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Gig Harbor, WA

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About Gig Harbor, WA

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Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor

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Gig Harbor and Mt. Rainier

Gig Harbor and Mt. Rainier

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Skansie Brothers Park

Skansie Brothers Park

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One of the most picturesque and accessible waterfront cities on Puget Sound, Gig Harbor has a neat, circular bay dotted with sailboats and fronted by hills of evergreens and million-dollar homes. Expect spectacular views all along the town's winding 2-mile bayside walkway, which is intermittently lined by boat docks, quirky shops, cozy caf├ęs, and broad expanses of open water.The bay was a storm refuge for the 1841 survey team of Captain Charles Wilkes, who named the area after his small gig (boat). A decade later Croatian and Scandinavian immigrants put their fishing, lumber, and boat-building skills to profitable use, and the town still has strong seafaring traditions. By the 1880s, steamboats carried passengers and goods between the harbor and Tacoma, and auto ferries plied the narrows between the cities by 1917.The town winds around the waterfront, centering at the intersection of Harborview Drive and Pioneer Way, where shops, art galleries, and restaurants often attract more foot traffic than vehicles. From here, Harborview makes a long, gentle curve around the bay toward the renovated Finholm Market building, which has shops, docks, a restaurant, kayak rentals, and more views. A Gig Harbor Historical Society self-guided walk brochure covers 49 sights (see if you can spot the 16 metal salmon sculptures, designed by local artists, placed in front of sights around town).

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Things You Can't Miss

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Explore a Rich Past at Harbor History Museum
Explore a Rich Past at Harbor History Museum

Exhibits here focus on the Puyallup Indians and the local fishing and shipbuilding industry. You can also see restored boats and an 1893 schoolhouse.

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Image Credit

Nik Wheeler/Corbis

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A Small-Town Stroll on the Waterfront
A Small-Town Stroll on the Waterfront

Restaurants, art galleries and boutiques line peaceful downtown streets. Take a self-guided waterfront history walk to glimpse the colorful past.

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Getty Images

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Cruise Around Gig Harbor and Puget Sound
Cruise Around Gig Harbor and Puget Sound

Harbor boat tours take in views of Mount Rainier, Puget Sound and Tacoma while offering an opportunity to see seals, sea lions and bald eagles.

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John and Lisa Merrill/Corbis

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Maritime History at Eddon Boatyard
Maritime History at Eddon Boatyard

Gig Harbor Boat Shop opens to the public on Saturdays for boat-building demonstrations and tours. You can even learn to build your own wooden skiff.

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Image Credit

Richard Cummins/Getty Images

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Get a Kayak-Close View of a Working Harbor
Get a Kayak-Close View of a Working Harbor

Rent a kayak (or canoe or paddle boat) and tour the quiet waters of Gig Harbor. Pack a picnic and take a break in one of several waterside parks.

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Image Credit

Chuck Pefley / Alamy

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