Whether its a warm day in summer and you need to cool off, or a cool day and you want to explore the tide pools and watch the moody water, head to one of Pierce County’s fantastic local beaches.
Pack up a picnic and head to Owen Beach in Tacoma. Close to Point Ruston and just past the Point Defiance Zoo on Five Mile Drive, Owen Beach offers everything from panoramic views of the Puget Sound to kayak rentals during the day. Bring a lunch from home or grab a snack at the concession stand from 12:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. during the summer season. Enjoy the waterfront park while taking in the views of passing ferry boats and beautiful Vashon Island. Owen Beach is perfect for strolling at low tide, admiring the sea life all around you, and if you’re lucky enough, you might just even catch a glimpse of a number of different whale species that travel through our waters. Some people do wade into the water, but it’s cold!
Across town in Steilacoom, catch some rays at Sunnyside Beach. Savor these beautiful summer days by relaxing in the sand along the shoreline or catch a spectacular sunset featuring outstanding views of the Puget Sound as well as Tacoma Narrows Bridge and Olympic Mountain Range in the distance. Bring your appetite and kick back at Sunnyside Beach’s onsite barbeques and picnic area, and be sure to bring you’re A-game to play on the park’s sand volleyball courts that overlook the beach. Sunnyside offers something for everyone from beachcombers to nature lovers, and even local underwater scuba divers who come to practice their skills in the easy-going current. While there is a $5 parking fee, Sunnyside Beach is a perfect spot for a sunny summer afternoon.
Kopachuck State Park
Just 30 minutes from Tacoma awaits Kopachuck State Park. Enjoy this forest-lined beach and expect to hear the chatter of soaring bald eagles and other marine birds, discover sea life of all varieties, and see if you can spot the occasional Dall’s porpoise swimming past. Kopachuck State Park features two miles of serenely wooded hiking trails and offers plenty of room for a picnic with 50 tables available to use. Bring your little ones to explore the tide pools or launch your kayak and voyage a half-mile to Cutts Island. When the sun is out, Kopachuck’s warm beach is perfect for wading in the water or building a supreme sandcastle.
Minutes down the sound, find yourself relaxing on the sandy shores of the DeMolay Sandspit Nature Preserve on Fox Island. The DeMolay Sandspit is the perfect place to take a dip on a hot summer day. On days when the tide is low, be sure to grab your beach chair, dig your toes into the warm sand, and kick back while soaking in the views of the surrounding Pacific Northwest beauty. Take a stroll around the spit or explore with paddleboards and kayaks. You might just find an illusive “clay baby” rock or eagle feather while beachcombing for seashells and other special treasures.
Penrose Point State Park
For a great local summer getaway, make your way to Penrose Point State Park on the Key Peninsula. Whether you’re just going for the afternoon or plan to camp for the whole weekend, this park features peaceful forests, beaches with an abundance of wildlife, and breathtaking views of the Carr Inlet and Mount Rainier. You can enjoy activities that range from hiking, biking, bird watching, swimming and so much more in the 237 acres of this state park. Spot the spectacular starfish and other sea life that inhabits Penrose Point’s tidal pools, or build the perfect campfire to warm up next to after a day of wading in the waters.
But wait just a minute! Before you hit the beach, there are a few things to remember. Sunscreen? Check. Drinking water? Check. Discover Pass… Check? Certain beaches, especially state parks, require visitors to have a valid Discover Pass. These can be purchased online or visit the Discover Pass website to find a physical location near you where you can buy one. Purchase a pass that’s good for the day for only $10 or get the annual pass for $30 that is valid for an entire year.
Whether you’re building sandcastles, taking a dip or just taking in the view, enjoy those hot summer days ahead. Happiness is a day at the beach.