Exploring Dash Point State Park near Tacoma and Seattle

Dash Point State Park

Dash Point State Park is one of the larger state parks located right near Seattle and Tacoma, and it’s a fantastic park to explore any time of year. Whether you enjoy fishing, kayaking, beach combing, hiking, biking, or want to give skimboarding a try (it’s popular at this park), Dash Point is a lot of fun. Bring some snacks or sandwiches and have a picnic by the water while you’re at it. Read on to learn more about what to expect at this park.

What You Need to Know

  • Dash Point State Park is located at 5700 S.W. Dash Point Road, Federal Way, WA 98023.
  • The park is about 15-20 minutes from Tacoma, and about 30-40 minutes from Seattle.
  • The park encompasses 461 acres and has 3,301 feet of shoreline.
  • Activities include camping, kayaking, canoeing, beach combing, hiking, biking, skimboarding.
  • Dash Point is a state park so you will need a Discover Pass to park at the park. If you don’t already have one, you can purchase a day pass ($10) or annual pass ($30 and good at any Washington state park) at automated pay stations located in the park.

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The Beach

If you go to Dash Point State Park and don’t head down to the shoreline, you’re doing it wrong! Especially during low tide, the 3,301 feet of shoreline is a treat as the water retreats far out and exposes an expansive landscape of sand filled with tidepools to check out. If you’ve got young kids, bring a shovel and bucket or other sand toys. Make sure everyone in your group is wearing shoes that can handle getting wet as you’ll have to cross all kinds of wet areas, some will be an inch or more deep.

You’ll spot sand dollars, clam shells, seaweed, and sometimes starfish and tiny crabs, as well as lots of birds.

Also at the beach, you can fish from the shore or give skimboarding a try. You’ll need to bring your own skimboard, but the gist is essentially surfing without waves. You get a running start and then jump on your board and slide on top of the water or sand (there are skimboarders who ride waves, but you won’t find a whole lot of waves here unless there’s a storm!)

Dash Point State Park
Dash Point State Park located between Seattle and Tacoma is amazing at low tide.


While there is not a boat launch for motorized boats at Dash Point, you can bring along a kayak or canoe and launch right from shore. The shoreline is not located in a protected bay so make sure you’re aware of larger and faster boats around you or stay close to the shore.


Trails crisscross Dash Point State Park. There are 8 miles of biking trails and 11 miles of hiking trails, so there’s plenty to explore. While there are a few short trails near the beach, most of the trails head into the forest and away from the beach. Hop onto the Thames Creek Trail to access the extensive trail network if you want to hike for longer than a short stretch, or enjoy the short and sweet Raven Beach Trail. Both start in the parking area near the beach.

For a full trail map, click here.

Dash Point State Park
Bring along a picnic! There are lots of tables throughout the park.


If you want to go camping, but don’t want to drive far out into the middle of nowhere, Dash Point State Park is the perfect option. While it’s close to two of Washington state’s largest cities, it’s tucked back off of I-5 so it’s surrounded by lots of natural gorgeousness. The park has 114 standard campsites, 27 utility campsites, a dumping station, restrooms and showers. There are cabins as well, which feature futons, bunk beds, tables and chairs, firepits, and basic heat. You can book campsites and cabins online.  

What Else is Nearby

One of the perks of visiting Dash Point State Park is how much else is nearby. Whether you’re staying overnight or visiting for a few hours, you can easily drive out of the park and find a place to grab a bite to eat or grocery stores to load up on provisions. The closest commercial center is along SW 320th Street in Federal Way where you’ll find grocery stores and restaurants galore.

Tacoma is located to the south. Take I-5 southbound to downtown Tacoma and you can explore the city’s museums (Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum, LeMay – America’s Car Museum, and the Children’s Museum of Tacoma) and restaurants all within a few blocks of each other.

Seattle is located about a half hour to the north also on I-5 if you’re in the market for some more major attractions with your slice of nature.