Manchester State Park
Set on the shore of Rich Passage, Manchester State Park makes the perfect getaway for day-trippers or Puget Sound campers on a Kitsap Peninsula road trip.
Military and maritime buffs will find intrigue at Manchester. The park is known for the large brick structure that was once a torpedo warehouse and an adjacent concrete casemate, which once hired firing triggers and cables to the underwater torpedoes. The term "torpedo" was used to describe underwater mines in the early 20th century, when the fort was built to protect the shipyards at Bremerton. Middle Point, as the fort was called, stocked an underwater mine field during World War II.
These days, the former torpedo warehouse, with its stone fireplace, weathered beamed ceiling and windowless arches, has become a coveted wedding venue, reunion site and picnic spot against a forested backdrop of maple and Douglas-fir.
Located near Port Orchard, Manchester includes 2 miles of hiking trails, but the park's main attraction is its 3,400 feet of saltwater shoreline. Kayaking, swimming and diving (bring your own gear) allow visitors to take full advantage of this classic beach park with a view of Bainbridge Island on a clear day.
Manchester State Park is a 128-acre camping park with stunning views and an interesting military history. A volleyball court and a horseshoe pit are maintained for park visitors.
Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
Use our interactive ADA recreation map (PDF) to search for other state parks with ADA amenities and facilities.
Picnic & day-use facilities
The old brick torpedo warehouse is a large reservable picnic shelter and there are two small reservable picnic shelters available at the park. Thirty-six unsheltered picnic tables are available first come, first served. Most of the picnic sites have braziers.
- 1.9 miles of hiking trails
Water activities & features
- Fishing (saltwater)
Other activities & features
- Bird watching
- Horseshoe pit
- Mountain biking
- Volleyball field
- Wildlife viewing
- A volleyball net doubles as a badminton net.
- Horseshoe players must supply their own horseshoes.
- The beach is closed for shellfish harvesting.
- A recreational license is required for fishing at Washington state parks. For regulations, fishing season information, or to purchase a recreational license, visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
- Printable park brochure (PDF).
Square Lake Approximately 13 miles from Manchester State Park is Square Lake. It is a day-use area maintained by staff at Manchester State Park. It consists of 237 acres with access to Square Lake. This lake is suitable for small car top boats or small trailered boats that are human powered of use electric trolling motor. No overnight camping. There is no garbage pickup, so please pack-it-in, pack-it-out. Additional features for Square Lake includes:
- Picnic tables & BBQ grills
- Hiking trail
- Vault toilet
- No water
- Unimproved gravel boat launch
- Discover Pass required
Kayaks or small watercraft may be carried to the beach area for launching.
The park has 35 standard campsites, 15 partial-hookup sites, and two restrooms and showers. Maximum site length is 60 feet (limited availability). One dump station is located near the entrance. Reservations can be made 9 months in advance of selected date, May 15 - Sept 15. Campsites are available first come, first served between Sept. 16 - May 14. There are three hiker / biker campsites available only to hikers and bikers and two sites available to those arriving by wind- and human-powered watercraft. All available only on a first-come, first-served basis. These sites include a picnic table. Braziers are not provided.
Check-in time is 2:30 p.m.
Check-out time is 1 p.m.
One group camp is available which will accommodate 20 to 130 people. It includes a large fire circle, 12 RV hookups, plus a covered shelter with eight picnic tables, and electricity. Several unsheltered picnic tables and braziers are also in the camp. There are two unisex restrooms and showers (ADA accessible). Fees vary with size of the group. For further details, call the park at (360) 871-4065.
Reservations & fees
Manchester State Park has its origins as a fort established by the Coast Artillery Corps in the early 1900s. The fort, called Middle Point, was intended to help defend the Puget Sound from incoming enemy watercraft. In conjunction with Fort Ward (across the water on Bainbridge Island), Middle Point's primary mission was to protect the Bremerton shipyard by operating a minefield set in Rich Passage. The fort was developed in a hurry but was shut down soon after in 1910 when leadership decided that the defenses at Fort Ward were adequate.
Several structures remain from the park's era as a costal defense fort. A large brick torpedo storehouse is the central feature of the park's day-use area. Despite its ornate design, the structure served a utilitarian function: holding underwater mines (during that time, the word "torpedo" was a term for underwater mines). The storehouse was later used as an officer's club, barracks and mess hall, and is now used as a picnic shelter. The small concrete building to the east of the storehouse was a mining casemate that held controls for the underwater mines, which were operated remotely.
Battery Mitchell lies along the park's shoreline. The concrete structure was completed but never fitted with the pair of rapid-fire three-inch guns it was built for. As was the practice at the time, the battery was given the name of an army officer who had given honorable service, in this case Lieutenant Robert B. Mitchell. Mitchell served with the Artillery Corps in the Philippine-American War and died in 1904.
During World War Two, the property was converted to a Navy fuel supply depot and fire-fighting station. The property was declared surplus by the federal government in the 1960s and was acquired by Washington for use as a state park in 1970. The park is named for the nearby town of Manchester.