Personal tours add special touch
By Colin Anderson
Taking in the beauty of the Puget Sound from the shores of Gig Harbor is an absolutely wonderful sight. If you are really looking for a memorable experience, try taking in the view while floating on the water in one of several great locally operated experiences. You’ll see the Sound from vantage points you simply can’t see from shore while learning about your surroundings from local guides. From Italian gondolas to restored classic boats and pleasure crafts to paddle boards and kayaks, Gig Harbor has something for everyone when it comes to affordable—and unique—options for exploring the Puget Sound. Pack the snacks and drinks and enjoy a fantastic day on the water.
Destiny Harbor Tours and Riviera Cruises DestinyHarborTours.com 253.225.6306 Whether you seek beautiful scenery, a Puget Sound history lesson or wildlife viewing, Captain Tom has you covered. Step aboard one of two refurbished naval boats that offer 360-degree views during your tour. Points of interest include the Tacoma Narrows Bridges, Gig Harbor, Salmon Beach, Point Defiance, Foss Waterway and the Port of Tacoma. Private charters are also available for up to 33 people. “The real star of the show is the scenery of the Puget Sound,” says Captain Tom Drohan.
Duffy Electric Boat Rentals at Gig Harbor Yachts GigHarborYachts.com/boat-rentals-and-charters 253.857.6060 Electric boats don’t require a boaters’ license, so these are a perfect fit for those with less experience on the water, and your party is sure to have a memorable experience on these unique, all-electric boats. Grab a cooler, picnic basket and 10 of your favorite family members or friends for the ultimate relaxing harbor cruise, or a sundowner dinner on the water. Rates start at $195 per hour.
Gig Harbor BoatShop Rentals
Rent a classic boat from this nonprofit located in the historic Eddon Boatyard on Gig Harbor’s working waterfront. Seasonal boat rentals in one of the shop’s carefully restored classics is the perfect way to explore the area.
Gig Harbor Fly Shop GigHarborFlyShop.com
The Gig Harbor Fly Shop caters to everyone from kids and beginning anglers to serious fishermen targeting salmon, trout or even tiger muskie. The shop offers day trips to multiple destinations, and carries gear and flies for any species you target. It also carries several Hobie kayaks available for rental, and the knowledgeable staff can point you to their favorite fishing spots.
Gig Harbor Gondola
Step aboard Gondolier John Synco’s beautiful gondola shipped from Venice, Italy, for a peaceful and unforgettable evening on the water. John can accommodate up to six guests and cater the experience just for you. Guests are free to bring along whatever food and beverages they wish. While the gondola is available year-round, summer is the most popular time—so book early!
Paddling the harbor is the best way to explore and take in a little local wildlife, and Lee’s SUP has you covered. Lee’s rents both single and tandem kayaks, and has a huge supply of top-quality stand-up paddleboards (SUPs) that can be rented for the day or in shorter sessions. For those new to the sport, guides offer lessons that will help you get up and paddling in no time.
Prefer to paddle yourself around the harbor? There are multiple outlets to rent solo or tandem kayaks, canoe, and stand-up paddle boards(SUPs). Gig Harbor has many access points for launching personal watercraft along Harborview Drive. Maritime Pier is a local favorite that has easy access and a life jacket loaner station. Ancich Waterfront Park is one of the city’s newest attractions. The park contains a beach and a unique garage that allows SUP and kayak storage right near the water. You can launch at Skansie Brothers Park,where you can get a mini history lesson as well. Take a peek at the Red Brick house and historic Netshed before or after your day on the water. Adjacent to Skansie Brothers Park is Jerisich Park,where there is an additional launch as well as first-come-first-served moorage for daily boat visitors. Across the Harbor, Pierce County maintains the Randall Drive Boat Launch, which was recently upgraded with new concrete slabs.