Get Outside in Seattle Southside
Get outside in seattle southside
Weary of your own backyard? Escape to Seattle’s. Seattle Southside brings the outdoor fun with getaways that’ll take you from s’mores by the beach to flowers beneath a flight path. Go solo, load up the kids, or round up your phase-appropriate posse and get outside!
Story by Anne Erickson, photos by Capture.Share.Repeat
With more than 6 miles of shoreline Des Moines could be Seattle’s saltiest suburb. It’s also the one that inspires the most pronunciation debate, so let’s clear that up right now: say ‘de moinz’.
Des Moines Beach Park was once the site of an orphanage, a dance hall, and a logging camp. Today the historical buildings are event spaces, and signs around the park give insight into the town’s past. Nearby is the Des Moines Fishing Pier – a great spot for a sunset photo and an even better place to drop a crab trap in summer or jig for squid in fall. If you’re looking for steps instead of salt air, hit the Des Moines Creek Trail, a paved 4-mile round trip out-and-back ramble, or bike ride, that winds along the creek it’s named.
Craving camping without the driving? Saltwater State Park is just 2 miles from I-5 and has 38 tent sites. Its location between Seattle and Tacoma guarantees that you’ll always have company, but the wooded campsites are private, and there’s plenty of beach to go around. Pro-tip: reservations are easiest to come by on weeknights, and work-week camping is a genius way to max out a PNW summer. Plus it’s fun to go to work smelling of campfire.
Redondo Beach (it was named after the one in California) has a boat launch, a boardwalk, and Olympic Mountain views. It’s also home to Highline College’s MaST (Marine Science and Technology) Center, one-of-a kind lab and aquarium where visitors can meet some real locals from Northwest waters, like a six-and-a-half foot long wolf eel. (Note, the MaST Center is currently closed due to COVID-19, no word yet on when they will re-open to the public).
You’ve probably seen this place from above, crammed into a window seat taking off from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. But Angle Lake in SeaTac is best experienced at ground level, on a hot summer day. Swim, boat or fish in the lake, picnic at the 10-acre lake front park, or hang out at the spray park and watch the Mega-Splasher drench the kiddos and teens. It never gets old.
Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden was a private garden that volunteers moved in 2000 to make way for SeaTac’s third runway. The 10.5 acre pocket of paradise features more than 100 different roses, large display beds of irises and daylilies, and a sensory garden. The Seike Japanese Garden is a tucked away treasure here. Built by Shinichi Seike, an area nursery owner, in memory of his son who was killed in action during WWII. A reflecting pond and meticulously pruned pines create calm, even as jets take flight above.
Federal Way’s Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden will inspire any Northwest gardener year ‘round. But if you are a fool for full-bloom, go in April or May to see the 700 species at their resplendent peak. If you miss it, right next door is the Pacific Bonsai Museum, which has more than 150 painstakingly styled tiny trees that they rotate through various displays. The Bonsai Museum is free, though as of this printing it’s closed due to COVID 19. While you wait for them to re-open, bring some Zen to your next on-line meeting with one of their free downloadable Zoom bonsai backgrounds.
A river runs through Foster Golf Links, an 18-hole course in Tukwila with a couple of holes that actually cross the Duwamish. You might see wildlife here, you might shoot your lowest score, you will for sure have a great day on this course that’s been keeping golfers happy since 1925.
Got wheels that need to spin? Remote control car racers can take their rigs to the North Sea Tac RC RaceTrack at S 136th St and 20th Ave S. in SeaTac and hit berms and drift around corners for free. One track is paved, the other one is dirt, and they’re both a blast. Prefer to power yourself? North SeaTac BMX is right next door, and the riding’s free (helmets required). Also nearby, North SeaTac Park Mountain Biking Trails, 7 green (easy) rated singletrack trails. For more challenging mountain biking hit the South SeaTac Trails (SST) in Des Moines Creek Trail Park (the other end of the Des Moines Creek Trail mentioned above).
Exploring Seattle Southside is the perfect way to get outside right now.