Lakes to Take the Kids for a Swim Around Pierce County, Tacoma, South King County, and the greater South Sound
If you’re looking for a good swimming lake, or wondering if your favorite lake is open this year, here’s your list!
Disclaimer alert: In every case I have included my original description of the lake with a Covid update below it. These updates were taken straight from the sites in question. Because things change fast, I do also suggest you check with the park or city in question before you go if you would be heading from a great distance.
In most cases, the big change is NO lifeguards, so please use extra, super-duper caution with your kids.
This round up comes from Sounds Fun Mom Facebook readers who responded to my request for their favorite South Sound lakes for swimming. If I missed a great one you know, leave a comment!
A Couple Boring But Important Cautions
Please do remember that even if a lake has lifeguards (and most/all DO NOT this year), it is important to be vigilant when your children are around water. In June (and even July) the cold temperature can also cause problems.
As of this writing a few lakes are also closed to swimming due to water quality conditions.
On to the good stuff….
Lakes for Swimming
Playground, swimming, spray park. Lifeguard hours posted at the park.
Covid update: I have not yet been able to reach anyone at the City of SeaTac. My strong suspicion is that there will be no lifeguards or spray park this year. If anyone knows for sure, let me know!
Swimming beach on Lake Washington, walking trails, playground, and other fun.
Covid update: The swim beach is open EXCEPT on July 4thg, but there are no lifeguards on duty. On the 4th of July the South area lawn, swim beach, and all amenities will be closed. Boat launch and areas north will be open. No fireworks. Reduced hours.
Park amenities such as playgrounds and picnic shelters remain closed.
Covid update: Parks are open and playgrounds reopened June 24th. I strongly suspect there are no lifeguards or concessions this year, but I haven’t confirmed that yet. If you know for sure, let me know.
This big, fun park has a swimming beach, fishing, picnic areas, playground. You can a full review of the awesome park and grounds at Lake Meridian here.
It’s an older one, but still has some good scoop. Let us know if you’d like to update it!
Here is their Covid update. I have confirmed with the city that there will NOT be lifeguards here this year.
On May 5, the boat launch and dock at Lake Meridian Park, as well as the boat launch at Lake Fenwick Park, reopened for recreational fishing use. Now fully in Phase 2, more elements of Kent parks and outdoor recreation re-open today including playgrounds and restrooms. Note that playgrounds are NOT sanitized.
Beach, play structure, concessions . Lifeguards select days and hours. We have a review and pics of the playground here.
Note from SFM: I haven’t confirmed openings here yet. I strongly suspect there will be no lifeguards.
A King County Parks property that offers a sandy beach area, swimming, and a recently updated playground! I believe there are also some trails here. Want to write a review? Send me an email! We’ll pay you!
Covid update: It looks like this should all be open, but maybe not the restroom. Here’s the King County Parks site.
At the South End of Lake Tapps playground, swimming areas, paddle board and kayak rental available.
Here is their Covid update. I’m not sure on the boat rentals, as I don’t see that mentioned.
As Pierce County enters Phase 2, the city managed parks, playground equipment, sports courts, skate court, and trails (with the exception of Victor Falls Trail) are now open. Restrooms remain closed until further notice. All users should continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
In conjunction with Pierce County’s North Lake Tapps Park, the Allan Yorke Park boat launch will close on July 4th at 7:00 p.m.
This is a Pierce County Parks property sandy swimming area, concessions, picnic areas This is a hugely popular area with both swimmers and boaters. Go early to find a place to park (there is a parking fee).
May 25 – Open with Limited Access
After several months of construction, North Lake Tapps Park reopened to the public with limited access on Saturday, May 23. Before heading up to the park it is important to know what is available to you and your family. The boat launch and trailer parking are open for public use. Launch parking is $15.00 and we are asking boaters to limit their stay to 4 hours to allow others to use the launch and enjoy the lake.
Restrooms throughout the park will be open and available for use. The west and central peninsulas are both closed for public use through the month of June and parking at the north and east adjacent to these areas are also closed. Pierce County Parks expects to open the remaining park peninsulas by early July. Vehicle parking is $7.00 and $3.50 for seniors, however due to the limited space available, we are asking visitors to limit their stay to 2 hours.
Adjusted park hours are from Monday though Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and the boat launch will be open 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
North Lake Tapps Park will be open on July 4th from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with limited site access available. There will be no park access after closing for viewing fireworks this year. All park patrons and boaters must leave the park by 7:00 p.m.
This is a state park, so you’ll need a Discover pass. Readers like the calm swimming area, the trail around the lake, the playground, and the clean restrooms. Sounds like a winner to me!
