by Kathryn Millhorn • Photos by Heather Harris, Elements Photography
We love our one-stop-shopping with everything under a single roof. What if there was an outdoor hub of year-round, family-friendly waterfront fun? Well, thanks to Olympia’s Boston Harbor Marina, you can find whatever you need to celebrate the Pacific Northwest’s greatest aquatic specialties, activities, and delicacies.
Run by Kate Gervais and her mom Cam, a co-owner team, Boston Harbor Marina has been a fixture on Puget Sound for 100 years having started “in 1928, according to our best guess and local historians,” laughs Gervais. Whether you’re heading out for a day on the water and stocking up on snacks and fuel, a home chef looking for the freshest seafood, or relaxing under the stars with live music and a cold beer…you’re in luck.
Located at 312 73rd Avenue NE, many folks visit the Marina boat launch and fuel dock before taking to the Sound. Their launch is accessible 24 hours a day and boaters can purchase gas or diesel seven days a week. Overnight and guest moorage is also available via phone reservation.
But you don’t have to be a sea captain—real or imagined—to enjoy the Marina. Their iconic wooden deck offers amazing views and is a lovely place to take in the sights. Staff hosts live music on Friday nights from Memorial Day through Labor Day, often paired with on-tap offerings from local breweries and crisp regional wines.
Want something a little warmer or more filling? The Snack Shack is your dockside spot for clam chowder, fish and chips, hotdogs, sandwiches, paninis, and—at long last—cheeseburgers. “We’re very pumped,’ says Gervais, “people have been asking for at least eight years now!’
And you’ll need that protein boost because their equipment rentals are another huge draw. Available year-round, always weather permitting, you can rent sit-on-top or sit-inside single or tandem kayaks as well as stand up paddleboards. Rentals come with life jackets and paddles. New this summer are kids’ kayaks, suitable for confident children as young as six years old and 40 pounds. For longer paddles, like those to nearby Hope Island, rescue gear is also included.
Call 360.357.5670 for all reservations and staff will discuss options and gear needed. There is no advance limit on how far out you can book a trip so large groups can be accommodated with sufficient notice. Case in point? The annual REI Employee Appreciation visit which took out nearly a dozen boats this year alone!
The Marina is also a great place to experience nature and community. Recent days of record low tides brought out beachcombers galore and the Puget Sound Estuarium has used their docks for underwater Pier Peer events. “It’s a pretty unique place in a neighborhood where everyone knows each other,” says Gervais. “We’re family- and dog-friendly and even have an off-leash dog beach or wine tastings and trivia nights in the lounge during off-season.”
A few years ago, grandchildren of the original owners visited and brought generations’ worth of historical photos. Kate and Cam were able to scan these images and have started looking towards the Marina’s celebratory centennial birthday bash. But first, the long days of summer beckon.
Most information is available on their website but for specifics about bands, breweries, and brunch specials, visit them on Facebook or Instagram. Amenities open at 10 a.m. during the summer high season and run well into the balmy evening. Head to Boston Harbor Marina where you’ll find it all, no matter the budget, taste, experience level, or activity. And make sure to save room for a cheeseburger.