We’ve become big fans of Tacoma as a PNW spot that’s perfect for a short vacation. If you want to take a break with the family this summer that won’t also break your bank account, check out some of the fun family activities Tacoma has to offer:
Extended families are starting to travel together, but struggle to find those rare destinations that can leave each generation feeling like they had the trip of a lifetime. For its history, museums, natural beauty and affordability, the Tacoma area is ripe for shared experiences.
Your trip to Tacoma and Pierce County could include a ghost tour, gondola ride, zip lining and the only combined zoo and aquarium in the Pacific Northwest. Add to the memories with a unique place to stay, from the glass-art centric Hotel Murano to a nine-person lodge near Mount Rainier.
Visit TravelTacoma.com for suggested itineraries and consider the following activities when your traveling group includes grandparents to toddlers.
Historic tours: Destiny Harbor Tours makes daily boat trips in the waters near Gig Harbor and Tacoma. If your group includes older kids, choose a ghost tour for a memorable perspective of the area. Explore Mount Rainier National Park with the Discover Nature shuttle and tour with naturalist Diann Sheldon.
Adrenaline-packed adventure: From mountains to sea level, you’ll find it all within 90 minutes of Tacoma. Hike at Mount Rainier National Park or zipline at Northwest Trek. Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards at multiple spots along Pierce County’s 25 miles of public shoreline.
Memorable transportation: Through Sept. 2 you can hop aboard the trolley from downtown Tacoma to Point Defiance on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (just $1!). Ride the gondola over alpine meadows at Crystal Mountain Resort, stopping at the highest-elevation restaurant in Washington state. Rent bikes, including four-person surreys, at Point Ruston for a ride along the flat, paved waterfront.
Animal encounters: At Northwest Trek Wildlife Park you can take a tram through 435 acres of animals’ free-roaming area, plus see dozens of other animal exhibits. Meet animals up close at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium’s hands-on stingray pool, budgie bird feedings, eye-to-eye shark tank and more. Point Defiance’s new Pacific Seas Aquarium opens Sept. 7.
Walkable museums: Classic cars, a glass art hot shop and hands-on learning for kids—you won’t find stuffy museums here. Tacoma’s walkable Museum District has six museums that will interest family members of all ages. There’s even the only pay-as-you-will children’s museum in the country.
Hungry? When it’s time to eat, try the nostalgic Shake Shake Shake and Frisco Freeze. Families also enjoy the classic choices at Carr’s Restaurant in Lakewood and the Buttered Biscuit in Sumner. Waterfront views and casual dining are plentiful at Point Ruston. Bonus: kids can cool off in the spray park while the adults enjoy a beverage in the shade at Wildfin’s outdoor wine bar.
Start planning your family trip to the Tacoma area at TravelTacoma.com.