Surviving summer: 50 things to do in Kitsap and beyond to beat boredom

·16 min read
Three-year-old Jordan Pebels, of Port Orchard, cools off in falling water at Harborside Fountain Park in downtown Bremerton on Monday, June 27, 2022.
Three-year-old Jordan Pebels, of Port Orchard, cools off in falling water at Harborside Fountain Park in downtown Bremerton on Monday, June 27, 2022.

School's out and the calendar has officially flipped to summer. Here are our staff's suggestions for fending off kids' proclamations of "I'm bored" and keeping adults sane during the march through the Fourth of July and up through Labor Day.

Family fun

Rodeo Drive-In: Don’t neglect this blast from the past. Grab your family, significant other or best pals, snacks and blankets and watch movies from the comfort of your vehicle. Not only do you get to skip the movie theater premiums for food, but you get two movies for the price of one. Pro tip: bring an inflatable mattress for added comfort. Check out current showings here: http://www.rodeodrivein.com/

Rock n Bowl: You need reservations to be assured of a lane at All-Star Lane's popular Rock ’n Bowl. Bowling, light shows, loud music played by a DJ, karaoke, and more bowling if you have time in your one-hour block. Reserve your lane here: https://secure.meriq.com/playallstar/

Virtual Reality: Kids and adults alike will have fun trying out the range of virtual reality and video games at Beyond Reality, a non-alcohol, all-ages establishment on Fourth Street in Bremerton where you can come and enjoy a selection of virtual reality video games. Or, parents can drop the kids off there and head next door to Beyond Karaoke, a recently opened karaoke bar with private rooms, a snack bar and adult beverages.

Summer of Learning: Kitsap Regional Library's summer reading program is billed as a great way to keep kids' reading skills up over the summer, but you don't have to be a kiddo to participate and win prizes. Get recognized for reading 10 hours over the summer, or go further and attempt 100. Summer programming at all branches of includes crafting, gardening, book groups, genealogical studies and more. More information is available at https://www.krl.org/.

Rainiers Baseball: Let’s face it, watching Seattle’s minor-league team this year may be the best way to see a local team actually win. Throw in the shorter trip from Kitsap, seats closer to the field and cheaper prices for just about everything, and Cheney Stadium works for a lot of reasons this summer. Not to mention that every Tuesday home game features the $15 seat, hot dog and special Rainiers hat, most Thursday nights offer a special in the beer garden, and Friday nights always feature fireworks. Find the game promotions at https://www.milb.com/tacoma/tickets/promotions.

Point Defiance Zoo: At the closest zoo to Kitsap, you can check out animals and their habitats spanning from the continents of Asia to the Arctic.

Kitsap County Fair and Stampede: The Kitsap County August tradition, this year Aug. 24-28, includes rodeo, food and other country fun and fare. Bring your kids to pet farm animals and learn about raising them from 4H, and, of course, play on the many carnival rides. For the entertainment lineup and more, visit https://www.kitsapfair.org/.

Belladonna Kindt, 3, gets a whole ride to herself during the opening day of the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede on Aug. 22, 2018.
Belladonna Kindt, 3, gets a whole ride to herself during the opening day of the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede on Aug. 22, 2018.

Pac West Motocross Series: If you’re a moto-head, extreme sports enthusiast or just want to entertain the kids, head to MotoWest. Local and national professional and elite dirt bikers will be sending dirt flying and ripping through gears for an exhilarating race Aug. 3-4 at MotoWest, near Bremerton National Airport.

Destruction Derby: This Kitsap County tradition for 50 years has attracted gearheads and kids alike. If you’re looking for loud cars and heavy metal, this is perfect Saturday evening entertainment for you. See the schedule at https://kitsapdestructionderby.com/.

Outdoor adventures

Guillemot Cove Stump House: Explore and indulge in the solitude of a lesser-known Hood Canal beachfront near Seabeck. The cove features miles of well-maintained walking trails, a quirky stump house and pebble beach.

Eco Beach Comb: We have plenty of coastline throughout Kitsap County. What’s not as beautiful is the trash brimming the sand, shells and driftwood. Bring a bag and collect trash so the marine animals don’t have to eat it.

Hike Green Mountain: Take an adventure to Kitsap County’s hidden gem. The short and sweet climb rewards you with views of the Olympic Mountains, Seattle, Hood Canal and Puget Sound. This trail is dog-friendly.

Lake Cushman: Take a dip in this glacier-fed oasis in Olympic National Park. Just past Alderbrook Resort in Union, this popular recreational area features various outdoor activities from swimming and watersports to hiking in the surrounding forest. Bathing suit optional, relaxation guaranteed. You'll need a National Park Pass to enter; the daily rate for a pass is $15.

