Where is Dash Point State Park
Located between Tacoma and Seattle in Washington, Dash Point State Park is located on the coast of Puget Sound in a beautiful forested area with a large beach and shoreline to enjoy. The park offers amazing views of the ocean and great trails throughout the forest. It is easily accessible off of Interstate 5, 20 minutes from Tacoma and 30 minutes from Seattle. The US State Park costs $10 for a day pass.
How Big is Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park is a 398-acre park with 3,301 feet of shoreline along Puget Sound. The park has 11 miles of hiking trails wandering throughout the forested park, 8 miles of biking trails, 20 picnic tables, a campground and cabins to stay at, and endless ocean activities on the shoreline.
Dash Point State Park Weather
The pacific northwest and Seattle area are known to be a rainy, cloudy place. However, our National Park Visitors Guide points out that during the summer at Dash Point State Park, sunny hot days are plentiful.
From May through September, sunshine and warm days grace this area making for amazing hiking and ocean recreation along the shoreline. Nights cool down to the low 50’s and sometimes even the 40’s, so being prepared for any type of weather is important.
Mid-September to end of October are fall at Dash Point, with the maple leaves changing to yellow and orange throughout the park as temperatures cool down.
November through February are the rainiest and cloudiest months bringing up to 15 days of rain and mostly cloudy skies. Temperatures can drop as low as 30 degrees during nights and down to the 40’s during the day. The park can still be enjoyed even in the rain as the park will feel like the jungle that it is, lush with forest and fauna loving the rain.
From March through May temperatures warm into the 60’s with the summer sun starting to make its way out of the clouds.
When did Dash Point become a State Park
Dash point has a long history going back to northwest native Americans settling this area, living off the land and the ocean. In 1877 a United States explorer mapped out and named Dash Point. The name has unclear origins.
By the mid 1800’s the lumber industry dominated the area exporting lumber and fish out of Commencement Bay just south of Dash Point. The area grew greatly in population as people moved out west to settle this area and work in the lumber and fishing industry by the mid 1900’s. Dash Point was privately owned by the McLeod family and sold to Washington State in the 1940’s.
In 1962 Dash Point became an official state park after Carl Anderson, a federal way resident and recreator on the land, wrote letters to Washington Parks and government officials to turn the land into a state park.
Things to do in Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park offers many recreation opportunities such as beautiful forested trails to hike and bike, camp in the park, and fish and kayak on Puget Sound.
Grill and picnic with views of Puget Sound
Grills and picnic sites are available with great views of the water.
Fly a kite on the beach
Wind coming off of the ocean makes for great kite flying along the beach. During low tide the beach is wide and open with tons of space. Check the tides before you go.
Mountain Bike the Bike Trail
A 3.1-mile mountain bike trail winds through the forest with an easy flow track. With 341 feet of elevation gain, this mountain bike trail is great for all levels. You can rent a bike from a bike shop in Tacoma or Seattle.
Hike the Dash Point Trail
There are 11 miles of trails to hike. The Dash Point Trail is a 5-mile trail that winds through the lush forest
Skim board the receding waves
Skimboarding is a fun way to play in the water on a hot summer day and is an up and coming sport in this area. Glide a wooden board across only an inch of water as the waves retreat back out to the sea. A great activity during low tide or when the tide is going out.
Kayak Puget Sound
Easy access points to get into the water, Dash point is a great kayak spot with incredible views of the coastline and bay. Check the tides before to ensure the current of an outgoing tide isn’t overpowering to paddle through. Keep an eye in the water for seals and lion manes Jellyfish (don’t touch!).
Don’t forget to buy a Washington fishing license and bring a rod for a chance to catch some salmon, crabs, and shellfish.
Camp in the Park
The Dash Point State Park Campground has campsites scattered throughout the dense forest. Sleeping in the forest is a peaceful experience with a chance to enjoy the quietness of the park at night.
When to go to Dash Point State Park
Summer from May to September is the best time to enjoy all that the shoreline and ocean has to offer at this state park. With little rain, lots of sunshine, and warm temperatures you can enjoy all things summer here from camping, hiking, kayaking, and fishing.
Those warm days, especially the weekends, will be very busy and limited parking can make it difficult to go to this park. Visiting on the weekdays, early mornings, or in the fall in mid to late September will be best to enjoy this park with little crowds.
Must-Have things to bring to Dash Point State Park
Unpredictable weather along the ocean shoreline at Dash Point State Park means being prepared. The area offers limited services and no stores nearby to buy necessities, so bringing everything you need to have a great day is necessary.
List of Parks highly suggests staying hydrated as you enjoy hiking and all this park has to offer.
There are no food venders or restaurants at or nearby this park.
Dense forest means it is easy to get lost if you venture on a trail. Getting turned around in the forest is easy to do.
Proper Hiking Boots
A lot of rain can make for muddy trails so having proper hiking boots will help your feet stay comfortable and dry on these rooted forest trails.
Rain Jacket and Warm Layers
This area is known for rain, clouds, and unpredictable weather. Having extra jackets and rain gear is smart even with a sunny forecast.
Beach attire, swimwear, and sunscreen
Bring a swim suit, towel, sunscreen, and some fun beach toys, umbrella, and chair to enjoy the beach on a warm sunny day.
There is a lot to see far out in the Puget Sound so having binoculars will help you get a good view of any seals, whales, and boats.
Where to stay in Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park Campground is open year-round with 114 campsites and 27 RV sites (up to 40 feet). Around Dash point there are many bed and breakfasts and houses to rent. Some are right on the water! The closest hotels would be in Tacoma Washington, such as The Silver Cloud hotel located on a pier out on Puget Sound.
Food Nearby Dash Point State Park
While there is no food in the park itself, there are a few restaurants nearby to enjoy local food and seafood. The closest restaurant is Gino’s Pizza only .7 miles away. Cliff House Restaurant is a short drive away and is a fine dining steakhouse and seafood restaurant offering incredible views of the sound sitting up on a cliff. Browns Point Diner is an American diner close by. For snacks and food to bring to the park, shop at a grocery store a short drive away in Federal Way town.
Airports near Dash Point State Park
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is a major airport with flights all over the US only a 25 minute drive away from Dash Point State Park. Renting a car is the way to go to fully explore the park and to pack all of your camping and beach supplies.