Gig Harbor is where you find shelter—and that’s how the town got its name, from Captain Charles Wilkes during a heavy storm in 1840. He brought a small boat, called a captain’s gig, into the harbor for protection. When later mapping the Oregon Territory, he dubbed the inlet “Gig Harbor.”
To the nearly 8,000 residents who call the neighboring Tacoma town their home, it’s a safe harbor that in part still harkens back to the economy of yesteryear. Boatbuilders are still found along the waterfront, and many commercial fishermen call it their homeport. At just 20 minutes from Tacoma, and Seattle a little under an hour away, there’s more than a few reasons why savvy homebuyers are seeking out Gig Harbor as their home port.
Charm & Appeal
Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty broker Mary Norris has helped both buyers and sellers in the Gig Harbor area and says, “It’s one of the most beautiful places to look for a home along Puget Sound.”
RSIR broker Rocky Poulin’s specialty with Hopper Group RE is the South Sound (King and Pierce counties,) and when it comes to Gig Harbor, boasting its status as a gateway to the Olympic Peninsula, he says, “The people are friendly and it’s so easy to get around. Despite the growth and popularity, Gig Harbor continues to maintain the small-town feel.”
Location is a large part of the appeal. “Just like Sausalito is a retreat for those who live in the Bay Area, Gig Harbor is both a world away and a short drive from Seattle-Tacoma business centers,” says Norris. “It’s a great place to look for a home, especially for those wanting to live a waterfront lifestyle.”
Tacoma can be reached just over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge is and Poulin says if you’re a frequent flier, the trip to Sea-Tac airport isn’t bad either at just 45 minutes away. Seattle is close enough to catch a Seahawks game on any given Sunday. Plus, “Water is at your doorstep and snow skiing is still within an hour and a half drive,” adds Poulin.
Richard Winter, who worked with Poulin to purchase his Gig Harbor abode, says they’ve really been enjoying the small-town environment. “We also really love the harbor and enjoy paddleboarding and kayaking. It’s been easy to make friends and I can see this quaint little town being our permanent home.”
For Residents and Visitors
Here, life on the water also comes with amazing fish and chips. Tides Tavern has some of the best fish and chips in the country, according to Coastal Living. Enjoy a happy hour cocktail or a nightcap crafted locally—Heritage Distilling boasts an expanded tasting room, meet up with your friends at 7 Seas Brewing for a beer, or go wine tasting at one of the nearby wine bars or wineries.
With your hunger curbed and thirst quenched, get ready to dip your toes into the seaside activities that make Gig Harbor so special. Angle off docks or board an offshore charter to catch some fish of your own. Take Winter’s advice and rent a kayak or stand-up-paddle board. There are a few options for coastal tours, one of them including a cruise of the harbor in an authentic Venetian gondola.
On the water and off, there’s an abundance of outdoor activities to keep you busy. Gig Harbor is surrounded by parks: Purdy Spit, Kopachuck State Park, Narrows Park, and Penrose Point State Park just to name a few.
Year-round artists and connoisseurs can enjoy the monthly ArtWalk, named one of the best small town art walks by Sunset Magazine. As temperatures warm up, so does Summer Sounds at Skansie. One of the town’s most popular summertime traditions, the outdoor concert series runs every Tuesday from June to mid-August. Once the music winds down, the movies start-up: with September comes the annual Gig Harbor Film Festival.
“Gig Harbor is a friendly town where someone can easily build a life with community,” says Winter.
“I advise my buyers to also keep in mind that this area maintains its value and will continue to maintain strong real estate home values. It is a destination spot!” adds Poulin.
Discover Gig Harbor through this exclusive listing from Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty, represented by Mary Norris.
Nestled upon approximately 33 acres of lush and tranquil grounds, Gig Harbor Coastal Estate offers an unrivaled opportunity for a full-time residence, private compound or weekend retreat at the water’s edge. Enjoy 500 feet of low-bank sandy beachfront with complete seclusion set against an incomparable backdrop of majestic Mt. Rainier. Unparalleled views of the Puget Sound, captivating tree-lined landscapes and the Cascade mountain range frame an incredible waterfront lifestyle, whether taking in the gorgeous vistas through walls of windows found throughout the home, entertaining decks and patios, or straight from the beach.
Those seeking an equestrian lifestyle will enjoy rides on private trails and the beach, meadows for grazing, room for a trailer turn-around, level land for an arena, and a pole barn with power and water that may easily be converted to three horse stalls with a heated tack room.
Envision evening bonfires, collecting fresh clams and oysters, fishing, beachcombing or just relaxing while enjoying expansive views, privacy, and the unhindered sounds of nature. The nearly 7,319-square-foot custom main home lets nature take center stage, with walls of windows that frame breathtaking views, soaring 10-foot ceilings, luxurious appointments, and flexible spaces as well suited for daily living as they are for grand celebrations. Relax amidst panoramic views in the living room with an amazing Montana Cliff Ledgestone gas-start woodburning fireplace to set the ambiance and built-in cabinets and alcoves to display your favorite collection.
A gourmet kitchen serves as the heart of the home, with a seamless flow into the dining room and expansive Ironwood deck with a custom stainless steel BBQ hood, plumbing for your dream outdoor kitchen, and a covered area for year-round enjoyment. Embark on a culinary adventure with state-of-the-art appliances, granite counters with a baker’s station, appliance garages, custom cabinets and an oversized stainless sink with a view of Mt. Rainier. Invite guests for a meal in the dining room beside the warmth of the Montana Cliff Ledgestone gas fireplace, a more casual gathering space adjacent to the kitchen with spectacular views of Mt. Rainier, or open the door for an alfresco experience on the deck.
Guests will enjoy a secluded abode in the romantic guest house set upon the water’s edge, complete with a living room, kitchen, Montana Ledgestone gas fireplace, three-quarter bath with washer and dryer, and a three-season porch and raised Lynch Creek rock patio both offering expansive views of the Sound, Mt. Rainier and your own private estuary bursting with varied wildlife.