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A park, a picnic and a pooch

Saltwater State Park is pet-friendly with a good picnic area

Sam the Wander Dog enjoys a fun day at Saltwater State Park. Photo credit: Marguerite Cleveland

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With the sun finally out, now is a great time to soak up some vitamin D by enjoying outdoor time with your favorite pooch. Washington state parks are very pet-friendly and most allow pets on leashes to enjoy the trails alongside you. Who wants to eat inside when it is so nice out? Pack a picnic lunch or pick up some takeout to enjoy in the park. 

Saltwater State Park is located right on the Puget Sound and is set on a beach between Tacoma and Seattle. It is only two miles away from Interstate 5, making it a convenient location to get away from the city bustle. It also means it is one of Washington's most popular state parks. On weekends when the sun is out, it can be crowded, but you can enjoy a peaceful, less crowded time on a weekday visit. Note that the park is on the flight path of the Sea-Tac International Airport. When a plane flies over, it is noisy - but after the first few went over I didn't notice it anymore. A neat quirky fact: In 1926, after years of rivalry between the two cities, they literally buried a hatchet at the park's dedication ceremony, signaling the end of their competition.

If you don't already have a Discovery Pass, visit before you go, for more information.  The passes cost $30 when purchased at a park and $35 if purchased online or at more than 600 locations listed on the website. Passes are good for one year and pay for themselves after a few visits. Pets are allowed in most state parks; however, they must be on a leash no longer than eight feet at all times and under their owners' physical control. For your day trip, pack water and treats for your pet, and make sure to bring bags to clean up after them. 

Pick up your picnic at Marina Market & Deli on the way to Saltwater. Owner Hieu Yong runs a cute little place not too far away. We popped in for some great sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and cheeses. Yong makes a simple sandwich on your choice of sliced bread with mayo, mustard, a little onion, and sliced tomato. Perfection! When you have quality ingredients, simple is best. The market carries everything else you need for a picnic, snacks, cold drinks and even fresh fruit. Open 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 22511 Marine View Dr. S., Des Moines, 206.212.6985

There are plenty of activities at the park that are fun for both you and your pet. Stroll the 1,445 feet of saltwater shoreline and enjoy the cool breezes blowing off the Puget Sound. On a sunny day, the view of the Olympic Mountains is stunning. Take your pooch on a walk on one of the hiking trails through the woods. When you are ready for lunch, choose from one of the many picnic table options, which are located in a shaded grassy area, by the beach, and near the creek and the picturesque wooden bridge that crosses it.

Saltwater State Park, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., daily, 25205 8th Place S., Des Moines, 253.661.4956

Stay tuned next month for another park, a picnic and a pooch as Sam the Wander Dog and I explore another pet-friendly Washington state park.

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