Illahee Preserve: East Bremerton’s “Central Park” has more than 400 acres of forest, full of trails, birds and interesting flora and fauna that we can’t stop talking about. And it’s free. The main parking lot is on Almira Drive, just behind the Lowe’s. Here's a link for trail maps to download before you go: http://www.illaheepreserve.org/.

Hike to Point Wilson: Get out and stretch your legs on a nice day along this easy out-and-back hike at Fort Worden. While on the trail you will be treated to panoramic views of Mount Baker, the San Juan Islands and the Cascades.

Dungeness Spit: Venture north to this lesser-known gem near Sequim. For a 6-mile round trip sandy stroll, you can dip your toes in the salt water, visit a historic lighthouse and experience panoramic views including Mt. Adams, the Northern Cascades, Olympic Mountains and Strait of Juan de Fuca.

High Steel Bridge: Standing 265 feet over the south fork of the Skokomish River, this is a beautiful adventure for thrill-seekers, photographers and adventure enthusiasts. Located just 30 minutes from Shelton, use this as a picnic destination or starting point for a 4x4 adventure.

Mount Ellinor: Hiking around this Olympic Mountain peak is not an experience for the faint of heart. At Mount Ellinor, after making the 3-mile trek up, you’ll be treated with panoramic views and untouched wildlife. Check out the trail reports and information about getting there at the Washington Trails Association website.

Night Sky Kayak Tour: Avoid the crowds and take the unique glowstick-lit tour of Hood Canal with Kayak Olympic. Professionals lead tours across glass-like waters under the night sky. Book your adventure at https://kayakbrinnon.com/.

Glass Beach: Beachcombers rejoice. Once the site of a former dump near Port Townsend, Glass Beach assures us one man's trash is another man's treasure. The beach has since been cleared off, only leaving repurposed beach glass of bright teal, green and turquoise hues to be found in the sand.

Visit a Swimming Hole: Kitsap and Mason counties have dozens of swimming holes on the shores of area lakes or on Puget Sound swimming beaches. Don't forget to grab a lifejacket at one of the loaner boards provided at area lakes by Safe Kids Kitsap. Or, if you're looking to cool off without the immersion of the lake, other popular water features in Kitsap County include the Harborside fountains owned by the city of Bremerton or the splash pad installed by the city of Port Orchard at McCormick Woods Village Park.

Hurricane Ridge: Our beautiful backyard mountain range offers various access points, however, you cannot beat the accessibility and ease of this Olympic National Park gate with a visitor center near Port Angeles. Explore the paved or primitive trails that will expose you and your family to sweeping views of the mountain range, glaciers, lakes and nearly untouched wildlife. Don’t be afraid to ask your friendly park ranger any questions.

Point No Point: Sand, saltwater and sunshine. Is this really in Kitsap County? Yes, at Point No Point you can walk out to the sandy shore with beach hats and towels in hand or venture to the historic lighthouse to enjoy this perfect family day or getaway.

Youngsters dot the shoreline as the waves hit the beach at Point No Point in Hansville on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
Youngsters dot the shoreline as the waves hit the beach at Point No Point in Hansville on Tuesday, July 24, 2018.

Bird watching: The Kitsap Peninsula is visited regularly by more than 200 species of birds. All you need to see them is a pair of binoculars and maybe a camera. Grab a Kitsap Audubon Society map and hit up a local the bird-watching locations. Try to identify as many species as you can.

Fort Worden Historical State Park: If you’re looking for a little adventure, make the trip to this historic military site. Climb through the bunkers, take a stroll, bike, ride or paddle along the 2 miles of saltwater shoreline and enjoy the history and nature of this 432-acre multi-use park.

SUP: The miles of mild waters surrounding the Kitsap Peninsula make Stand-Up Paddleboarding, or "SUP," popular. Find Stand-Up Paddleboard rentals at Olympic Outdoor Center on the Silverdale Waterfront or in Poulsbo at Liberty Bay.

Sports

Join a pickleball league: Have you ever thought of taking up the sport of pickleball? Give it a chance this summer, joining one of Bremerton's pickleball leagues, which play at the Sheridan Park Community Center gym in Bremerton on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The game — which involves a solid paddle, a polymer ball and is played on a court similar to badminton — is popular for its ease of learning. For more, visit https://www.bremertonwa.gov/256/Pickleball.

For the kids

Ride a miniature steam train: You’ll have just as much fun as the little ones board the Kitsap Live Steamers miniature steam trains at South Kitsap Regional Park. Take in natural views and teach your kids about the sights, sounds and activities of railroading.

