you want to make a romantic weekend of it, I’ve heard great things about The Lodges on Vashon.


Photo courtesy of PlanetWare

As Washington state’s capital, Olympia is a great day trip destination for families or couples alike. The drive is about 75 minutes from base. Your first stop must be Olympia Coffee Roasting, one of the most acclaimed coffee companies in the Northwest. If traveling with kids, you must go to the Hand’s On Children’s Museum. The grandaddy of childrens museums, this museum is massive and offers so many interactive exhibits. They offer a $1 off general admission for military families.

If you’d rather stay outside, explore the Capitol Forest or the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. For lunch, Well 80 Artisan Brewing is a great family-friendly spot. For other popular restaurants, click here. Other ideas: check out the South Sound Craft Crawl for beer touring or the South Sound Wine Trail for wine tasting. For history buffs, visit the Capitol campus with a free walking tour or WWII aviation history at the Olympic Flight Museum.

What are some of your favorite day trip destinations? Comment below and let us know!

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