Tacoma is the West Coast’s new, most livable city, hugging the saltwater banks of the Puget Sound. About 25 miles of connected, accessible shoreline is backed by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. When it’s time to choose a destination, Tacoma is one of America’s best places to enjoy an active, healthy, vibrant vacation.

Kayaking, canoeing and standup paddle boarding are ideal ways to explore the Tacoma-South Sound area. Whether beginner, expert or somewhere in between, paddle sport enthusiasts will enjoy the accessibility and beauty of this open-water playground. Located in the southern waters of Puget Sound, just 25 miles from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Tacoma is the perfect destination for adventure seekers.

Here is a sample itinerary for planning your trip on the water:

  • Rent kayaks and standup paddleboards through Foss Harbor Marina, Point Defiance Marina or Jack Hyde Park on Ruston Way.
  • Start your day at Commencement Bay. The waterfront has several newly developed shoreline access points, including Thea’s Park and Point Ruston. Paddlers facing southeast will enjoy the awe-inspiring views of Mount Rainier.
  • To the northwest is Owen Beach at Point Defiance Park. This family-friendly locale is a popular place to catch a glimpse of the harbor seals and sea lions. The generous beachfront is a good place to put in your watercraft, or rent one if needed!
  • Paddlers continuing around the peninsula will enter the Puget Sound (the southern sector of the Salish Sea)—the second largest estuary in the United States. This nautical journey is a great fit for paddlers looking for a challenge.
  • Across the Tacoma Narrows strait is the town of Gig Harbor, welcoming paddlers with its scenic waterfront and quaint downtown. Restaurants are ready for you, with boat parking and waterfront decks.
    7 Seas Brewery is nearby, and you can dock at Tides Tavern for a beer!

A shoreline sports adventure can be part of an active family trip to the Tacoma area. We have affordable lodging options and suggested itineraries for memorable vacations.