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Two In Tow & On The Go: A walk up North Harborview Drive

Posted on July 28th, 2023 By:
This is a photo of wooden stairs overlooking a harbor

Finholm View Climb, 8826 North Harborview Drive at the bottom; and 8917 Franklin Ave. at the top.


Last week, I told you about how the kids and I walked up North Harborview Drive and found the love locks over Donkey Creek.

This week, I’m taking you a little bit further north where we checked off two more of Gig Harbor’s park sites from its city rec page: Bogue Viewing Platform and its nearby scenic friend the Finholm View Climb.

Each alternative park site offers family-friendly surprises (100 stairs! Secret beach access!), and, not surprisingly, some beautiful harbor scenes.



Bogue Viewing Platform

When trekking up North Harborview Drive from the Harbor History Museum, you’ll find Bogue Viewing Platform first, to your right, on the east side of the road.

This is a photo of a black and white newspaper clipping of a woman with sunglasses on

The News Tribune, April 26, 1979.

Named after two-term Mayor Ruth Bogue (1978-85), the platform’s wood-planked deck with a little table or two may not seem all that exciting as you zoom past in your car. But to a mom-and-kid explorer trio on foot, it’s super cool.

Gig Harbor classifies the platform at 8763 North Harborview Driveas a “waterfront mini-park.” These trendy urban pocket parks are features planners use to complement developed areas needing a reprieve from the hustle and bustle.From the city’s website, this mini-park has a viewing platform; seating and (little) tables; street parking; public stairs to small beach access.

Shoutout features:

The neat Rotary Club town square clock worthy of a London storybook

Public art sculpture celebrating local Scandinavian cultures

A snippet of shoreline that you don’t even have to sneak to!

Sadly, after I read “street parking” as a feature, I laughed and closed the city’s webpage. (In my defense, I was just there for the park address while simultaneously helping my kids find their shoes … which are somehow always missing.) Long story short, I didn’t see the last bullet point indicating the platform sported some … super awesome public “beach access” (!!!). So, we missed it entirely.

Goodbye, tiny Salish Sea creatures! Goodbye, refreshing harbor tides! Sorry, we missed you!


Location of the public access stairs leading down to a small public beach off Harborview Drive

You can tell by my pitiful display of #FOMO that I couldn’t let such a missed beach opportunity continue. So, you bet the surprise promise of secret beach stairs drew us out to Bogue Viewing Platform for a second time in one week. We’re wild and crazy like that.

Turns out, those sneaky stairs are totally inconspicuous if you’re not looking for them. They’re stashed on the south end of the platform, away from the wood, between a doggy poop bag dispenser and a giant shrub. This concrete corridor of steps 100% looks like it belongs to a maintenance crew or the neighboring building’s backyard deck. Fortunately, the stairs are none of those things. Instead, they’re super cute and European-looking and they lead to a slice of public shoreline.

The little beach has wildflowers, driftwood (chained down) to balance on, tiny crabbies, shells, and icy water to dip your toes in. 10/10 perfect little beach spot.


Finholm View Climb

Our next spot is a couple of blocks-ish north. (I’m not super scientific when estimating distance) at 8826 North Harborview Drive. The view climb is made of wood and has 100 stairs leading up the hillside, in a doable multiplatform design with landings and neat architecture. According to the city, it was named after Ed and Johnny Finholm, proprietors of Finholm’s market. Each step on the wooden planks sports a small rectangular plaque marker for donors who contributed to the project, which appears to have been headed by the Gig Harbor Lions Club and dedicated in July 1999.

Oscar and Anna Gustafson are Burton Gustafson’s grandparents.

My favorite part of this activity was spotting some family names from our WWII Monument story on the little donor plaques (hello, Burton Gustafson’s grandparents). In fact, all the local names were fun to browse as the kids and I huffed and puffed up, up, up from the Harborview shops and eateries toward 8917 Franklin Ave. at the top. In what the city says is (surprisingly) a half-mile-long excursion, Finholm View Climb provides a walkable option into the downtown.


This site’s bullet-point features include:

  • restrooms
  • street parking only (don’t worry, I kept reading this time)
  • 100 stairs
  • views of Mount Rainier
  • drinking fountain
  • seating
  • view landings/platforms

We appreciate the restroom and the public parking!

See ya out there!


Mom and two kids standing with water and boats in the background.

Tonya Strickland is a Gig Harbor mom-of-two, longtime journalist, and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. Her blog, Two in Tow & On the Go, was recently named among the 10 Seattle-Area Instagram Accounts to Follow by ParentMap magazine. Tonya and her husband Bowen recently moved to Gig Harbor from California with their two kids, Clara (9) and Wyatt (7). When they’re not adventuring, Tonya stays busy navigating how umbrellas are unacceptable life choices now, giant house spiders exist but only in September, and that salted parking lots are absolutely not weird at all. Find her on Instagram  and Facebook  for all the kid-friendly places in and around Gig Harbor.