Gig Harbor is a stunning place to live - there’s no doubt about that. However, if you’re looking to relocate and have a family (or plan to in the future), you’re probably asking yourself if it’s also a good place to raise kids. As both a local realtor and someone who has raised two kids here, I know that’s an easy answer.
It’s more than a good place to raise kids. Gig Harbor is an excellent place to have a family! Not only is the area itself beautiful, but it’s also safe and filled with activities for kids and adults of all ages. I’ll touch on some of the most important highlights and best features below, but rest assured that this is an area packed with things to enjoy.
Low Crime Rates
Safety is a primary concern for most people, but that’s especially true if you have children. The last thing you want to worry about is whether they’ll be okay playing in the yard or walking down the street. There’s definite peace of mind that comes along with knowing you can enjoy your time out as a family. You’ll find that in Gig Harbor.
According to FBI statistics, Gig Harbor has less than 1% of the violent crime rate in Seattle. The numbers are similar across all major crime categories. Even compared to other areas with similar populations, Gig Harbor is at least as safe, if not safer, than towns of comparable size. Rest easy at night knowing your family has a secure place to call home.
Certain areas of the country, and even Washington, have high rates of homelessness and unsheltered people. Pierce County came together to address the issue head-on and ensure that anyone experiencing homelessness in the county would have access to the necessary resources. As a result, there’s little homelessness in Gig Harbor and the goal is to get that down to zero.
If you’re considering a move to the area, make the transition knowing that you’ll be living somewhere that extends a hand to those in need. That’s a great look for Gig Harbor on every level, and it’s an important lesson for kids, too.
Great School Districts
Along with safety concerns, school tends to be a primary concern for most parents and would-be parents. After all, excellent schools are an important steppingstone toward a bright future. It’s more than understandable to want the best for your kids. Fortunately, Gig Harbor holds its own with a well-ranked school district.
The Peninsula School District, which serves Gig Harbor, is in the top 5%of all Washington school districts. It consists of 17 total schools and both reading and math scores that handily surpass the state average. Kids can go from Pre-K to their high school graduation within the district, meaning they receive a quality education at any age.
Commendable schools and safe streets are excellent, but neither will go far toward keeping kids entertained. Whether you have kids that love being outside or just want to know that there’s somewhere to go for the occasional family outing, there’s plenty to do outdoors in Gig Harbor. Nobody has to stay cooped up inside unless they want to.
I’d recommend trying out some of my favorite ideas to keep everyone moving, soaking up some sun, and having a good time.
- Kayaking or Paddle Boarding - There are several local businesses offering kayak and paddleboard rentals. Gig Harbor’s coastline is the perfect place to enjoy both. It’s the perfect outdoor outing as a family, which can be as calm or exciting as you see fit.
- Point Defiance Park - It only takes a short trip up to Tacoma to reach the stunning Point Defiance Park where you’ll find acre after acre of beautiful scenery and activities for everyone. Take a stroll, release kids onto the playground, visit the gardens, and so much more. Point Defiance Park is a must-see, and you’ll need to go back more than once to enjoy everything!
- Crescent Creek Park - If you’re looking for something closer to home and a true “Gig Harbor” experience, Crescent Creek Park is it! It was Gig Harbor’s first park and is beloved by locals. You’ll find picnic areas, playground equipment, basketball and tennis courts, and more.
- Cushman Trail - Cushman Trail offers a “cushy” walking experience. It offers six miles of paved trail, complete with restrooms, seating, and plenty of room. There are bike and pedestrian trails, so your family can enjoy it whichever way you like best.
Not everything is a family effort. Extracurricular activities let kids interact with peers, learn sportsmanship, make new friends, and settle into the city in their own way. There are plenty of opportunities for all of that in Gig Harbor, including (but certainly not limited to) these suggestions.
- Rowing - The Gig Harbor Canoe and Kayak Racing Team offers summer camp activities for kids 10 to 13, and there are many other youth boating sports in the area (like sailing) that keep children busy, active, and enjoying the water.
- Soccer - Harbor Soccer Club and Skyhawks Sports Academy both offer soccer activities and camps in the area for kids as young as four years old.
- Little League - If you have an eager baseball or softball player, the Gig Harbor Little League accepts players from ages six all the way to 16.
- YMCA Summer Sports Camp - The YMCA is an excellent resource for kids, and its summer camp doesn’t disappoint.
Plenty of Events
There’s never a shortage of events going on. Regardless of the season or time of year, I’m always amazed that there’s something to do. New events pop up all the time, but there are some classics you can count on annually. Pick and choose your favorites or really get out there and do a little bit of everything.
- Farmer’s Market - Gig Harbor’s Waterfront Farmers Market is your one-stop shop for local produce, products, and socialization. It runs from the beginning of June to mid-September, usually, and opens every Thursday for a set number of hours. The vendor list is ever-evolving, but you can count on a lot of delicious food, thoughtful products, and an excellent time.
- Concerts - Do you love live music? Well, you’re in luck! Gig Harbor offers Summer Sounds at Skansie Park and other periodic concert series. Many of these events are free and situated right in the middle of the gorgeous Skansie Brothers Park downtown. There’s a mixture of music and a little something for everybody. Summer concerts are a Gig Harbor tradition, so you can count on great music and a ton of fun.
- Maritime Gig Parade - The Maritime Gig Parade marks another exciting tradition. It’s part of the bigger Maritime Gig Festival, which includes live performances, vendors, food, the parade, and more.
And this is just a sampling! Check out a more comprehensive list of events I put together here.
Gig Harbor is jam-packed with things to do as a family and ways for kids to enjoy themselves. The plethora of activities and fun is the cherry on top for a city with low crime and fantastic schools. If you’re looking for a place to raise kids and want to know if Gig Harbor is the right choice - take it from me, the answer is a resounding yes! It’s safe, and beautiful, and gives everyone in the family plenty of opportunity to learn, grow, and have the time of their lives.