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Exploring Washington: Dash Point State Park

Updated on September 19, 2011

Hiking and Ocean Views Abound at this Park

Located in Federal Way, Washington, Dash Point is a family-friendly destination south of Tacoma for many outdoor activities. Swimming, camping and hiking trails are all available, along with canoeing, sailing, metal detecting and more.

A family plays on the beach at Dash Point
A family plays on the beach at Dash Point | Source

A Paradise for Your Senses

One of the immediately apparent qualities of Dash Point is its natural diversity. Within this 398 acre park you find forested hills riddled with small streams meandering down a steep cliff face to an alluvial plain, which spreads out on either side of the delta in wide sandy beaches - over 3,300 feet of ocean front scenery. This is a park that can fulfill the desire to walk on the beach and hike in the woods on the same trail. Throw in some beach combing, bird watching and overnight camping, and you have the quintessential outdoor experience only minutes from downtown Tacoma. This park is very family friendly, and plays host to interpretive activities and club events such as RC mudding. There is also an opportunity for canoeing, kayaking and crabbing when the weather and season permits.

View from Dash Point Beach with the Olympic Mountains in the distance
View from Dash Point Beach with the Olympic Mountains in the distance | Source

Beach Side Activities

The park is divided into three main sections: the beach, the campground and the vast wooded hiking trails. Day parking is adjacent to the beach, and this area receives the most traffic. There are many activities that can be enjoyed at Dash Point.

  • Salt water swimming is popular seasonally. Dash Point's many sandbars offer smaller swimmers an opportunity to explore more of the coastline.
  • Salt water fishing is available in season. Crabbing is available under the right conditions. Signs at the beach entrances will indicate whether crab season and ocean conditions allow it.
  • Beach combing is an exciting way to introduce kids to tide pools and marine life. You may encounter animal debris as well, so be prepared.
  • Canoe and kayak access is available. Sailing and speedboat use is approved outside the swimming area.
  • Metal detecting is also permitted, provided detectors register with park officials and obtain a permit. Detecting is allowed on all beachfront property within the park.
  • Picnic tables and shelters are available.

Heading south on the Norwich Trail
Heading south on the Norwich Trail | Source

Camping and Hiking

The campground and hiking trails are both in the interior of the park. There are two types of campsites - 114 standard and 27 utility sites. Showers, restrooms and dump site are provided. There is also a single group campsite accommodating up to 80 people in 10 smaller sites, around an amphitheater. Fees for camping vary depending on type of site and time of year, but they range from $22-$25 for a standard site and $28-$36 for utility sites. Call (888) CAMPOUT to reserve a camp site or utilize an online form at Washington Parks websites.

The hiking trails in Dash Point are superb, and suitable for walking or biking. Over 11 miles of trails criss-cross through the wood, beginning with the Norwich trail leading from the beach. The trails are wide and well cleared, consisting of boardwalk in many places, and offer benches in key relaxation spots, and scenic bridges. The length of the trails is the greatest challenge here. Most trails, aside from the one that runs along the rocky coast, are easy to medium-easy difficulty.

Directions and Hours

Dash Point State Park is located at 5700 Dash Point Road, Federal Way, Washington. From I-5 take exit 143 (320th st.) to 47th st. and turn right. Turn left on Highway 509/Dash Point Road and follow signs about two miles to the park.

  • Open May 13 - September 7
  • 8 am - dusk for day use
  • Camping check in is 2:30 pm, checkout at 1pm
  • Picnic shelters are available for rent
  • Pets are allowed
  • Handicap parking is provided in the campground and at the beach. Picnic areas and most campsites are wheelchair accessible.

Remote Controlled mudding is a popular activity here
Remote Controlled mudding is a popular activity here | Source


Submit a Comment

  • Jonathan Grimes profile image

    Jonathan Grimes 5 years ago from Devon

    Looks like a lovely place. A little far for me being based in Devon, England, but lovely.

  • kestrana profile image

    kestrana 6 years ago from Virginia

    Yes, all the pictures in this hub are ones I took when I lived in Washington.

  • Jeff Poirrier profile image

    Jeff Poirrier 6 years ago from Washington

    Thanks for sharing this. I went swimming and crabbing at Dash Point just over 2 years ago... which is sad because now I live not even 15 minutes away!

    Anyway, very pretty park with lots to do! Have you been there before?

  • mattdigiulio profile image

    mattdigiulio 6 years ago

    Makes me wanna travel again -- thanks for the food for thought! voting up/

  • kestrana profile image

    kestrana 6 years ago from Virginia

    Check it out! There's always something interesting to see there. Thanks for the comment

  • janices7 profile image

    Janice S 6 years ago

    Fantastic hub - this looks like a park that I would love. Thanks for sharing all the info!