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The Group Travel Leader Going on Faith Select Traveler

Gig Harbor: Washington’s Maritime Gem

Relax on the water and soak up some history in Gig Harbor, a charming maritime town.

Tucked away on a peninsula in the Puget Sound, Gig Harbor’s appeal is no secret. Named one of Smithsonian Magazine’s “Top Five Small Towns” for culture, heritage and charm, visitors love the quiet of this maritime city, as well as its proximity to metropolitan Seattle.

Its top attractions also double as venues for off-site events. Each gives a peek into the town’s history and culture.

Harbor History Museum, on the waterfront, is a fairly new facility with rotating and permanent exhibits that detail the history of Gig Harbor. Gig Harbor Boat Shop is a nonprofit organization that preserves and interprets Gig Harbor boat building and woodcraft history.

Also tied to boating is the Skansie Net Shed, which houses the western branch of the Coastal Heritage Alliance. It functions as an interpretive and educational center and has been restored to its historic working condition. Net sheds serve as a place where fishermen can mend and hang their nets and repair vessels.

“Net sheds are buildings that are over the top of the waterfront, and many do not exist any longer,” said Karen Scott, director of the tourism and communications for the city of Gig Harbor. “It’s a step back in time and provides a depth of culture and heritage [to the town].”

The waterfront is the downtown’s jewel and features shops, galleries and eateries. Many visitors take to the water for harbor tours and sports such as kayaking and sailing. Meeting attendees with free time can peruse farmers markets, see the Gig Harbor Art Walk the second Thursday of every month, listen to outdoor music and enjoy festivals. Pierce County, in which Gig Harbor is located, will also host the 2015 U.S. Open and has numerous golf courses open year-round.


Spotlight on Gig Harbor

Primary meeting facilities: The Inn at Gig Harbor

Other meeting properties: The Maritime Inn, Heritage Distillery, Cedar Springs

Largest meeting space: Best Western Wesley Inn Plus and Suites at 5,000 square feet

Total hotel rooms: 163 rooms

CVB website: