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Exploring the charms of Steilacoom

Catch glimpses of the ferry from Sunnyside Beach Park. Photo credit: Stock photo

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Nestled along the shores of the Puget Sound, Steilacoom, is a charming and historic town that often goes unnoticed among the bustling cities of the Pacific Northwest. Despite its relatively small size, Steilacoom boasts a rich history, picturesque landscapes, and a welcoming community that makes it a hidden gem for those seeking a peaceful and unique escape.

Steilacoom's history dates back to the mid-19th century, making it one of the oldest towns in Washington state. Founded in 1854, the town played a significant role during the early years of the Puget Sound region. 

Begin your journey at the Steilacoom Historical Museum, housed in the Nathaniel Orr Home, a stunning Victorian mansion built in 1893. The museum showcases artifacts, photographs, and exhibits that tell the story of Steilacoom's past. From the town's Indigenous roots to its role in the Indian Wars and early maritime commerce, the museum provides a comprehensive overview of the area's fascinating history.

One of Steilacoom's most captivating features is its waterfront. The town offers stunning views of the Puget Sound and the nearby islands, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere. Sunnyside Beach is the perfect place to stop with the family and skip rocks into the sound or play on the playground or the beach volleyball court. The park's picnic facilities can also be rented for birthday parties or other functions.

For a more immersive experience, consider taking a ferry ride from Steilacoom to Anderson Island. The short journey offers a unique perspective of the area and provides an opportunity to explore the island's parks, trails and beaches. Keep an eye out for marine life, as the waters surrounding Steilacoom are home to seals, sea lions, and even occasional whale sightings.

Nature enthusiasts will find plenty to explore in and around Steilacoom. The town is surrounded by water and green spaces, making it a haven for outdoor activities. For a less crowded beach experience than Sunnyside, consider stopping by Saltar's Point Beach.

Downtown Steilacoom exudes a small-town charm with its historic architecture and locally-owned shops. Steilacoom Pub and Grill has been the hometown restaurant for many years, offering a laid back environment with pub-style food with pool tables, karaoke and more. For a chance to catch a stunning view, and if the weather permits, stop by Topside restaurant for delicious food and a chance to sit on their rooftop deck. For a trip back in time stop by The Bair at The Bair Drug and Hardware where this circa-1908 soda shop serves classic sandwiches, handmade shakes and more!

Steilacoom comes alive with community events and festivals throughout the year. The annual Apple Squeeze Festival celebrates the town's agricultural history, offering apple cider pressing, live music, and family-friendly activities. The Fourth of July festivities are a must-attend, with a lively parade, fireworks over the Sound, and a sense of patriotic camaraderie that permeates the town.

Steilacoom stands as a testament to the rich history and natural beauty that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Whether you're interested in exploring its historic sites, enjoying the waterfront, embarking on outdoor adventures, or savoring local flavors, Steilacoom provides a unique and unforgettable experience. As you delve into the town's charms, you'll discover why this hidden gem is cherished by those who have had the pleasure of exploring its streets and shores.

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