Trains run the second and fourth Saturday of each month April through October between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. at South Kitsap Regional Park. Special run days are on June 30, July 21, Aug. 18 and Sept. 2. Rides take place between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Rides are free but donations are welcome to keep up the cost of maintaining the trains. For more, visit https://bit.ly/3ObNSsF.

Ahoy Kitsap: When it’s rainy, or smoky, or just too dang hot to be outside or inside your house, this giant indoor playground on Highway 303 in East Bremerton can be a relief for kids who need to blow off steam. Find details, hours and prices at https://www.ahoykitsap.com/

See a cheap movie: Summerfest $1 Movies at See-Film continues with a different kids matinee each week (1 p.m. and 6 p.m.) for cheap entertainment. "Trolls World Tour," June 28-30; "The Croods: A New Age," July 5-7; "The Addams Family 2," July 12-14; "Clifford the Big Red Dog," July 19-21; "Sing 2;" July 26-28; "Abominable," Aug. 2-4; "Smallfoot," Aug. 9-11; "Bad Guys," Aug. 16-18; "Sonic the Hedgehog," Aug. 23-25. https://seefilm.net/. The Tracyton Movie House is hosting its Summer Movie Program, with $1.99 movie admissions for the showings at 11 a.m. on Tuesday through Sunday. Closed on Mondays (except the Fourth of July). Movies are: "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "Transformers 1985" July 1-July 7; "Shrek" and "How to Train Your Dragon" July 8-July 14; "Shrek 2" and "Madagascar" July 15-July 21; "Despicable Me" and "Secret Life of Pets" July 29-Aug. 4; "Hotel Transylvania" and "Hook" Aug. 8-Aug. 11; "Hotel Transylvania 2" and "Annie" Aug. 12-Aug. 18; "Paw Patrol the Movie" and "Sonic Hedgehog" Aug. 19-Aug. 25; "Labyrinth" and "Goonies" Aug. 26-Sept. 1; "Clifford the Big Red Dog" and "Dora and the Lost City of Gold" Sept. 2-Sept. 8. For more, visit https://tracytonmoviehouse.com/summer-movie-program/

Vacation Bible School: Check out your neighborhood church to see when it's holding its Vacation Bible School, or VBS. The programs are usually a few hours during the day and feature songs, games, outdoor recreation and more. VBS at most churches serves anyone, so don't be hesitant to sign up your kids for a program if your family isn't a member of the congregation.

For 21 and up

Kitsap Wine Festival: Sip and savor with tastings from Bainbridge, Port Townsend and Belfair wineries, and complimentary bites from area restaurants. This event makes for an affordable girls night out, and guests receive a commemorative wine glass and plate. Follow this link to buy tickets: https://bit.ly/3xOGoon

Summer BrewFest: The ninth annual Bremerton Summer Brewfest on July 22-23 will bring 30 breweries to the Bremerton waterfront so you and your friends can wander and sample as many beers as you please to the sounds of live music and local eats. For more, visit https://washingtonbeer.com/festivals/bremerton-summer-brewFest.php.

Drink some cider: Check out Bushel & Barrel Ciderhouse in Poulsbo for events throughout the summer, including the second annual Kitsapplefest, where Bushel and Barrel Ciderhouse will pair its drinks with classic cars, pinup models and live music. The event is welcoming participants for classic car/hot rod entries and also pinup models. For more, visit https://bit.ly/3xO95BW

Pinball: Lesser-known fact: Bremerton has a really cool pinball community. There’s a bunch of tournaments at different locations throughout the county that anyone can try if they want. With an average $5 entry fee, give it your best shot for a chance to win some money. Here's the pinball schedule: Mondays at Tik Tok’s on Sylvan Way in Bremerton; Tuesdays at Slaughter County Brewing in Port Orchard; Thursday's “Split Flip” tournament at Another Castle on Pacific Avenue in Bremerton; Fridays at Ashley’s Pub on Fourth Street in Bremerton; Sundays at Another Castle in Bremerton.

Cornhole: What's summer without cornhole, the beanbag-tossing board game to play in the yard?  Visit the Bremerton Sports Center for open drop-in on Tuesdays for individuals, as the group plays switcholio for the first two hours with an elimination tournament at the end. For more, visit https://bremertonsports.com/cornhole.

Eric Csakany practices his game during a break in the competition at Another Castle Arcade in Bremerton. You will find all the bells and whistles as well as lights and action during local pinball competitions.
Eric Csakany practices his game during a break in the competition at Another Castle Arcade in Bremerton. You will find all the bells and whistles as well as lights and action during local pinball competitions.