Covid Update: The park is open; the playground is still closed.
Private campground with day passes available. Reader Kim likes that this private, Christian camp doesn’t allow alcohol or profanity and says that the atmosphere seems less rowdy as a result. There are some fees here. Group rentals are also available for overnight retreats and such.
On Tuesday May 5th Camp Lakeview will be open for Day-Use, Picnicking, Trail Hiking, Boating, and Fishing. Park entrance fee is $5 per person, 8 years and older. Please stop in at the office before entering the park. We will NOT be opening up the Campground or Swimming Dock at this time. The park will be open from dawn to dusk each day. Guests to the park will be responsible for their own hand sanitizing and practicing social distancing. Guests will also be responsible for their own gloves and masks, as well. We do not carry these items in our general store. We look forward to seeing you all!!
As of today, the General Public is welcome to
Dock Fish, Launch a Boat, Hike Trails, & Picnic in the Park Sunday – Thursday.
On Friday & Saturday
There will be NO General Public allowed to Dock Fish. We have found these specific days to be our busiest for dock fishing. The fishing dock is just too small for the amount of people wanting to fish off of it all at the same time.
However, the General Public IS welcome on these two days to launch boats, hike trails, and picnic in the park.
A swimming beach (no lifeguards), play area, and boat rentals.
CAUTION: 5/15/20 – Toxic algae advisory at Spanaway Lake. Areas of the lake with algae are unsafe for people and pets. Please visit the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department website for more information about algae conditions.
Spanaway Park opened May 5, 2020 with use restrictions and guidelines. Park hours are from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily through September unless otherwise posted.
Note from SFM: Some readers have had concerns about dangerous litter here in the past. I have no idea how common that is.
Picnic area, a swimming beach, playground, year-round restroom and a public boat launch.
As of June 12th Lakewood playgrounds are open with a limit of 5 children or less per area. Large group gatherings are still prohibited. No lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk. Maintain social distancing of 6 feet. Bring your own soap and/or hand sanitizer and use often. Pack out all of your trash
Picnic areas, trails, nice swimming beach.
Long Lake Park has officially opened for the 2020 summer season however, due to a lack of certified staff; the lake will not have lifeguards on duty this year.
If you’re up for a bit of a ferry ride, Stephanie offers this suggestion. I have no way to confirm it’s current status, so if any island locals know, do let me know!
Reader Andria writes to look out for stumps outside of the swim area, and adds that there are nice trails and bbq spots. Note that if the day use parking is full, they will close the gate to day use. Go early on a hot day!
Individual campsites, and individual campsite reservations, are open at all four Tacoma Power Parks. Sites that have not been reserved in advance will be available to walk-in campers for one-night stays on a first-come, first-served basis.
All Tacoma Power boat launches, wildlife lands, the Peterman Hill Trail, and day-use areas are open. Restroom facilities are available at the boat launches and day-use areas. Shoreline and boat camping is open in Lewis County, including at the Blue Creek boat launch. A Discover Pass is not required on Tacoma Power property, parks, or lands.
Visitors are asked to follow all public safety recommendations., including mask use as required. You are also encouraged to bring your own hand sanitizer.
Mari likes this one! Swimming, fishing, boat rentals, trails for hiking and biking. This is a state park, so you will need a Discover Pass.
I’m unsure about boat rentals. Park is open with day use with the following restrictions:
- Parks with camping open at half capacity are denoted by (50% capacity).
- Our call center is contacting campers whose reservations are needing to be changed or canceled.
- Open marine parks on uninhabited islands in San Juan County include transient use of moorage and bouys.
- Other restrictions may be in effect at individual parks.
- Playgrounds at all parks are closed until further notice to prevent the spread of COVID 19.
Rivers and Streams
You can swim or float in the river behind Veterans Park/the fire station in South Prairie Reader suggestion-We haven’t tried this.
In the forest behind the climbing wall at Sprinker Rec Center; there is just enough water for wading and splashing. This is another spot readers have mixed feelings about in terms of safety/cleanliness.
Read our full review about water play at Mashell River.
More crick than creek, this shaded park in Puyallup has a little creek just right for toddler wading and splashing. They will get muddy.
Shade, a stream….it’s a secret treasure worth finding! Note that only ONE of the water sources here gets low enough to be safe, and use caution around all rivers and streams, especially in the spring when they run very cold and fast due to snow melt.
For more swimming options, you can check my list of great beach outings, or my list of area beaches with sand! Both are full of options, mostly on chilly Puget Sound, but it may get hot enough for it eventually!