Last updated 7/2020
Looking for beaches around the 253 where your kids can play in the sand? If you’ve had it with barnacles and want an actual beach experience, here is a list.
Here’s a round up of area parks from north to south and beaches where you can find actual sand! This is an updated version of a previous post with new reader recommendations.
Please use provided links to confirm details as there may be some Covid related hour changes or other restrictions. One important note: No lake or swimming area I’ve checked has lifeguards this season.
One note: You won’t find as much sand at lake front parks these days. Fish and other creatures need those native, grassy plants, which is why many parks have less sand than you might remember.
Lake Meridian, Kent
This picturesque park has a large swimming area (NO lifeguards for 2020) with sand and an additional gravel beach. There is also a spectacular playground and plenty of grassy knolls to set up for the day, play frisbee, or have a nap! Be sure to check out our Lake Meridian Playground Report..
Isaac Evans Park, Auburn
This is a riverfront park with access to a swimmable (well, splashable) area of Green River with a small area of sand. The water reminded me a bit of splashing in a mud puddle, but the boys enjoyed it. There are lovely, shaded picnic areas, walking trails, and a small, albeit fun, play structure.
Lake Tapps North, Sumner
This is another popular park with a sandy beach area. You’ll have to pay to park. Allan Yorke Park is on the south side of Lake Tapps and also has a swimming area and playground.
Redondo Beach, Des Moines
Unless the tide is up, you can find some sand on both sides of the fishing peer. The boardwalk is great, and when it opens be sure to check out the Highline MaST Aquarium, too. Note from SFM: I’m unsure of the status of the pier here. Let me know if you find out.
Steel Lake, Federal Way
This is a very popular park with a brand spanking newly renovated HUGE kids’ playground. There are plenty of picnic tables, and a swimming area with sand. No lifeguard as far as I know this year. I’m not sure on the playground status.
Dumas Bay Sanctuary, Federal Way
This gem is hidden away in a neighborhood and is super private. You may also get to watch skim borders. Downside: It’s more tide dependent. At high tide, the sand areas will be minimal. Also, a reader pointed out that Dumas Bay is a heron sanctuary, so dig is a no-no. If you just want the feel the sand between your toes, go for it! This beach is also featured in our list of Ten South Sound Nature Walks for Young Hikers.
Dash Point State Park, Federal Way
While this park requires a Discover Pass, it is a South Sound treasure! There is so much sand here, you can even bring your skim boards if you’re adventurous. The best part? The beach is far from the hustle and bustle of the city, so you really feel like you have gotten away from it all and can relax.
Dash Point Park, Brown’s Point
Wait? Two Dash Points? Yes! This one is a MetroParks Tacoma park just down the street from Dash Point State Park. It requires no Discover Pass! It also has a newly renovated playground, bathroom facilities and a beautiful view of the Sound.
Ruston Way, Tacoma
Most Tacoma area beaches are better for beach combing than sand play, unless the tide is out. The section of Ruston Way next to Jack Hyde park (where the sundial is) almost always has some sand. Read my full review of Jack Hyde Park.
American Lake, Lakewood
This park includes a boat launch, a swimming area with a small sand area, picnic tables, and a playground. This is a busy, popular park. No lifeguard this year.
The lake has a swimming area with a small section of sandy beach. Closed as of 7/2/2020 due to toxic algae.
Reader recommended hot spots:
- Facebook reader Cindy recommends Lake Wilderness Park in Maple Valley. Lake Wilderness Arboretum is an easy, kid friendly hike.
- Reader Suzanne recommends Des Moines Creek Beach
- Reader Deanna says that Priest Point Park or Burfoot Park in Olympia have sandy shores. We have a reader review with great pics of Burfoot Park here!
- Reader Melony says Tolmie State Park has plenty of sand and is a great place to go for a swim
- Reader Britt says there is lots to explore, including a sandy beach, at Fort Warden State Park in Port Townsend
- Several readers also listed the beautiful and sandy Sunnyside Beach in Steilacoom. We have pics and a review of Sunnyside Beach here.
If you’re willing to go a bit out of South Sound territory, you might consider Gene Coulon Beach in Renton. If you want to make a day trip to Seattle, you can’t beat Alki Beach.
The Washington coast is another option. It’s definitely not Hawaii, and you can’t swim here, but you’ll find plenty of sand at popular destinations like Long Beach and Ocean Shores.
If you have a favorite I should add, let me know!