The blue-collar city of Bremerton—the largest settlement on Kitsap Peninsula—offers sweeping views of both the Cascades and the Olympics and a waterfront crowded with decommissioned Navy ships. The run-down city center resembles a dying Massachusetts mill town; many of the businesses have fled to suburban strip malls or to the booming patches of real estate around Belfair and Silverdale.
Bremerton does, however, have several interesting historical sights, including famous battleships and a naval museum, as well as good restaurants and inexpensive housing. And in the coming years the city has committed to revitalizing its waterfront—so keep your eyes open for new improvements.
Getting to Bremerton
From the Seattle waterfront you can take a 60-minute trip to Bremerton on the Washington State Ferries (360/842-2345, 888/808-7977, or 800/843-3779 for automated information, www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries, one-way $14.45 car and driver, $6.25 motorcycle and driver, $6.70 extra passengers and walkers, $6.25 extra kayaks, $1 extra bikes). A passenger-only ferry (same rates) sails from Seattle five times a day and makes the run in 50 minutes. You'll probably end up paying $4–8 if you want to park anywhere near downtown because so many folks from the Kitsap Peninsula park here and ride the ferry to Seattle.
Kitsap Transit Ferry (360/876-2300, $1.50 one-way) also offers 10-minute ferry rides across the Sinclair Inlet between Bremerton and Port Orchard for foot traffic and bikes only. It’s a seven-mile drive around the head of Sinclair Inlet to Port Orchard if you drive there instead.
Kitsap Harbor Tours (360/876-1260) offers tours of the mothball fleet along with tours to Blake Island on summer weekends.
Kitsap Transit (360/373-2877 or 800/501-7433, www.kitsaptransit.org) has daily bus service throughout the peninsula and meets all state ferries. All buses have bike racks. Bremerton-Kitsap Airporter (360/876-1737 or 800/562-7948, www.kitsapairporter.com) offers shuttle buses to Sea-Tac Airport.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition