Fort Ward and South Beach, Bainbridge Island
Believe it or not, there is a quiet(er) side of Bainbridge Island. Bordering Lynwood Center and Rockaway Beach, Fort Ward and South Beach cover the southern end of Bainbridge Island. Similar to Agate Point, Fort Ward and South Beach run at a slower pace because there isn’t any through traffic. It’s a great area to walk, run, bike and hike. Plus, you can do all four activities on the trails that crisscross the south end of Bainbridge Island.
Fort Ward Bainbridge Island
The best way I can describe Fort Ward is that it’s a neighborhood built around a park. Fort Ward Park is steeped in history and it’s easy to stumble on its past while venturing through the neighborhood. There are new home developments built around Fort Ward’s parade grounds and remaining military quarters.
One of my favorite island stops is the Fort Ward to Blakely Harbor Trail. It’s a water-to-water trail that you can walk, run or bike. Along the trail, you’ll see additional remnants of Fort Ward’s military past including gun batteries, lookouts and living quarters. During WWII, Fort Ward was Puget Sound’s last line of defense, and protector, of the Bremerton Naval Shipyard.
Connected to the south end of the Fort Ward Trail is the South Beach community. South Beach feels off-island due in part to the relaxed nature of the area. People driving through South Beach are either residents or lost. Taking the path from Fort Ward to South Beach, you’ll be surrounded by views of the Bremerton ferry and Blake Island. The level path and mostly carless road makes it a great place for walkers and runners.
Blakely Harbor’s heyday occurred over 100 years ago. During the early 1900s, Blakely Harbor was lumber and shipbuilding town with a community built around the harbor to support both. In 1907, Blakely Harbor was declared home to the largest lumber mill in the world. Today, it’s a quiet area that is popular with ‘caravanning’ boaters during the summer months and visitors to Blakely Harbor Park. Also a highlight of Blakely Harbor is the graffiti covered walls of the old power plant. It’s where my kids posed for our Christmas card picture in 2008!
For more info about the Bainbridge Island’s history and Port Blakely and Fort Ward, be sure to read Picture Bainbridge: A Pictorial History of Bainbridge Island. The stories are very ‘first-person’ by neighborhood and it’s one of our favorite books about Bainbridge Island.
Homes for Sale: Fort Ward and South Beach, Bainbridge Island
Click here for Bainbridge Island’s shoreline public access information.
“In its teens, Fort Ward guarded the approaches to Bremerton Naval Shipyard. At 35, it was a summer camp for children. But in its 40s, the obscure fort on Bainbridge Island was given a new job – listening to the enemy.”
Bainbridge Island Neighborhoods and Home Map Search
Find out more information about the communities and neighborhoods of Bainbridge Island. Included with each link is a map search of properties available in the area.