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The view from the other side

Traveling off the beaten path to Browns Point, Tacoma

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Every once in a while, a day comes along when Tacoma residents take to the rocky beaches of Commencement Bay despite the drizzling rain or low-hanging clouds. The allure of a solitary walk along the water's edge as the rain patters rhythmically around you is simply too strong to pass up. That quiet and charming experience is precisely what draws many travelers -- and locals -- to the Tacoma neighborhood of Browns Point.

Located on the northeastern shores of Tacoma and surrounded by waters on three sides, Browns Point is a small community that enjoys all the benefits of being tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life. To get there, you'll need to leave the freeway behind and embark on the windy Washington State Route 509, heading north along the coastline. You'll find dense, forested land rising on your right and the waters of the Puget Sound lapping the shoreline on your left.

One of the first local attractions you'll want to see at Browns Point is the Browns Point Lighthouse Park, which sits on four acres of land. It has waterfront access, grassy picnic areas and gives travelers an up-close look at a historic lighthouse and lightkeeper's cottage. Visitors can even tour or rent the restored lightkeeper's cottage for up to one week, truly immersing themselves in local history.

Dash Point Park is another popular beachfront destination in the area. Despite its teensy size (2.7 acres), Dash Point Park's sandy beaches are perfect for building sandcastles with the kiddos, and its fishing pier is a favorite among residents looking to cast their line. Other popular waterfront activities in Browns Point include fishing, kayaking and seasonal clamming.

If all that outdoor activity leaves you hungry, head to one of the most well-known restaurants in Browns Point: Cliff House Restaurant. This fine-dining establishment has exceptional views of Mount Rainier, the Tacoma skyline and Commencement Bay, and its menus are packed with locally-sourced seafood. For a more casual meal, consider Browns Point Diner, where you'll find classic American food in an open dining area. "Grab-and-go" meal options include Lighthouse Market and Coffee and Cream Café, which are within walking distance of each other.

Don't forget North 47 Brewing Co, either, for an end-of-the-day beer to celebrate your travels. North 47 brews its beer in-house and keeps its six flagship beers on tap year-round. Even though the brewery doesn't serve food, patrons are encouraged to bring takeout along with them and nosh while sipping a beer. Bonus: the bar area is full of card and board games that'll keep you busy as you unwind from a long day.

When you're finally ready to lay your head down for the night, you'll find that there aren't any hotels in Browns Point. Instead, you can take advantage of one of many bed-and-breakfast opportunities with Airbnb. Nightly rates for Airbnb accommodations vary quite a bit in the quiet neighborhood, but generally, they're cheaper than heading back into town to book a hotel room in downtown Tacoma. If you do plan to return to Tacoma proper, consider checking in at Hotel Murano. This posh skyscraper hotel boasts a beautiful array of sculptural and hanging glass art, intimate guest rooms and a nightly rate that won't break the bank.

Don't be surprised, though, if the city vibe is a little too fast-paced for you once you return from your low-key adventure at Browns Point. The neighborhood is a perfect destination for travelers hoping to avoid the fuss of a long drive or expensive excursions. The plethora of pebbled beaches to walk along, the rustling of tree leaves in the wind, and the silhouette of the lighthouse rising over the horizon will leave you refreshed, but don't be surprised if you find yourself yearning for a quiet place of your own in Browns Point. Trust us, we've been there. Want more info?  Check out Browns Point's live social media feed here.

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