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Aight seeing around Tacoma

Downey, California
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Aight seeing around Tacoma

Hi me and my girlfriend are going to be visiting her sister in Tacoma Washingto this weekend. I’m a nature buff and would like to know if there are any places I’m Washington around Tacoma that is a must see. I already planned a trip to mt Rainer and around that area. Thanks!

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Tacoma
Tacoma
Washington
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Tacoma, Washington
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1. Re: Aight seeing around Tacoma

Welcome to Tacoma. There's a ton to do here.

I'm glad you have a trip to Mt. Rainier planned, but be advised that the mountain is still in winter weather. If your sister's car is well equipped for winter (carrying chains is required in the national park this time of year - Les Schwab sells them and has a generous return policy if they are unopened, sealed up, usually AFTER mid-April or May, so the sister will be on the hook to do this for you), you might consider going up there for snowshoeing. Sporting goods store will rent snowshoes at an affordable price (we paid $10 each about 5 years ago). We've also snowshoed extensively in the Snoqualmie Pass area, which does not always have the requirement for chains and is easier driving. Gold Creek is a nice trail, if you can go on a weekday when it isn't busy. Snoqualmie Pass gets very busy on weekends. Check wta.org for trip reports and trail conditions, as the snow can be a little fickle.

Billy Frank Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is beautiful. It's a tidal wetland, so the type and amount of wildlife you see is dependent on time of year and whether the tide is in or out. The walkway is flat/accessible and a few miles long. Walk out as far or little as you like. Near the beginning of the walkway, there are several side paths that take you through wooded freshwater wetlands with different wildlife. It is just down the road, very close, before Olympia. Try to avoid driving there during rush hour. Hit up Olympia for lunch or dinner before or after your visit.

Mt. St. Helens is a few hours away, but is best visited on a completely clear and sunny day. I am not too sure how road conditions are either. Check the national monument website first. That may not work out in the coming week. Do your research and keep an eye on the weather.

Closer to home, Point Defiance is in Tacoma, and I've heard it ranks anywhere from 2nd to 10th in size of a city park (ranked after Central Park in NYC & Mt Airy Forest in Cincinnati), depending on criteria. It has a lot of 2nd-growth forest (maybe even some old growth, not sure), a small beach, and miles of hiking trails. It is surrounded by Puget Sound on 3 sides, and there is a choice of level hikes and rather hilly hikes. I've used a map on the Pt. Defiance website to check topography before.

Be sure to check out the beer scene. There are a lot of breweries of various sizes and calibers here. Best place for local undiscovered beers are probably Peaks & Pints (small restaurant & taproom), and Pint Defiance (bottle shop & taproom). Either one will have somebody who can point you to a true local Tacoma beer and can guide you to something you'll like depending on your taste and preference. There are also a few breweries - just google that - that you can visit in person, and most are good about offering a small taste if you aren't sure about whether to try something.

The Ruston Way waterfront offers you a chance to watch nature pass you as you eat out at one of the restaurants.

Hopefully weather cooperates. If not, bring your raincoat and embrace it.

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2. Re: Aight seeing around Tacoma

The "must see" natural attractions around Tacoma aren't easily accessible at this time of year. I wonder what sort of trip to Mount Rainier you have in mind. Do you plan to ski/board/snowshoe...? Unless you're prepped for snow activities, I wouldn't head up there. Mount St. Helens isn't an early-March outing, either. Point Defiance is pleasant, and Nisqually Delta is a good suggestion. What part of Tacoma are you staying in? Chambers Bay actually makes for a nice walk with good views.

~ Colleen

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3. Re: Aight seeing around Tacoma

If you are up for a long drive, the Quinault Rain Forest in Olympic National Park would work for you. It will be wet, but it will be accessible and snow free. Bring hiking boots or shoes and good wool socks. If you go, try to get to Ruby Beach, too.

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Tacoma, Washington
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4. Re: Aight seeing around Tacoma

If you are up for skiing, Crystal Mountain is the closest resort.

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