I’m always excited when the public gets access to more of the places that make this area special.
The Dick Gilmur Memorial Shoreline Public Access and Kayak Launch (say that ten times fast) is a brand new public access area on the east side of Commencement Bay (just off Marine Drive/509 -that road that runs between Fife/Tacoma and Browns Point/ Federal Way).
It’s primarily a put-in spot for kayakers. As you can see, there is a broad, wheelchair accessible path, and it would be a fun place to paddle and check out the marine life as well as all the activity at the Port of Tacoma.
Landlubbers are also welcome to stop and explore. Now, is this my new favorite beach? ‘Um……no. The rocks are kind of dirty boulder style, the beach area is on the small side, and there are two flocks of geese (I really hate geese). At present, there also aren’t any facilities. Yes, a little old lady in a neighboring house came out to water plants just in time to see Henry peeing behind a piece of driftwood. Oops.
But, it is a beach just 8 minutes from downtown Fife, and the view is interesting-skyline across the water; cranes to the left; barges full of smashed up cars! If you’ve got a kiddo who loves looking at machines and throwing rocks in the water, this little stop might be just your ticket. I’ll also add that my boys didn’t share any of my reservations. As far as they’re concerned, any beach will do, and they had a fine time looking for crabs, getting wet even though I’d asked them not to (silly, I know), and generally mucking about.
There are four parallel parking spots and an interpretative sign. Do be aware that Marine Drive is a two lane road that seems to bring out drivers’ inner Mario Andretti.