Windermere Professional Partners

The Best Summer Destinations by City in Pierce County

June 30, 2023

When it comes to natural beauty and outdoor attractions to explore, we’re absolutely spoiled here in Pierce County! We’ve got beautiful parks, gorgeous lakes, stunning Puget Sound views, picturesque forests, well-maintained trails, opportunities for camping, and more all right in our backyard.

Here we’re sharing a few of our very favorite summer destinations in Pierce County. You’ll find destinations organized by city in alphabetical order, and a few of our real estate agents shared their local expertise and tips for visiting a few of these treasured local spots. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg of where you can go exploring in Pierce County—you can find even more in-depth local info on our neighborhood guides!

Bonney Lake/Lake Tapps: North Lake Tapps Park

North Lake Tapps Park includes 135 acres, and includes 10,000 feet of waterfront access. Enjoy a sandy swimming area, a boat ramp, restrooms, picnic tables, BBQ grills, paths, and more. You can also enjoy incredible views of Mt. Rainier to the south!

Buckley: Foothills Trail

The Foothills Trail is an extensive trail network that is mostly paved and perfect for cycling, jogging, skating, and horse riding (no motorized vehicles are allowed). This 21-mile trail guides you from Puyallup to Buckley. In the Buckley segment of the Foothills Trail, you can enjoy riding your bike straight through the heart of the town! It’s a great way to begin your Foothills adventure, but also great for getting around locally.

Carbonado: Foothills Trail - Fairfax Bridge to Carbonado

The Fairfax Bridge to Carbonado set of the Foothills Trail takes you across a steel-lattice three-hinged arch bridge that runs over the Carbon River. Incredible views, quintessential Pacific Northwest scenery, and a real sense of adventure await with this segment of the Foothills Trail!

DuPont - Sequalitchew Creek Trail Head

Sequalitchew Creek Trail is a great 3-mile out-and-back trail that is enjoyed by many types—runners, families, daters looking to share a sunset, and those that want to see a bit of history! I love bringing my family there with a packed lunch. We enjoy the warm summer sun and enjoy watching boats and animals go by. The trek is a gradual slope down going in, up going back to the car. We definitely feel like we accomplished something when we are done!” - REALTOR® Claire Fralish

Eatonville - Alder Lake Park

Alder Lake Park is the perfect local getaway, especially if you’re looking for some great camping! You’ll find over 100 campsites; a 9-acre day use park with a swim area, picnic amenities, and restrooms; and boat launches with the opportunity to go boating, swimming, fishing and more on the lake.

Edgewood - Interurban Trail

The Interurban Trail (South) runs from Fife up to Renton, and at this time not all of the segments are completely connected yet. There is a shorter 0.8-mile segment of the Interurban Trail in Edgewood, and this lovely pathway is surrounded by greenery and even has a parking lot on one end for your convenience.

Fife - Interurban South Trailhead

The Interurban Trail (South) begins in Fife, and here you can park your car alongside scenic farmland. This 2.5-mile segment of the trail guides you by fields and through forested areas, eventually taking you to South 380th Street for now.

Gig Harbor - Kopachuck State Park

“Pack your car up for Kopachuck in Gig Harbor! Perfect day trip for all ages… My (very active) 5- and 2-year-old start out with our tennie runners on and hit the forested cleared trails (no sunblock needed, it's that dense!). Kids LOVE this! Let their imagination run wild as you “find” your way on the maps, look for animals, and check out trees that are hundreds of years old. Work up a sweat then circle back to the car, swap tennies for sandals and then head down to the beach. Pack your picnic, buckets, and shovels (you can even launch paddle boards and kayaks from here, too). Watch for low tide times for ideal beach combing and tide pools. And if you can stay late enough, you can soak in the most glorious sunsets. Also don’t forget this is a state park so a pass is needed; an annual pass with unlimited visits to all state parks is $35, #worthit!” - REALTOR® Marisa Merritt

Kopachuck State Park is a local favorite. A quick walk down to the beach. Bring your kayaks or paddle boards and head across to Deadman’s Island or just bring your sandals and a beach towel. It is truly a beach the whole family can enjoy.” - REALTOR® Taelor Taurman

Graham - Lake Kapowsin

Lake Kapowsin is a 2.5-mile long lake and it’s ready for boating, kayaking, canoeing, and of course, fishing! You’ll find parking, a boat launch, and the perfect way to spend a sunny summer day. The lake is stocked with rainbow trout, but you might also catch yellow perch, rock bass, largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie.

