Manchester is a charming waterfront village with spectacular views of Puget Sound, a public boat dock, bike routes, shopping, and a restaurant. Manchester, a subdistrict of Port Orchard, is uniquely located between ferries to Bremerton, Vashon Island and Fauntleroy in West Seattle and a convenient stop over when exploring the area by boat.
Manchester was established in the 1860s and was originally known as Brooklyn, after the borough in New York City. The name was changed to Manchester in 1892 in honor of the city of Manchester, England. Like many communities in Puget Sound, Manchester was originally only accessible by boat. After a permanent dock was built in 1908, regular steamboat service connected Manchester to nearby communities.
Manchester Boat Launch. There is no overnight parking or moorage available but Manchester is a good place to stop for supplies or a meal at the restaurant. Manchester offers two floating docks, a fully paved boat ramp and a gentle sandy beach which is great for launching small hand carried boats. $5 per day for car parking.
Manchesters few shops, library and restaurant are all centrally located around the pier and within walking distance.
- Kitsap Transit, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com. Kitsap Transit offers transit services throughout throughout the area including pickup from all ferry terminals and connects with Mason Transit (Mason County), Pierce Transit (Pierce County), and Jefferson Transit (Jefferson County) offering connections outside of the area. full fare $2 and is part of the regional ORCA network system.
- Kitsap Regional Library, 8067 E Main, ☏ . more that just a community library, this branch offers many events for children including story time, lego club, kids movies and even an annual bunny hop. See website for current events. The original library was actually a renovated chicken coop, but that was replaced in 1949 when land was given to the library with the stipulation that the new library had to be built on skids in case it ever needed to be moved. That library was then replaced with the more permanent one here now in 1980.
- Pomeroy Park, E Main St. this small park was sold to Manchester by Loretta Pomeroy (1914-1984), the widow of former Seattle mayor Allan Pomeroy (ca. 1907-1966) in 1966. The Port developed the land into Pomeroy Park, named in his honor. There are restrooms, a fishing dock, picnic tables and beach access along the marina.
- 1 Manchester State Park, Port Orchard, WA (located at the entrance to Sinclair Inlet), ☏ . Summer: 8AM to dusk. Winter: 8AM to dusk.. is a 111-acre camping park with 3,400 feet of saltwater shoreline on Rich Passage in Puget Sound between Southworth and Port Orchard. It was at one time a harbor defense installation for the protection of nearby Bremerton, then a fuel supply depot and Navy fire-fighting station. The park contains a former torpedo warehouse built in 1901, a mining casement and a gun battery which are open for exploring. The park has 35 tent spaces, 15 utility spaces and two restrooms/showers. Maximum site length is 60 feet (may have limited availability). One dump station is located near the entrance. To make a reservation, visit online or call (888) CAMPOUT or (888) 226-7688. Campsites are only available first come, first served between Sept. 16 to May 14. There are three hiker/biker campsites available only to hikers and bikers and only on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites include a picnic table. Braziers are not provided.
- Blake Island State Park. Manchester is the closest launching point to Blake Island which is accessible only by boat and 1.7 nautical miles away. a 475-acre marine camping park with five miles of saltwater beach shoreline providing magnificent views of the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline. Native American style salmon dinners and demonstrations of Northwest Native American dancing are offered at Tillicum Village. The island offers 21 buoys and 1744 feet of moorage for visiting boaters. Blake Island State Park has harvestable numbers of native littleneck clams, and butter clams. Cockles and Manila clams are also available on this beach. Planted geoducks may also be present on this beach below the -2.0' tidal level. There are several designated beaches that are designated for shellfishing that are open all year.
What Puget Sound beaches lack in white sand and warm water is more than made up for in the amazing scenery as the clear waters play against wild coastlines and snow peaked mountains scatter on the horizons. Manchester has a small beach that is great for a picnic or letting the kids play in the sand or the more adventurous could head over to nearby Manchester State Park which is an excellent place to start a beach combing adventure offering 3400 feet 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.