Wine Tasting: It’s not quite Napa Valley, but with over 30 local wineries in Kitsap and on the Olympic Peninsula, you can get the local experience. Check out the variety of small intimate tasting rooms and tours of expansive vineyards across the peninsula. Click here to find Olympic Peninsula wineries; visit https://www.bainbridgewineries.com/ to find Bainbridge Island wines, and don't forget Mason County's Mosquito Fleet Winery.

For anyone

Pedal yourself across the rails: Vance Creek Riders takes groups on its pedal-powered cars through Mason County forests on Simpson Lumber’s old rail line, from the former site of Mill No. 5 in rural Matlock to downtown Shelton. The entire trip takes about two hours. For details, visit https://vcrailriders.com/.

Farmers markets: From Bainbridge to Port Orchard, Kitsap has micro and mid-scale farms producing nearly anything under the sun. Shop local and indulge in the richness of fresh produce grown by your neighbors. Markets are available Tuesday through Sunday, but check out the site to find out when your local market is: http://www.kitsapgrown.org/.

Explore the farm: Yoked Farmhouse Brewery in Port Orchard is a family-friendly farm and brewery with events that include "Baby goats and beer," a guided farm tour with baby goat interactions and a beer for your ticket price. Each ticket is good for one adult and two children. Check the brewery's calendar to see which of the wide-ranging events, from a wood-carving class to trivia nights, stands out to you. Find out more at https://yokedfarmhousebrewery.com/.

Bloedel Reserve: Explore this 150-acre zen haven on Bainbridge Island. This tranquil synergy of wetlands and manicured gardens includes miles of walking trails — navigable by wheelchair — that will guide you to a Japanese garden, reflection pool, and more. And don't forget about Kitsap's other botanical gardens: Elandan Gardens, on the shores of Sinclair Inlet just off Highway 16, has an award winning bonsai collection; Albers Vista Gardens showcases plants and conifers from around the world by appointment.

Berry-picking: Though there are some berry farms and bushes locally, it's worth the trek to Sequim for berry-picking. The one-stop-shop Graysmarsh, Sequim’s largest u-pick berry farm opens in spring to pick strawberries, and various berries are available throughout the summer.

Art class: The Kitsap School of Arts in Old Towne Silverdale makes it easy to get in touch with your creative side. The school offers the option of week-long art camps or single-day events. Take an adventure in the new art trend of acrylic pours or learn impressionism.

Festivals

Wayzgoose Kitsap:  Organizers of this print-making festival are on a mission to make art more accessible in the community and beyond. Over a dozen local artists and teams are hand-carving giant linoleum blocks and printing them using real steamrollers this year. The event takes place June 24-27. For more information, visit https://www.wayzgoosekitsap.com/festival.

Bremerton Bridge Blast: Kick off summer with this Bremerton family tradition on June 25. This year’s event includes with free headliner performances at Evergreen Park and fireworks at dusk. Events start at noon on the Bremerton Boardwalk and at 2 p.m. at Evergreen Rotary Park. For more, visit https://www.bremertonbridgeblast.com/.

Fireworks from the Manette Bridge light up the sky during the Bremerton Bridge Blast on Saturday, June 30, 2018.
Fireworks from the Manette Bridge light up the sky during the Bremerton Bridge Blast on Saturday, June 30, 2018.

Whaling Days: Free family fun? Sign us up. From performances from local artists, street vendors and food trucks, Whaling Days is an Old Towne Silverdale tradition the last weekend of July that you cannot miss. Find out more here: https://whalingdays.com/.

Blackberry Festival: Enjoy blackberry treats from fresh-baked pies to lemonade, activities for the kids, local musicians and products from local artisans at the 30th annual Bremerton Blackberry Festival, which takes place over Labor Day weekend.

Crosby Days: Take a step into the past with this Crosby Community tradition, celebrating the logging industry that built the town. The festival shares true American grit with a parade, competitions, lawn mower races, classic trucks and live folk music. This year's event takes place Aug. 13 from 10 a.m. at the Crosby Community Club, at 2135 Christopher Road in Seabeck. For more, visit https://bit.ly/3HLkdnO.

Sequim Lavender Festival: If you love lavender, shopping local, or artisan products, the largest lavender festival on the Olympic Peninsula is the event for you. This year's event takes place from July 15-17 in Sequim, and you’ll be awestruck at the fields of purple and hues threaded through the streets. For more, visit http://www.lavenderfestival.com/.

Concerts

Sounds of Summer: Battle Point Park on Bainbridge Island has free live outdoor music Wednesday nights from 6 to 8 p.m. Local artists vary. BYOB (blanket). You can find the lineup at https://biparks.org/special-events/.

This article originally appeared on Kitsap Sun: Kitsap County Summer events: Things to do in now that school's out