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!
I have checked all the links on this post, but I have not otherwise confirmed details. I believe everything is open with patrons asked to use precautions. Almost nowhere has lifeguards this year. Please use extra caution with your children. Cold water also poses particular risks this time of year.
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!
Lakes for Swimming
Playground, swimming, spray park. Lifeguard hours posted at the park.
I have not yet confirmed that the spray park is on or gotten information about lifeguards. Many area spots have NO lifeguards this year, so I would not assume anything! If you know, let me know!
Swimming beach on Lake Washington, walking trails, playground, and other fun.
Open with patrons required to follow Phase 3 protocols.
Swim beach with boat rentals and a concession stand, and a seasonal, summer swimming area. Be sure to check water quality reports. Information on the site looks current, but I have not confirmed it.
This big, fun park has a swimming beach, fishing, picnic areas, playground. You can read 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!
PLEASE BE ADVISED: There will be no guarded beach season in 2021. No lifeguards will be on duty.
Beach, play structure We have a review and pics of the playground here.
There are no lifeguards on duty
There is a small boat launch at the park. Motorized watercrafts are not allowed on the lake. Canoes, row boats and paddle boats are allowed. Fishing is permitted from the last Saturday in April through October 31
A King County Parks property that offers a sandy beach area, swimming (no lifeguards that I know of), 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! Here’s the King County Parks site.
It does look like you’ll find an open restroom. Follow Phase 3 guidelines.
At the South End of Lake Tapps playground, swimming areas, paddle board and kayak rental available.
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).
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!
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.
From their site:
Current PHASE – May into June
Camp Lakeview is open for Day-Use, Picnicking, Trail Hiking, Boating, Basketball, Volleyball, Horseshoes, Swimming, BBQ’ing, Self-contained RV Camping, Tents (beginning Memorial Day Weekend) and Fishing. Park entrance fee is $5.00 per person, 8 years and older. Please stop in at the office before entering the park; park begins as soon as you’ve gone past the gate.
A swimming beach (no lifeguards), play area, and boat rentals.
Note from SFM: Some readers have had concerns about dangerous litter here in the past. I have no idea how common that is. There have also been issues with algae bloom some year. As ever, you are in charge of deciding what sounds fun for your family!
Picnic area, a swimming beach, playground, year-round restroom and a public boat launch.
Picnic areas, trails, nice swimming beach.
Long Lake Park is open; however, due to a lack of certified staff, the lake will not have lifeguards on duty. Many Washington cities with swim beaches face similar challenges.
Open again, but due to crowding there are some new rules. See below for those!
If you’re up for a bit of a ferry ride, Stephanie offers this suggestion.
Located on Guthrie Road, Lowell Johnson Park (A.K.A. “The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole”) is one of Anderson Island’s busiest public parks.
This is a seasonal park, open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. It has two separate, cordoned off swimming areas on Florence Lake. One is for the “Big Kids”. It has a floating dock and a separate floating platform with a tower to jump from. The other one is for the “Little Un’s”. It has a floating “V” dock and a slide. There are also sandy beaches, a sand volleyball court, and picnic areas. No lifeguard is on duty.
New restrictions will be implemented for the 2021 season: Car entrance will be limited to the 15-car parking available inside the park perimeter. Once the lot is full, arriving cars will be turned away until spaces become available.
The island’s other lakeside parks are privately owned by the Riviera Community Club, so when the Swimming Hole is at capacity, there is no access for individuals not granted access by that HOA.
For now, bike and walk-ins are not restricted, but that is subject to change as we monitor overcrowding.
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!
A $10 parking fee is charged on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
When day-use parking is full, additional visitors will be turned away until parking spaces become available.
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.
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. It’s an old article, but most of the scoop should still work.
More crick than creek, this shaded park in Puyallup has a little creek just right for toddler wading and splashing. They will get muddy. There is a new story walk here that is also lots of fun. Easy to spread out since it’s many acres, but the area near the creek will get popular on a hot day.
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. I haven’t updated either list for 2021 yet, but again, most of the info. should work. Use extreme caution with cold water and assume that no beach will have lifeguards this year.