Manchester is an excellent place to launch a boat to search out the elusive and meaty Dungeness Crab, but other less popular crabs are plentiful in the area. Crab season starts with a two-day opener July 1st and 2nd and follows up with crabbing every Thursday through Monday through Labor Day weekend. A wide array of crab traps are available from a variety of area sporting goods stores and the red and white buoys marking the traps are a common site on the water during the short crabbing season. Fishing permits are required and can be purchased from a variety of local stores, more information is available from the Washington Dept of Fishing and Wildlife.
Shellfish are prized resources of the Puget Sound, the cool, clean waters provide some of the finest shellfish habitat in the world. Washington State is the nation’s leading producer of farmed bivalve shellfish (clams, geoduck, mussels and oysters) however not all beaches are safe for shellfishing and you should always check the states website for any safety concerns or beach closures before proceeding and like all fishing in Puget Sound permits are required. Nearby Manchester State Park is closed to shellfishing however nearby Blake Island has some wonderful public beds.
Sea kayaking can be a rewarding way to explore the Kitsap Peninsulas 371 miles of coastline allowing the paddler a closer and slower look at their surroundings and making Kitsap one of the most popular areas to kayak in Puget Sound. Thick forests of majestic pine and deciduous trees and hundreds of creeks and estuaries dot the coastline. Or just explore Kitsaps many harbor towns like Manchester that cater to kayakers with shops and restaurants accessible from the water. Harbor Seals, Otters, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles and Blue Herons are common sites while the occasional viewing of an Orca or Grey Whale is not out of the question.
Organized trails offer overnight camping options and maps of appropriate and scenic travel destinations and Manchester is located on the Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails.
- Kitsap Peninsula Water Trails. The National Parks Service Named the this 'Trail of the Month' in the entire USA for the month of December 2012, PDF copies of the water trails map are available
Scuba diving the cold waters of Puget Sound takes a bit more gear and training than other warm water locations, but the rewards are incredible. The area contains some of the best diving in the world and many areas are accessible from the Kitsap Peninsula. The state has offers a guide to parks with launch sites HERE
- Well-known to regional scuba divers, Orchard Rocks Conservation Area is located north east of Manchester State Park in the waters and bedlands of Rich Passage within a 400-yard radius of Orchard Rocks day marker and accessible by boat. The natural bedrock and boulders provide habitats for rock associated fish and invertebrate species. Copper rockfish and quillback rockfish once were common at this site but now are rare. Brown rockfish are common as are lingcod, red Irish lord, buffalo sculpin, striped seaperch, and pile perch . Kelp greenling, painted greenling, cabezon are consistently present in the reserve. Dominant invertebrates include red rock crab, spider crabs, red sea cucumber, and orange sea cucumber. Harbor seals frequently visit the site and are often seen hauled out on the exposed rocks at low tide. California sea lions are also commonly observed at the site and may be seen hauled out on nearby navigational buoys.
Manchester Family Inn, 2386 Colchester Dr E, ☏ . The food is standard American diner fare: sandwiches, hamburgers, halibut and chips, pot roast, prime rib specials, salads, soups and the usual breakfast fare. The attached bar has a huge fireplace and a lovely view of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound. On some weekend nights, there is live music and sometimes the quality of the entertainment is surprisingly good. Service can be hit or miss. A big weekend crowd seems to overwhelm the waitstaff at the Inn. In fairness, it appears that they are often under-staffed. Prices in the bar are relatively inexpensive.
The Manchester Family Inn also has a bar area.
- Manchester Pub, 2350 Colchester Dr E, Port Orchard, WA 98366, ☏ . neighborhood pub with lots of local charm and outdoor seating with views of the water just up from the pier.
- Little Clam Bay Bed & Breakfast, 7801 E. Jessica Way, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. near Manchester and overlooking Little Clam Bay this small bed and breakfast offers a wonderful location and privacy. $165 for master suite with extra bedroom available.
- Puget Sound Vacation Rental, ☏ . house rental on private beach and view of downtown Seattle across the Sound.
- Camping is also available at nearby Manchester State Park.
Manchester is the closest boat launch to Blake Island State Park but there are many other areas to explore as well including Vashon Island and Bainbridge Island and the many communities along the Sinclair Inlet including Port Orchard. Nearby Manchester State Park has several camping sites reserved for non motorized campers such as sea kayakers.