There are some amazing places around Seattle to head out for a weekend vacation. Whether you want to drive down to the coast of Long Beach or north to Anacortes, there’s no shortage of places to go. However, spending a weekend in Gig Harbor is one of the best places to go for a quick and relaxing vacation.
I’ve been to Gig Harbor in both the spring and fall and enjoyed both of those trips. No matter what the season is, there’s always something to do in 3 days in Gig Harbor. From being out on the water or just having a casual getaway from Seattle, you’ll love visiting the area.
Based on my trips there, I’ve put together this guide to help you figure out where to stay in Gig Harbor and the best things to do in Gig Harbor on the weekend. Whether you’re visiting on a short road trip from Seattle or it’s part of your West Coast road trip, here are some tips to help you plan your trip.
Tips for a Weekend in Gig Harbor
How to Get to Gig Harbor
Driving from Seattle to Gig Harbor is fairly easy, as it’s 45 miles south of the city. The only hurdle you might run into is traffic through Seattle and Tacoma on a Friday night, so leave earlier in the day if you can. You’ll drive through Tacoma and take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge over to Gig Harbor.
The area is a common spot on a Seattle to San Diego road trip as well, as it’s a scenic place to visit before starting a long drive.
Best Time to Visit Gig Harbor
There is no bad time to visit Gig Harbor, but it depends on what Gig Harbor activities you want to do. If you’re looking for a cozy weekend getaway from Seattle, the winter is a great time to come here. You can get a hotel with a fireplace, grab a coffee by the waterfront, and explore the local shops.
However, if you want to be outdoors, May through September is the best time to visit Gig Harbor. You’ll get weather that’s more likely to be dry and sunny so you can get out on the water, especially if you’re here on a Seattle to Portland drive.
Where to Stay in Gig Harbor
When you’re looking for places to stay in Gig Harbor, here are a few options I recommend.
- Wesley Inn & Suites – I stayed here on my first visit to Gig Harbor and loved how pet-friendly it was. It had a king-sized bed (which you can see my dogs enjoyed), a fireplace, and a jacuzzi tub. (rates start at $132 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- The INN at Gig Harbor – This hotel is close to downtown and offers free breakfast. (rates start at $119 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
- Stylish Beachfront Home – This house sleeps up to six people and has a large deck and hot tub. The spacious kitchen is well equipped with modern appliances and a gas stovetop. (rates start at $152 per night)
- Guest House Studio – This beautiful studio sleeps up to three people and has water acess to Wollochet Bay as well as an outdoor deck to enjoy. (rates start at $169 per night)
Best Things to Do in Gig Harbor on the Weekend
Here are some of the best things to do near Gig Harbor on the weekend.
Try Out Dragonboating
If you get a chance during your weekend in Gig Harbor, join the Gig Harbor Dragons for a Saturday morning practice. I had no idea what this was, but after a quick debriefing, I was off in a boat with around 18 people. Going in a dragon boat is one of the more unique Gig Harbor activities.
This was such a hard workout! An experienced member was assigned to helping me with the different routines they did, and we went up and down the harbor for a good hour and a half. I loved that the group seemed to be friends as well, as they said they were headed to Tide’s Tavern afterward for breakfast and Bloody Marys.
Try the Local Ale
If you love beer tasting, head over to 7 Seas Brewing to try one of their taster trays during your weekend in Gig Harbor. The brewery has a fun vibe, and children are welcome so families can hang out together. It was quite hard to pick just four out of their huge selection, but the Dunkelweizen was my personal favorite.
Visit the Harbor History Museum
Gig Harbor has an interesting history, so visit the Harbor History Museum to learn more about it during your Gig Harbor weekend. You’ll see plenty of old artifacts, watch videos about the past, and be able to ask staff members questions. There’s even a one-room schoolhouse from the late 1800s on-site.
Watch Live Music
For dinner on one of your nights during your weekend in Gig Harbor, pay a visit to Tide’s Tavern. This waterfront building was constructed in 1910 and has gone through many changes, including originally being a grocery store.
