Summer is better in seattle southside

Tired 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 blooming botanical gardens. Go solo, load up the kids, or round up your phase-appropriate posse and get outside!

Play On The Water

Story by Anne Erickson | Photos & Video 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.  Rent a kayak or paddleboard from Olympic Outdoor Adventure Center right on the beach and cruise the waters or, suit up for an underwater scuba adventure where you may encounter a Giant Pacific Octopus!

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 for. This route offers a nice connection between the south side of Seattle and the waterfront community of Des Moines.

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.

Saltwater State Park
Des Moines Beach Park

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. *

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 College MaST Center
Fishing Pier at Des Moines Beach Park
Angle Lake

Find Your Zen

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden was a private garden that volunteers moved in 2000 to make way for Sea-Tac Airport'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, you may even catch sight of a nearby jet takeoff in the reflecting pond.

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden
Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

More To Discover

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 SeaTac 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).

Don't miss the Tukwila Skate Park located at the Tukwila Community Center. The park, which was designed by a committee of youth skateboarders, features HUNA ramps, grinding rails, 1/4 pipes, fun boxes, and more.

Exploring Seattle Southside is the perfect way to get outside right now.

*Note, some locations are currently closed due to COVID-19; please check with them to verify hours and accessibility before you go.

Foster Golf Links
Foster Golf Links
North SeaTac RC Track