Not your typical Puget Sound beach escape

Point No Point park blends nature and history; a perfect place for picnics, outdoor fun

September 29, 2013 

I have always been intrigued by the name Point No Point whenever I looked at a map of northern Kitsap County or wrote about how good the salmon fishing was off the point.

So when the family wanted to take a day trip earlier this summer, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what it was all about.

In retrospect, it makes for a perfect day trip from the South Sound.

Like any of our trips to that part of the state, we had to make Sluys Poulsbo Bakery our first stop. After downing our sugar-coated treats while the dog stretched his legs at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, we headed to the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula.

There we found the county park that blends nature, history and plenty of opportunities to have fun.

First, about the name. American Indians living in the area had named the point Hahd-skus, meaning long nose.

During the U.S. Exploring Expedition in 1841, however, Charles Wilkes approached the spit, thinking it was a substantial point. After all, the expedition had already passed what we now call Ediz Hook and Dungeness Spit.

Once Wilkes realized it was much smaller than expected, he named the spit Point No Point.

For park visitors, the park might seem equally small when you arrive. It is a walk of maybe 20 yards from the parking lot to the beach.

But if you walk along the path past the keeper’s quarters, the lighthouse and then step through the grass and over the beached logs, you realize just how much more beach there actually is – it seemingly stretches for miles.

And when you say beach, this is no typical rocky Puget Sound beach. This is a sand-castle-building beach. It’s beach made for waterside picnics on a blanket under a warm day’s sun.

While we visited, people were flying kites, fishing for salmon, walking their dogs, hunting for shells and other marine treasures, watching boats and ships sail past and, yes, building sand castles.

“Every place you stand, you can look out over the water, it’s phenomenal,” said Jim Dunwiddie, director of the Kitsap County Parks Department.

“When I have visitors from outside the area, that’s the first place I take them,” he said. “It’s just a very unique parcel to any parks and recreation agency. It’s just a beautiful, calming site.”

The point is a great fishing spot, especially when pink salmon make their way south through the Sound on odd-numbered years, said Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound salmon manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The shallow waters of the point make it easy for anglers to wade out far enough to cast toward the passing schools of fish.

In addition to the beach, the lighthouse is the park’s star attraction. The oldest lighthouse along Puget Sound, it has been in operation since its completion in 1879.

Listed in the Washington State Heritage Register and the National Register of Historical Places, the complex includes the lightkeepers’ duplex that houses the U.S. Lighthouse Society’s executive offices and a vacation rental.

Using multiple grants, the U.S. Lighthouse Society has renovated the lighthouse “to really make that site look like it did in the 1930s,” Dunwiddie said. “After the Coast Guard left the area, there wasn’t much put back into it. The Lighthouse Society has done a lot of work.”

Inside the lighthouse are displays of equipment once used there, historic photos and other lighthouse artifacts.

The keeper’s quarters was renovated and is now used as the vacation rental.

A woman sitting on the porch – with a great view of the marine traffic on Admiralty Inlet – sighed at the thought of returning home that Sunday afternoon. “This is the perfect spot, I don’t want to leave,” she said after I commented how she had found the best spot in the park.

Adding to the park’s allure, there is a 28-acre designated wetland area behind the keeper’s quarters. A walk along the wetland trail and the beach offers a chance to do some birding, especially this time of year.

The feeding opportunities in the wetland and open water on the Sound attract migrating flocks of birds as they make their way south. Among the birds you might see this time of year are common terns, red-necked phalaropes and Bonaparte’s gulls, according to the Kitsap Audubon Society.

During our visit, gulls wheeled overhead waiting for the chance to swoop down and swipe an unattended sandwich. Smaller songbirds flitted from bush to bush, trying to remain hidden.

Patricia H. Graf-Hoke has lived in the area for 33 years and now works as the executive director of Visit Kitsap Peninsula. She said the park, and other nearby attractions, make it a special location.

“That is a fabulous area out there. The county park is great,” she said. “The beach walking there is really, really nice.

“(The park) so close to these fairly dense urban areas like Seattle and Tacoma,” she added. “This is really a quick get away to someplace that is really quite different.”

POINT NO POINT LIGHTHOUSE AND PARK

Getting there: 9009 Point No Point Road NE, Hansville. Take state Route 16 to state Route 3 in Bremerton. Continue north to the state Route 307 exit (Poulsbo). Turn north at the intersection with Hansville Road. Travel 8 miles to the intersection of Hansville Road and Point No Point Road. Turn right onto Point No Point and travel to the road end into the park entrance.

Parking: If you get there early enough, you can park in the small lot at the park. If that is full, drop off your family and all your gear. While there is additional parking 14 mile back down the road, you don’t want to have to carry it all to the park.

Lighthouse tours: Tours of the historic duplex are offered Saturdays from April-September. The lighthouse is open weekends April-September.

Duplex Vacation Rental: The lighthouse keeper’s quarters are available to the public. Accommodations include a living room, formal dining area with breakfast nook, full kitchen, two bedrooms and a full bathroom. $215 per night plus tax, with a two-night minimum on weekends. No pets allowed. For reservations, contact 415-362-7255 or jeff@uslhs.org. For more information, visit uslhs.org.

Webcam: If you can’t make it to the park, you can check out the view at uslhs.org/pnp_lighthouse_webcam_time_lapse.php.

Information: 360-337-5350, kitsapgov.com/parks

ALSO IN THE AREA

Buck Lake County Park

6959 NE Buck Lake Road, Hansville

kitsapgov.com/parks

The 157-acre park provides access to 20-acre Buck Lake that has seasonal fishing for trout, a beach, swimming area, picnic areas, playground, ball field, basketball court, volleyball court, picnic shelter and restrooms. Internal combustion motors are prohibited on the lake.

Hansville Greenway

hansvillegreenway.org

The greenway features more than 4 miles of trails. Hikes range from a short roundtrip walk of less than 1 mile, to an end-to-end hike of over three miles. Some of the trails are on abandoned roadways, so they are fairly smooth and easy to walk. The other trails are narrow, backcountry-type trails that require more care in walking. The Sid Knuston Puget Sound to Hood Canal Trail runs through the greenway. It meanders from Norwegian Point Park through the greenway to Hood Canal. Dedicated in 2008, the trail covers 4 miles, passing through wetlands, forests, past lakes and along a creek.

Norwegian Point Park

Northeast Twin Spits Road, Hansville

kitsapgov.com/parks

It is a 3-acre park provides access to the Sound. It is about 1 mile west of Point No Point County Park.

HansGrill

7542 Twin Spits Road, Hansville

hansgrill.net

Located between Norwegian Point and the Hansville Greenway Alder Wetland, this is a one-stop shop for anyone visiting the area. “It’s a great little place to grab a bit to eat like burgers and fries. They have local brews, a full bar and nice wines,” said Patricia H. Graf-Hoke, executive director of the Kitsap Visitor and Convention Bureau. You also can stock up on supplies for a beach picnic or pick up some bait if you want to fish.

Lodging

visitkitsap.com

While visiting the area makes for an easy day trip, you can decide to make a weekend trip. If you can’t book the lighthouse inn, there are lodging options in nearby Poulsbo. They include the Poulsbo Inn, Liberty Bay Guest House and Guest House International Inn. There also is the Blue Water Inn at Kingston.

Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640
jeff.mayor@thenewstribune.com
thenewstribune.com/outdoors

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