Need a fun place to cool off with the kids today?
If a little natural air conditioning is in order, here is a list of great shady parks and playgrounds in and around Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor, Olympia, and beyond!
To the best of my knowledge the parks and trails on this list are open, unless otherwise noted. You will want to bring a mask in case you find yourself on a path where you aren’t able to socially distance.
Be sure to also check the comments for more ideas from our great readers!
Tehaleh Trails Bonney Lake Many shaded walking trails at this Bonney Lake area development. No, you don’t have to be a resident, and yes, they have a trail map!
Wildwood Park Puyallup A great choice on a hot day. It features a little crick for kids to splash in right next to the playground (trails and park open-playground still closed), and tall trees provide shade. Kids will get very dirty here. New story walk!
Frontier Park Graham There isn’t shade on the playground itself, but there is a good amount beyond it on the grass under tall trees. Great playground, too. County listing here. Pierce County Parks playgrounds are open with restrictions. Parks and trails are open for household walking and passive recreation.
Main City Park Orting We haven’t been here, but reader Laura wrote in to say that it has nice shade. Several other readers have recommended its newly improved play areas. As of this writing, the playground is open, with restrictions.
Wright Park Tacoma Some of the city’s oldest and most beautiful trees offer lots of shaded spots, plus there is a sprayground! Metro Tacoma parks and playgrounds are open, with restrictions. The spray grounds are off, likely for the summer.
Decoursey Park Puyallup Many shaded picnic areas, ponds that are fun for kids to check out. I have found the ducks/geese here to get aggressive. Don’t try to feed them or get too close. Note-this was improved on our last visit! Note-Puyallup parks and trails are open. Playgrounds are still closed as of this writing. Here’s a post on the updated playground for future planning.
Clarks Creek South Puyallup There are some wooded trails-try the one that goes to the fish hatchery, and a very small section across from the dog park where kids can dunk their feet in the muddy crick. There used to be a spot where you could actually sit on the bank and access the whole creek, but it has been planted and fenced off. Thanks to reader, Amy, for reminding me about this. I think this part is technically Clarks Creek North-they’re connected, but there are two different signs/parking areas. The one at Clarks Creek South is bigger and close to the playground. The Clarks Creek North entrance is by the tennis courts, and across from Decoursey.
WonderWood Park Lacey My son and I just discovered this one. It’s a bit hidden at the end of a residential neighborhood, but there is a lovely, paved path through forest and lots of shaded picnic spots and benches under mature trees. Tennis courts, ball fields, and a playground, too, though they’re in sun. This is a good one to discover if you’re a Lacey area reader.
Harry Fain Olympia Readers suggest this small, hidden park for shaded play
Narrows Beach Gig Harbor Lots of wooded trails, and bonus-there is a beach at the bottom of them!
Mud Mountain Dam closed as of this writing
I’m sure I’ve missed lots of great ones, so do feel free to share your favorites and read the comments for other reader suggestions. Or head here for our complete beat the heat guide.