Port Orchard Welcome Map and Sign
As you get off the Bremerton to Port Orchard ferry, one of the signs you will find very close to the entrance to the ferry, and facing the walkway coming from the ferry pier, is a "Welcome to Port Orchard" sign.
You may want to take a close look at this sign, as it features a map of downtown Port Orchard, along with a list of various businesses that are located in the central core of Port Orchard. Businesses that are further away from downtown are unfortunately not featured on this map. Most notably, the two most glaring omissions are Elandan Gardens and Carter's Chocolates. On the other hand, neither of those locations are within a reasonable walking distance of downtown, and the sign seems to be mostly focused on that (though there is a bus service that goes up the hill to the small shopping mall where you will find Carter's Chocolates).
In any event, this sign will help you get oriented in downtown Port Orchard, and help you see what is where.
In fact, I found it very helpful to take a photo of the sign and map with my digital camera, and then review the map from time to time while exploring the downtown area.
One item I did find annoying about this sign: some of the items share numbers, so you have to pay close attention to the item number and the color that it appears on the map.
- Hiking and Walking
Kitsap Transit Services: Ferry and Bus
Getting around downtown Port Orchard is fairly easy, as for the most part there are sidewalks and the core downtown area is fairly small. Once you get outside that area, roads become quite narrow, and public transit service is very limited.
There is some public transit service here, though, which is operated by Kitsap Transit.
While there are several bus routes that connect downtown Port Orchard with the surrounding suburban developments, the primary core transit route here is the Bremerton to Port Orchard "foot ferry" (passenger only ferry). This service operates once every half hour, and prevents people from having to make an extended drive all the way around Sinclair Inlet.
The particular boat assigned to this route is the 1917 craft Carlisle II, which in and of itself is a bit of a museum piece. In fact, the interior of the boat is in fact called the "Carlisle II Floating Museum" and features a number of photographs from the history of the boats that once served these communities on the west side of Puget Sound.
Neither the ferry pier nor the bus shelter are staffed. Instead, there is a fairly simple waiting area (some parts with shelter) for both the bus service and the ferry. Please be aware that the ferry pier has no railing or other protection where the boat docks. If you were waiting for a bus on a busy street, you wouldn't want your children to run out into the street. If you are waiting for the ferry here, you would want to treat the edge of the ferry pier just as you would treat the edge of a curb on a busy street: if they fall off the edge into the water, they could be in serious trouble.
Fares are $2 per crossing. If you have an ORCA card, then the card is set to allow bus transfers for up to 2 hours after it is first swiped. Kitsap Transit no longer issues paper transfers, so if you pay in cash it only gets you across Sinclair Inlet.
The ferry service operates from fairly early in the morning (about 4:30 on the current timetable) to midway through the evening (about 8:45) every weekday. Saturdays have a later start time (about 8:30) and ending time (7:45). There is no service on Sundays for virtually all Kitsap Transit services.
Bus services are very limited in nature in the Port Orchard area, and seem to really be primarily aimed at moving people working in Bremerton or Seattle from the suburban areas around Port Orchard to the ferry pier so they can go to their ultimate destination. This saves people the 20 minute drive all the way around Sinclair Inlet.
One Word of Note: don't worry too much if it looks like the Carlisle II is going to come right through the glass waiting area. The pier is small, and the boat takes up much of the space available. See photo 5, but it really doesn't do it justide. When it arrives, the boat seems like it is only two feet from the glass.
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