HANSVILLE — I have always been intrigued by the name Point No Point whenever I looked at a map of northern Kitsap County or wrote about how good the salmon fishing was off the point.
So when the family wanted to take a day trip earlier this summer, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to see what it was all about.
In retrospect, it makes for a perfect day trip from the South Sound.
Like any of our trips to that part of the state, we had to make Sluys Poulsbo Bakery our first stop. After downing our sugar-coated treats while the dog stretched his legs at Muriel Iverson Williams Waterfront Park, we headed to the northern tip of the Kitsap Peninsula.
There we found the county park that blends nature, history and plenty of opportunities to have fun.
First, about the name. American Indians living in the area had named the point Hahd-skus, meaning long nose.
During the U.S. Exploring Expedition in 1841, however, Charles Wilkes approached the spit, thinking it was a substantial point. After all, the expedition had already passed what we now call Ediz Hook and Dungeness Spit.
Once Wilkes realized it was much smaller than expected, he named the spit Point No Point.
For park visitors, the park might seem equally small when you arrive. It is a walk of maybe 20 yards from the parking lot to the beach.
But if you walk along the path past the keeper's quarters, the lighthouse and then step through the grass and over the beached logs, you realize just how much more beach there actually is -- it seemingly stretches for miles.
And when you say beach, this is no typical rocky Puget Sound beach. This is a sand-castle-building beach. It's beach made for waterside picnics on a blanket under a warm day's sun.
While we visited, people were flying kites, fishing for salmon, walking their dogs, hunting for shells and other marine treasures, watching boats and ships sail past and, yes, building sand castles.
"Every place you stand, you can look out over the water, it's phenomenal," said Jim Dunwiddie, director of the Kitsap County Parks Department.
"When I have visitors from outside the area, that's the first place I take them," he said. "It's just a very unique parcel to any parks and recreation agency. It's just a beautiful, calming site."
The point is a great fishing spot, especially when pink salmon make their way south through the Sound on odd-numbered years, said Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound salmon manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. The shallow waters of the point make it easy for anglers to wade out far enough to cast toward the passing schools of fish.
In addition to the beach, the lighthouse is the park's star attraction. The oldest lighthouse along Puget Sound, it has been in operation since its completion in 1879.
Listed in the Washington State Heritage Register and the National Register of Historical Places, the complex includes the lightkeepers' duplex that houses the U.S. Lighthouse Society's executive offices and a vacation rental.
Using multiple grants, the U.S. Lighthouse Society has renovated the lighthouse "to really make that site look like it did in the 1930s," Dunwiddie said.