Manchester State Park is outside Port Orchard on the Kitsap Peninsula. The park offers a delightful front-country hiking/walking experience, with trails, several grassy areas and a 1900s Army Corps of Engineers torpedo warehouse — all with plenty of water views. Formerly known as the Middle Point Military Reservation, the park was established when the base was decommissioned in 1958. The park takes its name from the nearby unincorporated city of Manchester, which — in turn — took its name from Manchester, England.
There’s a short interpretive trail near the park entrance with signs to identify mature Douglas firs, maples and even hazelnut trees. A longer hiking trail with two access points from the large parking lot leads down to the shores of Rich Passage, where ferries shuttle cars and walk-on passengers between Bremerton and Seattle. Also here is Battery Mitchell, built to house large guns — which were never installed — to protect the Bremerton shipyards.
Reservable facilities include two picnic shelters and the torpedo warehouse itself, perfect for large gatherings. Campers of all stripes will feel right at home. There are separate sites for Cascadia Marine Trail paddlers, hiker/bikers, RVs and tents and a huge group site with peek-a-boo views of Clam Bay. Military history buffs will also appreciate learning more about the torpedo warehouse and gun battery, and may be inspired to visit Fort Ward, the park’s sister site across the passage on Bainbridge Island.
WTA Pro Tip: Campground loops make excellent walking routes, particularly in the early morning when breakfast smells come wafting from the campsites!