5 Reasons We Love Tacoma Summers

 Matilija poppy growing happily on a Tacoma sidewalk corner in mid July. 

Matilija poppy growing happily on a Tacoma sidewalk corner in mid July. 

 Back yard weather, boating weather, walk the sidewalk weather.

Back yard weather, boating weather, walk the sidewalk weather.

Reason number 1 really could be the weather. Although we're heating up along with the rest of the world, most homes here don't come with air conditioning. And that's not because Tacoma is populated by masochists. It's just that most of the time its cool enough with some windows open, and maybe a fan on hot days. There are a few nights of the year when we're too hot. But overall, fresh mornings, warm days, and cool evenings create a summer of comfort many people can only imagine. It's usually nice enough to take a walk without scorching, gets warm enough to go for a swim, or wear your favorite sundress, with trees enough to shade your picnic. But, I didn't really plan for number 1 to be the weather. However, I wrote about it first, and it's lovely. So, instinct wins over plan. 

Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #1: The Weather (see above)

 You can share a quilt with your dog for the afternoon in this weather!

You can share a quilt with your dog for the afternoon in this weather!

 Eat casserole (Grandma's recipe, or course) in the back yard in this weather! 

Eat casserole (Grandma's recipe, or course) in the back yard in this weather! 

 Have a garden of squash and tomatoes in this weather!

Have a garden of squash and tomatoes in this weather!

Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #2: Beaches for Everyone!

 Michael and Dandie having a run-around at Titlow Beach with the Narrows Bridges beyond.

Michael and Dandie having a run-around at Titlow Beach with the Narrows Bridges beyond.

You don't have to be rich, belong to a club, own waterfront, have a friend who owns waterfront, take a vacation, or pay any money at all to spend time at the beach if you live in Tacoma. Here's what you need to do: get on the bus, your bike, your feet, or into the car and go to the public beach of your choice.

For a long rocky beach with Narrows Bridge Views, and the train tracks for company head to Titlow on the West Side. 

For seal and people watching on a long mixed rock and sand beach with views of Vashon Island and Mt. Rainier, head into Pt. Defiance Park and follow the signs to Owen Beach. This is where you'll probably find the most people in swimsuits in the city on a sunny day (aside from pool parks!). Image from @metroparkstacoma - photo credit @soundregion

For a series of mini beaches along a paved pathway with lots of restaurants close by, you'll want to meander Ruston Way where you'll find a sandy beach at Jack Hyde Park, as well as a nice little stretch of beach at Dickman Mill Park

Go to the beach! Get salty. Bring a reusable water bottle. Pack a snack and pack out your trash. 

By the way, if you like to get cooled down, or like to send your kiddos out in their suits, but don't feel like a beach day, Tacoma has some delightful spraygrounds. Visit this helpful list provided by MetroParks to find a sprayground near you. Image from @metroparkstacoma 

Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #3: Local Events

From weekly free outdoor concerts, to weekly markets, and special annual events like the Hilltop Street Fair, there's always a way to get out, find yourself in a mix of people, spend only as much as you want to, and get an experience. Want to know all about those weekly markets? Find the locations, days, and details in our Tacoma Summer Markets post. Looking for local events this summer? We don't have a list for August yet, but take a look at It's July in Tacoma - 15 Community Events You'll Love

 You've got to get out to the Tacoma Farmers Markets and other weekly vintage and handmade La Paloma markets! 

You've got to get out to the Tacoma Farmers Markets and other weekly vintage and handmade La Paloma markets! 

 Hanks has a super nice patio with lush hops growing all around the fence. 

Hanks has a super nice patio with lush hops growing all around the fence. 

Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #4: Outdoor Dining - Find Those Patios!

 Relaxing on the Rosewood Cafe's patio while waiting for sandwiches and slaw. 

Relaxing on the Rosewood Cafe's patio while waiting for sandwiches and slaw. 

Because of our significant rainy season (late fall, winter, spring, early summer...) we don't have as many patios here as you might find in cities with drier climates, but when the sunny days are here, the patio chairs come out, the umbrellas open, and the tables fill up. Here's a list of cafes, restaurants, and bars where you can find some open air seating. 

 Honeypunch (so nice!) and a few moments for scribbling notes on a scrap of paper on the courtyard patio at Honey.

Honeypunch (so nice!) and a few moments for scribbling notes on a scrap of paper on the courtyard patio at Honey.

En Rama - Downtown
Honey - Downtown
Top of Tacoma - McKinley
Rosewood Cafe - Proctor
Asado - 6th Ave (a few cocktail tables outside with a roll up door that opens up the interior too)
State Street Beer - 6th Ave
Hanks Bar & Pizza - Stadium/North Slope
Rhein Haus - Stadium
Shake, Shake, Shake - Stadium
Stack 571 Burger & Whiskey Bar - Point Ruston
Wildfin American Grill - Point Ruston
Boathouse 19 - West Side Waterfront
Narrows Brewing - West Side Waterfront (no food served, but you can bring your own!)
The Ram, CI Shenanigans, Duke's Chowder House, Katie Downs Tavern & EateryHarbor Lights (just a couple of tables, but they're there) - Ruston Way Waterfront
Anthony's - Point Defiance

Why we love Tacoma summers REASON #5: State Parks - Go Explore

 Fetch on the sandy beach at Fort Worden. One of our favorite places!

Fetch on the sandy beach at Fort Worden. One of our favorite places!

Take a look at this map of State Parks in the Seattle/Tacoma region. In Tacoma we live on the shores of the Salish Sea, so waterfront parks with beaches and trails abound. Camp, picnic, take a trail, take a kayak, take the day. 

Tip: Buy a Discover Pass for the year. It's only $30 annually (otherwise $10 per day). These are required for vehicle access to our Washington State Parks. 

Here's our short list of some beloved parks in our area:

Dash Point - 20 minutes, 12 miles, Federal Way
Saltwater - 24 minutes, 18 miles, Des Moines
Kopachuck - 30 minutes, 18 miles, Gig Harbor
Penrose Point - 45 minutes, 32 miles, Key Peninsula (site of our rehearsal dinner picnic back in the day!)
Joemma Beach - 45 minutes, 34 miles, Key Peninsula
Dosewallips - 1.5 hours, 85 miles, Brinnon
Fort Worden - 1.5 hours, 80 miles

 This isn't a summer pic, as you can see, but it is Dosewallips where we stayed in a platform tent once for my November birthday. 

This isn't a summer pic, as you can see, but it is Dosewallips where we stayed in a platform tent once for my November birthday. 

 Penrose Point has trails, beaches, and camping. You can see our rehearsal dinner picnic in the background under the trees. 

Penrose Point has trails, beaches, and camping. You can see our rehearsal dinner picnic in the background under the trees. 

 Summer Solstice Duggan Family Photo

Summer Solstice Duggan Family Photo

There are far more than 5 reasons we love living here in Tacoma. We're close to family, close to our roots, we love our friends, and we're generally pretty settled folks. We could go on about our home, and you probably could too. The truth is, we're grateful to have a safe place to be, and we don't take that for granted. Everything on our list of 5 is just the cherry on top. 


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