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Key Center is the largest town on the Key Peninsula which is a sub peninsula of the Kitsap Peninsula.

aerial view of Key Center and the Key Peninsula


Key Center is not large by most peoples standards, however it is the largest town on the Key Peninsula. If you are heading south on your adventure this will be your last chance to visit a real grocery store.

Get in[edit]

By car[edit]

Located on the Key Peninsula Highway south west of Purdy.

By boat[edit]

Key Center is one of the few towns in the area not accessible by boat. The closest public access to Puget Sound is a small boat ramp directly west located on Vaughn Bay.

Get around[edit]

Once you are in town, everything is accessible by foot.


  • 1 Joemma Beach State Park. on the Key Peninsula south west of Key Center, is a 122-acre marine camping park with 3,000 feet of saltwater frontage on southeast Kitsap Peninsula. Aside from the natural beauty of park and surroundings, the area is an excellent place for fishing, boating and crabbing. Provides a boat launch and water trail campsites, 5 buoys and 500' dock footage.
the dock at Penrose Point State Park
  • Penrose Point State Park. this 152-acre marine and camping park is a small peninsula that sets on the shores of Mayo Cove and Carr Inlet south of Key Center and offers a wide variety of water activities. Impressive stands of fir and cedar share space with ferns, rhododendrons, wildlife and birds. The name honors Dr. Stephen Penrose, a Pennsylvania native who served as president of Whitman College in Walla Walla from 1884 to 1934. For many years, Dr. Penrose and his family spent their summers vacationing on what is now park property. A prominent church and educational leader in the Northwest, Dr. Penrose was a firm believer in outdoor recreation for children. A self-guided interpretive trail called "A Touch of Nature" was built by Eagle Scouts in 1982 and renovated by a second group of Eagle Scouts in 1991. The trail is located in the day-use area, and extends for 1/5 mile.
  • Rocky Creek Conservation Area, SR 302 at 150th Ave (From Purdy, go south on SR 302 for 5 miles. Right on Elgin-Clifton road, then right on 150th Ave KPN and then left on first gravel road, Elgin Clifton Access Rd. Follow on gravel road approx 1 mile to trail head.). 224 acres of park, open space and conservation land north of Key Center. Rocky Creek has over 3 miles of walking (non-motorized) trails, 2 benches, Trail Head Kiosk, and three parking spots available at the trailhead. The property consists of woodlands (mixture of Fir, Hemlock, Alder, and Cedar), wetlands, two streams (Glee Creek and Rocky Creek, as well as various plants and wildlife


Auto tour[edit]

  • An Auto Tour through Key Peninsula History, Key Peninsula Historical Society: 17010 S. Vaughn Rd. KPN, Vaughn. 50 mile historical route that connects almost 120 points of interest on the Key Peninsula that was assembled and curated by the Key Peninsula Historical Society. Brochures are available for free from the museum in Vaughn.

Beach combing[edit]

Nearby Penrose Point State Park and Joemma State Park are both excellent places to start a beach combing adventure offering miles of beaches from the rugged to the sandy smooth. Small crabs, moon snails, sea stars and sand dollars are common sites and tide pools can offer hours of exploration.

Be warned that sea shells and driftwood are considered part of the natural environment and should not be removed, however the often rocky and wild shores are havens for creating and revealing beach glass and anything artificial found is fair game for removal. Be respectful of private property and gentle with sea creatures. Keep a wide distance away from nesting birds, seals and other shore animals and always put back anything removed from the shoreline.


Hooded Mergansers can often be seen in the area.

The Kitsap Audubon Society has been actively meeting since 1972 and has a broad coalition of birders actively tracking and sharing sightings since then. They also maintain an active website with updates of the latest sightings, suggestions on areas for birders and even a regular newsletter. They also developed a checklist of birds likely to be seen birds in the area.

The state Audubon society developed 'The Great Audubon Birding Trail' which includes key migration flyways. Flyways are major north-south routes of travel for migratory birds and likely areas to see birds along the route extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Penrose Point State Park is only one of only seven locations in the area named to be on the list.





Camping and moorage is available at both Penrose Point State Park and Joemma State Park.


Go next[edit]

Key Center is one of the few towns in the area not directly accessible by boat, however located along the Key Peninsula Highway it does offer easy access to Purdy to the north and other areas such as Lakebay and Longbranch to the south.

This city travel guide to Key Center is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.