Who needs California’s sandy beaches when you can explore Puget Sound’s rocky shores? While Alki and Golden Gardens are always a sure bet, if you’re looking for beaches that are a little less crowded and out of the way, we’ve got more than a few for you to consider. Head south to find some of the South Sound’s best beaches on the next sunny day. From secluded spots only locals know, to state parks you need to discover, we’ve got the lay of the land—make that sandy shores—south of the city. Read on to wade in.

Sunset at Owen Beach one of the best south sound beaches

photo: Tacoma Metro Parks

Owen Beach
Owen Beach has long been one of the South Sound’s best beaches, but it recently got a makeover, so it’s better than ever. Plan to visit this month to check out the beach’s new pavilion, climbable whale structure, improved beachfront walking trails and bike paths when you’re in the area. As for what hasn’t changed? Families can still watch the ferries cross from Tacoma to Vashon; hike miles of trails that lead to one beautiful water view after another; or catch sight of the elusive orcas that love to frequent this area. It’s easy to see why this new and improved beach is one of our favorites.

Insider tip: Plan to spend the day at this Tacoma-area fave. All you need is a stocked cooler, a sun tent and beach toys a-plenty to make the most of a sunny day at Owen Beach. And if your Little still has energy to burn after beachin’ it all morning long, stop in and say hi to the animals at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, just up the road. Day planned!

5605 N. Owen Beach Rd.
Tacoma, WA
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/place/owen-beach

A mom and son tidepool at one of the best south sound beaches

photo: Ingrid Barrentine

Titlow Beach

Beyond some of the best low tide beach walks around, families will love this South Sound beach that looks toward Gig Harbor and the Narrows Bridge. You’ll need to park the car and walk a bit to find the sandy and rocky shores, but once you do, set out your beach blanket and enjoy. Train lovers of all ages will enjoy watching the trains that pass nearby, and if you need a chance of pace, hiking trails wind along the shore here. One of its other perks is a nearby playground and splash pad, and some fantastic food with a view (Boathouse 19 is just down the road). Stay and play all day at this South Sound beach.

Insider tip: Add an extra adventure to your day when you Tiptoe Through the Tidepools at Titlow Beach with the Tacoma Nature Center.

8425 6th Ave.
Tacoma, WA
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/place/titlow-park-lodge

kids along the rocks at one of the south sound best beaches

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Saltwater State Park
The casual atmosphere at Saltwater State Park makes it a prime spot for lazy afternoon picnics with your crew. After you’ve had your fill, spend time climbing around on the playground and then hit this shore at low tide to spend some Q.T. with the abundance of wildlife that can be found here. Mini crabs, anemones and little fish dart around in the shallows, waiting for your Little to discover them. The hiking trails here are easy for the tot lot, and are a great spot to find shade when the sun is high in the sky. Plus, during the summer, you can catch the salmon running up McSorley Creek, which runs adjacent to the campground. Sounds like a picture perfect day!

25205 8th Place S.
Des Moines, Wa 98198
Online: parks.state.wa.us/578/Saltwater

skimboarding at one of the best south sound beaches dash point

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Dash Point State Park
The sandy beach at Dash Point State Park is a prime spot for little athletes to try out their skim boarding skills, or watch others give it a try! There’s plenty of space to ride the shallows without getting hung up on rocks or running into driftwood in your path here. But this beach is more than just a skim boarder heaven. The sandy shallows are where all the cool diapered babes splash and play in the South Sound. And the spectacular view has “beachside meal” written all over it. If you’re feeling super adventurous, pack your fishing gear and see what you can catch at high tide from the fishing pier. Then, grill your catch while you’re there to cap off a memorable summer day.

5700 S.W. Dash Point Road
Federal Way, Wa 98023
Online: parks.state.wa.us/496/Dash-Point

kids dig for clams at the best south sound beaches

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Penrose Point State Park
Bring your shovels and rakes to Penrose Point State Park on the Key Peninsula and dig for your dinner. It’s not quite as easy as picking up clams at Pike Street Market, but almost. All season long, clams and oysters are planted along the beachfront so families can enjoy the fruits of their labor come spring. There are plenty of BBQ’s and picnic tables to grill up your finds, or bring your own food to enjoy while taking in the view of the Kitsap Peninsula on the opposite side. Make sure you save enough energy to search for the secret lagoon with your mini-me (hint: you’ll find it on well-marked offshoot of the Penrose Point Trail). Then keep hiking to the trail’s end. When you arrive, don’t be surprised if you’re the only ones on the beach. It’s usually a quiet place to explore with your crew!

321 158th Ave. KPS
Lakebay, Wa 98349
Online: parks.state.wa.us/564/Penrose-Point

a kid digs in the sand at the best south sound beaches tolmie state park

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Tolmie State Park
Sandy and swimmable are two words that sum up the vibe at Tolmie State Park. Once you get parked and make your way down to the beach, you’ll see why. The protected cove-like area means plenty of sandbar goodness for little swimmers to use. And the clean shoreline is hard to beat if your kidlet loves to dig and build. Add in parent visibility and you’ve got a relaxed day at the beach that’s easy to manage. And if you need a sun break, Tolmie’s three miles of shaded trails should do the trick. But Tolmie’s coolest feature is one you probably won’t even get to see… an underwater artificial reef set up especially for scuba divers. That’s what we call something to look forward to!

7730 61st Ave. N.E.
Olympia, Wa 98506
Online: parks.state.wa.us/297/Tolmie

people gather at redondo beach on a sunny day

Redondo Beach
This popular Des Moines destination is the prefect half-day adventure for the tot lot. Hit it in the morning and they’ll be tuckered out just in time for their afternoon nap. Or head out post-nap for a late afternoon adventure that ends with dinner at Salty’s at Redondo Beach. Either way it’s a win! And the sandy beach is only half of it. Beyond the typical sundrenched shores that were made for digging and sandcastle building, there’s also a Marine Science and Technology Center at the north end of the beach. Schedule your beach trip around their limited summer hours (Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. & Thurs. 4 p.m.-7 p.m.) if you want to add some touch tank and educational talk time to your outing.

Redondo Beach Dr. S.
Des Moines, WA

best south sound beaches kids walking along shore

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Kopachuck State Park
There’s plenty to do and see at this small state park on Gig Harbor’s western side. A rocky shore is all you’ll find at high tide, but once the waters recede, it’s time to explore! Tide pools and stacks of purple sand dollars will keep your budding marine biologist busy for hours along the beach. And natural clay deposits along the forested border are an added bonus for kiddos who are keen to find new building material for their sandcastle creations. This is also one spot on the peninsula where swimming or floating around in the shallows will help to keep everyone cool on a hot summer day. And when you’ve had your fill, find more adventures in town, no matter what the weather’s got in store.

10712 56th St. N.W.
Gig Harbor, Wa 98335
Online: parks.state.wa.us/530/Kopachuck

Good to Know:
1. Don’t forget your Discover Pass, if one of the beaches you’re eyeing from our list is in a state park. Or take advantage of the free Discover Pass days.

2. If you plan to dig for clams or go fishing at any of these beaches, have your up-to-date license or permit at the ready.

3. Most of these beaches are best at low tide. Be sure to check the tide charts before you head out to make the most of your beach experience.

13 Sandy Beaches Where Kids Can Swim
Your Guide to Seattle’s Coolest Spray Parks, Wading Pools & Beaches
All the Great Splash Pads, Wading Pools & Beaches on the Eastside
Splish, Splash: The South Sound’s Best Splash Pads
Make a Splash at the City’s Coolest Indoor Pools

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