Last updated 6/2021
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 of area spots from north to south with actual sand.
This is an updated version of a previous post with new reader recommendations.
Please use provided links to confirm details and, as always, we urge you to use extreme caution with your children during periods of heat and anytime they’re around water-almost no area spots have lifeguards this year due to a staffing shortage.
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 swimming area 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.
Steel Lake, Federal Way
This is a very popular park with a nice kids’ playground. There are plenty of picnic tables, and a swimming area with sand.
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. If you go to one area beach this summer, make it this one. Just go plenty early so you can find a spot to park!
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 (older) 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.
The lake has a swimming area with a small section of sandy beach. It is subject to water quality related closures (algae) so check before you go.
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!