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Take a walk by the water

Where to go to be near the sea

Olympia’s Percival Landing Park includes a boardwalk nearly one mile long. Photo credit:

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From the local waters of Puget Sound, to the many hidden inlets, rivers and lakes, the South Puget Sound region is a waterfront paradise. Boardwalks and trails are boundless here and make you feel (almost) like walking on water. Places that you can see for miles with magnificent views and forest adventure. Read on to discover some unique places to walk near water in the region:

Percival Landing Park

Located in the heart of downtown Olympia, Percival Landing is a three-acre waterfront park and popular hub for gatherings and public events. The Landing boasts a nearly one-mile boardwalk, meandering along the eastern shoreline of West Bay with water views, boat moorage and public artwork. The park was named after an old commercial steamship wharf, a well-known maritime landmark in the Pacific Northwest.

Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

The Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge hugs the southern end of Puget Sound, near Lacey. Established in the 1970s to protect diverse wildlife, the park offers stunning, 360-degree views of Puget Sound, the Olympics, Mount Rainier and several nearby islands. The Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk Trail sits just above the wetlands and tidelands, and hikers can relish over a myriad of bird species, harbor seals, otters, beavers and other animals that call this refuge home.

Walk to the beach

In DuPont, there is a meandering path through forest down to a rocky beach right on the Puget Sound. This is the place that the DuPont Company and Weyerhaeuser used to move dynamite and wood onto boats headed to the world. The path is right by the DuPont City Hall (look for their recycling containers -- just right of those. The walk is nice -- it follows Sequalitchew Creek down to the water, ending with a tunnel under the railroad tracks. The beach is expansive with some logs, but mostly bring a blanket and enjoy some time watching the water. Dogs are welcome on the trail and at the beach but must be on a leash.

Ruston Way

In the heart of North Tacoma the walkway stretching along Commencement Bay from Point Ruston to Old Town is a wide path with constant views of the water. This is a place to walk, run, ride a bike or even pull a wagon with the kiddos in the back. There are places in the neighborhoods above to get free parking along the streets, or Point Ruston has a paid parking garage. If you purchase something there, you also get free parking for two hours. Besides ships and boats moving on the water, you will also see sea lions frolicking.

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