Don’t let the tavern part make you think all they have is greasy bar food though. I enjoyed delicious smoked salmon linguine, and there was plenty of “non-bar” food on the menu.
You can also get a great spot to watch local talent play in the evening, which is one of the more lively Gig Harbor attractions.
Take a Tour of the Harbor
An active thing to do near Gig Harbor is taking a Destiny Harbor Tour on the water. Hopefully, you’ll have Captain Ethan, who is not only very informative but pretty funny too. The tour goes through Gig Harbor and explains the history of the buildings and the ships you see around you.
After that, you leave the harbor to go out into the Sound. You have a good chance of seeing wildlife on the tour, as we saw two bald eagles and dozens of seals when we were out. The boat ride is one of the more fun things to do in Gig Harbor.
My favorite part of the tour was going by Salmon Beach, which is this unique community below. The only way to get down here is by walking down a steep trail, which means you don’t want to forget anything in your car! I can only imagine how peaceful it is to live here though. You’ll want to add this to your list of what to do in Gig Harbor.
Go Wine Tasting
Nothing quite says Saturday afternoon during your weekend in Gig Harbor like wine tasting, which is exactly why you’ll head to Olalla Winery. We had the pleasure of meeting one of the owners, an entertaining man named Stuart from Scotland.
He and his wife have run this winery for several years and do events on their beautiful grounds. I loved their Sauvignon Blanc so much that I bought two bottles to bring home with me!
Enjoy Fine Dining
You’ll want to make a reservation at Brix 25 for dinner during your 3 days in Gig Harbor. In my opinion, it’s the best restaurant in Gig Harbor for fine dining. You’ll feel the relaxing ambiance as soon as you walk in, and every person on their staff is so friendly.
I started with the Poached Pear & Cambozola Bruschetta, followed by the Thai Curry & Coconut Steamed Mussels for dinner. Both were so unique in their flavors and I only wished I knew how to recreate them on my own. Don’t forget to end with the Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée for dessert – you’ll be set for the night! Going here is one of my favorite things to do in Gig Harbor at night.
Local restaurants like this are what make it one of the best small towns in Washington.
Walk Around Skansie Brothers Park
A small but cute park to walk around is Skansie Brothers Park. The park is a good place to take a break during the day and relax. If you visit Gig Harbor during the holidays, this area is where you’ll find several different activities taking place.
Have Brunch With a View
In the morning on your Gig Harbor weekend, head to Netshed No 9 for a late brunch. Once again you get a view of the water as you sip your morning coffee. I highly recommend starting with a skillet of the cinnamon rolls, as they’re pretty amazing.
This is the type of place that puts you in a good mood when you start your day here. Now if only I could find a way to have that happen every day!
Another good choice for breakfast or lunch is Devoted Kiss. Whether you want a giant Belgian waffle for breakfast or a huge tuna sandwich for lunch, this place has some of the best “feel good” cafe food around. It has a beautiful view of the harbor as well.
Take a Romantic Ride on a Gondola
Taking a gondola ride is one of the more unique things to do in Gig Harbor. John “Cinque” owns and runs Gig Harbor Gondola, where he has an actual gondola from Italy that he uses for his tours. He even dresses up in a gondolier outfit and sings in Italian while you go through the harbor!
It was such a treat to meet him and go on his tour. You can find out more and read reviews on TripAdvisor.
Walk Along the Waterfront
If you run out of what to do in Gig Harbor, just take a stroll along the waterfront during your Gig Harbor weekend. I love people watching and seeing the different restaurants and shops on one part of the harbor, and boats on the other side. It’s a relaxing way to both start and end your day on a weekend in Gig Harbor.
Visit a Distillery
The last item on your list of things to do in Gig Harbor should be a quick stop at Heritage Distilling. They have so many different types of alcohol, from blood orange vodka to brown sugar bourbon (the latter has quickly exploded in popularity in the state).
Even if you’re not normally a hard alcohol fan, I encourage you to at least try this place out. They can help you sample something you’ll like.
Whether you spend a weekend in Gig Harbor or just stop by for the day, you’ll love checking out this cute town.