- Features: Saltwater beach access and view points of Colvos Passage and Vashon Island
- Park Rules The park is accessible from 6 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily Parking is restricted to designated areas only. Vehicles blocking the entrance to the park or parked on road shoulders will be ticketed and towed at the owners’ expense.
There is a private country park in the south part of Kitsap County known as Anderson Point Park. It provides a 66 acre county park with access to an expansive beach looking out on the Colvos Passage that separates Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula. The access to the park is rather unassuming but offers a peaceful retreat from the local community.
The entrance to the park looks like you are entering a gated community. Once inside the gate you will notice several private residences as you continue east on Millihanna Road. The actual entrance to the park is farther in and you will notice the entry sign that will lead you to the parking area.
Once you have parked follow the road farther down hill past the locked gate descending .6 of a mile down to the beach area. You will have to follow several switch backs on the closed park road before you make it to the beach. The hike downhill is easy and you will enjoy the views down into the valley filled with firs, aspens and many ferns along the way.
Once on the beach you will enjoy a great place to walk, explore and just enjoy the great view of Colvos Passage and Vashon Island. There are many gravel beds to hunt for great rocks. I didn't find any agates or sea shells but the rocks were great with many varieties of quartz, basalt and granite. I did find a few pieces of sea glass but they were so new that they illustrated very little rounding, smoothing or frosting. I simply left them on the beach for more tumbling. The wave action at this beach is minimal and would provide less tumbling if sea glass was present. The tide was going out at the time of my visit and exposed a wide sandy beach further south to explore if time allowed. This is a great beach for local families simply looking for a place to run with the dog and children. Have a great time!
For beach combers looking for agates or sea glass you will be disappointed. The rock beds are good, however, and you will enjoy the peaceful walk south along the shore. It's a great spot to relax, explore and enjoy the outdoors.
Harper Beach is a very accessible beach in South Kitsap County and also filled with a rich history that makes a day of beach combing very interesting. In order to appreciate the experience of exploring Harper Beach a little history lesson might be helpful. The following information may aid the beach combers understanding of Harper's rich history. https://yukonharbor.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-brick-people/
The Brick Era, 1900-1932.
"The construction of the Harper Brick Factory in 1900 dramatically changed the local sights, sounds, and smells, adding smokestacks and whistles as well as a different type of vehicle traffic. The innovative tug, ATLAS, became a familiar sight, hauling mostly bricks to and from Seattle but also serving the Colby Lumber Company."
"The story that has been passed down through the generations is that a visitor, E.A. Smith, discovered the requisite brick clay on a nearby hill in 1899. Smith apparently knew a thing about brickmaking, because he immediately declared that “it is a good quality material” and told his host, Louis Garnett about it. Garnett passed word of the abundant natural resource to investors in Seattle, and an enterprise was begun.
Established by Frederick Crane Harper and partners, the brick factory was located to the west of the creek estuary that lies between Harper and Southworth, where a small baseball field and park are today. At the height of production, 50-60 men worked at the plant, producing more than a million bricks annually. The facility was large and complex, and a model of brick making technology for that era. The facility included kilns, warehouses, a bunkhouse, cookhouse, and a small rail tram. A dock and specialized barges were constructed, too. As motor vehicles began to appear, a drawbridge was constructed across the mouth of the estuary to facilitate the movement of the ATLAS and her barges.
Allen “AK” Kuppler, whose family has visited and lived in the Harper area virtually all of his life, brought provided a wealth of information relating to the Port Orchard Brick and Tile Factory and drawbridge that once existed along the shoreline between South Colby and Southworth.
AK provided the enhanced view (below) of the current landscape around his house and the nearby estuary, including Harper Hill Road, Southworth Road, the Boat Ramp, and the surrounding neighborhood at the point. The main current road is along the bottom of the photograph, with dotted lines showing the location of the drawbridge. The Port Orchard Tile and Brick Factory was located in the lower righthand corner, where a baseball field is located today.
The second rendering (below) shows the region as it would have appeared about 1930, showing both the bridge and the roadway. Note the apparently active road along the beachfront, left, and the more extensive salt and freshwater marshes. Originally, AK reports, the only north-south route was across the drawbridge, as the road south from Colby was dedicated to the Brick Factory, lower right. A “hotel and boarding house” was also located along the present Southworth Road, at the bottom of this picture. Also, AK has noted the location of portions of a barge that has been found near the northern entrance to the drawbridge structure.
I dropped down on the narrow beach which was about to be at high tide and began to notice a great abundance of sea glass. The roadway along Southworth Drive is immediately adjacent to the beach and runs parallel for about .4 of a mile up to the new steel Harper dock. (finished in January, 2015)
As I made my way south toward the end of the beach I began to notice that the embankment underneath the roadway was filled with old bricks! It was as if the whole roadway was built up over a large pile of bricks. I didn't really understand the significance of this location until I had done my homework and learned the history of the area and of the brick factory. The "brick dump" labeled in the above drawing actually runs for another hundred feet south along the embankment. If you are looking for vintage bricks, you'll find them here!
The old brick dump actually extends out into the bay and was really exposed on this visit while the tide was out.
Sea Glass: Harper Beach is covered with an abundance of sea glass. It may be because of the close proximity of the road and drive-by littering but it truly is loaded with glass. The quality is not "Jewelry Grade A" (like many pieces on Glass Beach/ Port Townsend) but I was surprised to find a great deal of frosting on many of the fragments I examined on this beach. There is a great variety of shapes and colors with varying shades of greens, light aquas, ambers and whites.