Key Peninsula - Penrose Point State Park

Penrose Point State Park on the Key Peninsula... 22 miles of salt water shoreline on Mayo Cove & Carr Inlet... swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding or just floating on your favorite floatie.... clams, oysters, starfish on the beach.... eagles soaring, cormorants, herons, gulls & crows .... otters & seals ... come for the day or bring your tent for camping! Quiet yet close to the city.... feels like you're a million miles away!” - REALTOR® Sharon Benson

Lakewood - American Lake Park

American Lake Park is a nice small park just up the road from the Veterans Clinic. When I lived nearby I would walk to the park daily with my pup and we occasionally got in a swim. The park has a boat launch, beach, large grassy area with shade, a playground, and picnic tables. It's also within walking distance to a friendly convenience store for any forgotten picnic items!” - REALTOR® Claire Fralish

Milton - Wild Waves Theme and Water Park

Technically, Wild Waves Theme and Water Park is in Federal Way, but it is just north of Milton and we didn’t want to miss out on sharing this fun local attraction in our list of summer destinations! Wild Waves has a theme park with all kinds of “dry” rides, including an epic roller coaster and rides for all ages. The water park features huge slides, a lazy river, a wave pool, warming tubs, and more.

Orting - The Orting Trail

The Orting Trail is part of the Foothills Trail, and this segment of the trail is paved and runs from Puyallup to South Prairie. It’s a mostly flat trail making for a leisurely time, and runs through the heart of Downtown Orting and then along the Puyallup River, which transitions into South Prairie Creek. It’s a relaxing, scenic way to get some exercise in!

Puyallup - Bradley Lake Park

“Wide open spaces, wildlife, a paved 0.9-mile running/walking trail around a small, serene lake, 2 sets of epic play toys, baseball field, covered picnic spaces and shaded grassy areas for our toasty summer days, Bradley Lake Park offers something for everybody whether you're from the Puyallup Valley or South Hill. It's easy to get to and has 2 lots for parking. I remember it being large pastures when I was a child and now that I have a daughter of my own, she'll have her own memories of the much more useful land as we frequent there for fresh air, the playground, and to exert her endless energy!” - REALTOR® Trish Stone

Spanaway - Spanaway Park

Spanaway Park is a 135-acre park with a little bit of everything! Spanaway Park is home to Spanaway Lake, and there are 2 swimming beaches, a boat launch, a fishing pier, and non-motorized boat rentals. In addition to lake-related amenities, you can enjoy ADA playground equipment, accessible bathrooms, a picnic area, a 3-mile trail system, softball fields, basketball courts, and more! Pack a picnic and plan to stay for the day.

Steilacoom - Sunnyside Beach Park

“Beach volleyball, BBQs in the sun & the rain, scuba diving and paddle boarding... Sunnyside Beach Park has something for everybody! I love that the trains pass by periodically wrestling the sound waves with seagull calls and kids at play!” - REALTOR® Krista Osborne

Sumner - Sumner Link Trail

The Sumner Link Trail connects to the Interurban Trail (South), the Lakeland Hills Trail, the Foothills Trail, and Riverwalk Trail. The 8-mile Sumner Link Trail mostly follows White River, guiding you past views of the river, meadows, wildlife, farmland, and more. Click here for a map that points out places where you can picnic, dine, fish, shop, visit the restroom, etc.

Tacoma - Ruston Way Waterfront

“I've lived here for 35 years, and I still can't believe how fortunate we are to have a treasure like Ruston Way and Point Defiance just in our backyard. What cherished public spaces!” - REALTOR® Anders Ibsen

Ruston Way Waterfront is our favorite place to go. From walking along the waterfront, to all day happy hours at our favorite restaurant and free covered parking garage paid by getting an ice cream cone. My son loves running over the water fountain and playing on the awesome giant play ship. We love showing off the beautiful picturesque view of the majesty Mt. Rainer when we have visitors in town. It is our mini go away in the city. You have both metro mixed with nature.” - REALTOR® Tor Patsiga

University Place - Chambers Bay

“When I was growing up, I dreamed about eventually building my home on the cleared out gravel pit where Chambers Bay now rests. Although that dream did not come true, a championship golf course, incredible park nestled on the waterfront for exercise, dog play and kid fun is a fabulous way for all to enjoy that magical space!” - REALTOR® Krista Osborne


If you'd like to keep exploring Pierce County, visit our blog!

We also have an extensive collection of Pierce County neighborhood guides so you can keep exploring what makes each Pierce County city so special.