Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Travel Guide

Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Sights

Point Defiance Park

  • 5400 N. Pearl St. Map It
  • Tacoma
  • Park (National/State/Provincial)
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 04/05/2016

Fodor's Review

Jutting into Commencement Bay, this hilly, 760-acre park surrounds Five Mile Drive with lush picnicking fields and patches of forest. Hiking trails, bike paths, and numerous gardens draw crowds year-round, particularly during summer festivals such as the Taste of Tacoma, in late June. The park begins at the north end of Pearl Street as you drive toward the Point Defiance Ferry Terminal, where vehicles depart for Vashon Island just across the Sound. A one-way road branches off the ferry lane, past a lake and picnic area, a rose garden, a spectacular 22-acre rhododendron garden, and a Japanese garden, finally winding down to the beach.

A half-mile past the gardens is Owen Beach, a driftwood-strewn stretch of pebbly sand near the ferry dock and a wonderful place for beachcombing and sailboat-watching. Kayak rentals and concessions are available in summer. Continue around the looping drive, which offers occasional views of the narrows. Cruise slowly to take in the scenes—and watch out for joggers and bikers.

Sight Information


5400 N. Pearl St., Tacoma, Washington, 98407, USA

Map It

Published 04/05/2016


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