After exploring the narrowing water's edge (tide was coming in) I began to see a pattern for finding some of the more frosted pieces. Along the southern portion of the beach there are areas of grass close to the water's edge that seemed to provide protection for the glass fragments. The grass plants were clinging to the pieces and almost camouflaging their placement. So, I began pulling back pieces of grass and uncovering hidden pieces that laid protected.
On a later visit to Harper Beach at low tide I noticed that farther up the beach there was a large rock bulkhead supporting the roadway above. At the base of this bulkhead the sea had accumulated many rocks, shells and sea glass! This was a very productive place to look for the higher quality sea glass. Follow the beach north to where the large rock bulkhead begins and follow it for it's entire 190 feet. After you have combed this southern section of Harper Beach, you still have another 1,500 feet of beach until you meet the Harper dock to the north.
Frosting- I also began to notice a pattern in the glass I was finding. The older glass fragments seemed to have a frosted tint quality. This process of frosting is the etching of the glass due to a chemical reaction of the higher Ph content of the seawater and chemical composition in the glass. (see the Sea Glass page for more information about "Frosting.") The tint was a yellowish coloration that seemed to typify the glass pieces that had been in the water longer. The glass pieces that were newer had sharper edges and a clearer opaqueness. As the glass aged in the sea water it seemed to take on this yellowing tint along with increased frosting on all sides of the fragment. This tinting also seemed to be a product of the algae in the inlet embedding into the etching or pitting on each fragment of glass. The picture below illustrates the difference between some older pieces (top) that were frosted white to older glass with a frosted surface and a yellowish/ to light green tint.
The hoard I picked up at Harper Beach was after only an hour of searching close to high tide! Imagine what treasures could be found at lower tides. The glass may not be Jewelry grade but it is beautiful and would work great for craft projects.
(See the Sea Glass page for information about how to classify and grade Sea Glass.)
During a later exploration of Harper Beach at low tide additional sea glass was found. Some had lettering and interesting shapes coming from vintage bottles or mason jars.
There were also many fragments of bottle and jar necks.
A small amount of vintage pottery was also found in various locations.
This second trip to Harper Beach at a lower tide exposed a great deal of sea glass and I probably brought back more than I should. Many of the pieces will make great craft grade additions to a project displaying them in front of a window.
Directions: Harper Beach is located immediately across the street from Harper Park. The following directions are for Harper Park.
3500 SE Southworth Drive, Port Orchard. From Highway 16, take Sedgwick Exit; follow signs to the Southworth Ferry; turn left onto Southworth Drive; drive approx. 2 miles; park entrance will be on the left.
There is a small beach located northwest of the Southworth ferry immediately off of Olympiad Dr. in the Port Orchard area. The access to the beach is limited but quite easy to navigate on foot from Olympiad Dr. The street runs just a few feet off of the beach for about 800 feet. There are wide spots to park at either end of the 800 foot section that parallels the beach. At high tide debris is blown up onto the road and across onto the front yards of local homes. At low tides the beach spreads to the west from the road access for an additional 1/3 of a mile.
Directions: 10771 SE Olympiad Dr., Port Orchard, WA- This is the home immediately across the street and will provide adequate GPS coordinates.
Beach treasures: There is fine gravel covering most of the beach. Although my initial focus on the beach was to explore the quality of "Sea Glass" which is quite abundant, I was surprised to find an agate within a few minutes! Sea shells were also in moderate amounts across the beac
Sea Glass: The sea glass found on Olympiad Dr. beach was moderately abundant and easy to accumulate. It seemed to be primarily Craft quality, quite large and thick. Enjoy the hunt. There is more glass on this beach to be found.
Southworth Ferry Dock Beach
Access: SE Sebring Dr., Port Orchard, WA
From Hwy 16 follow Sedgwick Rd. east toward the Southworth ferry dock. Enter Sebring immediate north or adjacent to the loading and unloading lanes for the Southworth ferry. There is limited parking along Sebring on the south side of the road before it drops down toward the end of the street. There is no parking further down the road closer to the beach. No parking is allowed on the left side or north side of the road, which borders several private residences. Depending on the tide there is limited beach to the left and right. The beach to the right flows under the Southworth ferry dock and beyond.
Intermixed rock beds with sand may be found on both sides of the elevated ferry dock.
Rocks- granite, basalt, quartz and jasper may be found. Agates are available but difficult to locate.
Glass- Much glass is available with minimal quality of frosting due to the limited wave action in this portion of the Puget Sound. Some moderate quality sea glass may be found depending on the amount of surf action it has experienced. Larger pieces will be found but show less frosting.
Shells- limited shells at various stages of brokenness.
Beach Field Reports
OP= Olympic Peninsula
PS= Puget Sound
SW= SW Washington
- Rialto Beach
(LaPush, WA - OP)
- Murdock Beach
(Joyce, WA - OP)
- Old Dump Beach
(Port Angeles, WA - OP)
- Ediz Hook Beach
(Port Angeles, WA - OP)
- Glass Beach
(Port Townsend, WA - OP)
- North Beach
(Port Townsend, WA - OP)
- Harper Beach
(Port Orchard, WA - PS)
- Olympiad Dr. Beach
(Port Orchard, WA - PS)
- Southworth Beach
(Port Orchard, WA - PS)
- Anderson Pt. Beach
(Olalla, WA - PS)
- Damon Point Beach
(Ocean Shores, WA - SW)
Videos By Tim Blair
- Beach Combing
- Agate Hunting
- Sea Glass Hunting
- Hike to Glass Beach
- Sea Glass Types
- Murdock Beach
agates and fossils
- Rialto Beach agates