Sports and Recreation
Outdoor enthusiasts often make their home in the Pacific Northwest, where they are a day’s drive or less from all their favorite activities. You’ll find that we keep up a fairly active lifestyle, taking full advantage of our mountains, lakes and ocean waters for sport as well as relaxation.
Pierce County’s close proximity to Mount Rainier National Park—a favorite of both tourists and locals—gives hikers, bikers, climbers, campers and nature lovers a direct route to choice Washington terrain. However, there’s a whole lot more to Pierce County and Western Washington than just one national park. In fact, a vast array of parklands, natural preservation areas, facilities for team and racquet sports, golf courses and other sports arenas for ice skating, indoor sports and swimming are spread out across our region, affording quick and easy access.
We’ve listed just a few of our extraordinary parks, sports venues and recreation attractions for you below. To get the big picture of all that South King County (Auburn, WA), and Pierce County, Washington and the rest of our beautiful state has to offer go to:
Mount Rainier National Park
From the experienced climber to the wildflower gardener, there’s something spectacular for everyone at Mount Rainier National Park. With an excellent visitor’s center as well as camping and picnicking grounds, you could easily spend a day to a week or more in the park. Two lodges, Paradise and Longmire, make it comfortable for anyone to stay overnight with or without a sleeping bag. A climbing school at Paradise guides teams up to the summit, over 14,000 feet above.
Mount Rainier is home to bears, mountain goats, beavers, marmots, squirrels, chipmunks and many other critters and birds. July and August are two of the best months to snap pictures of the blooming wildflowers in the meadows at the timberline. This is one park you have to come and experience for yourself! For more information, visit the official web site for Mount Rainier National Park.
Point Defiance Park
Second only to Mount Rainier in popularity, Point Defiance Park is another of Pierce County’s natural treasures. Point Defiance Park is a 700-acre wooden parkland that juts out into the Puget Sound, encompassing Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, extensive gardens, historical sites, the ferry to Vashon Island and boating and scuba diving areas.
Nationally acclaimed Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium has been ranked among the top zoos in the United States for its naturalistic exhibits, animal care and commitment to wildlife conservation. Highlights of this pioneering zoo include the Beluga whale, walrus, seal and polar bear exhibits. An underwater viewing window brings you face-to-face with sharks, barracudas, stingrays and tropical fish. In December, life-size replicas of zoo animals made of twinkling lights create the ZooLights driving tour through the park. For more details, go to the official web site of Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
Point Defiance Park is a gardener’s delight with exceptional displays of roses, dahlias, camellias, native rhododendrons and Japanese gardening techniques. For more information on gardening at Point Defiance Park, visit the web site for the Tacoma Garden Club.
Points of historical interest within the protected grounds of Point Defiance Park include Fort Nisqually. For more history or visitor’s information on these locations, go to Fort Nisqually website.
A 15-minute ferry ride takes you from Point Defiance Park to Vashon Island. Visit Vashon Island’s Strawberry Festival in mid-July, shop the Saturday Market, pick your own strawberries and raspberries in our U-pick fields, rent a kayak, go sailing or just spend a relaxing weekend meandering through town. Click here for more information on Vashon Island. For details on the ferry route from Point Defiance Park to Vashon Island, go to Washington State Ferries.
For more information on additional parks, community sports facilities and local activity programs, visit the websites:
Tacoma is home to AAA baseball, professional hockey, university football squads and near to horse racing and Seattle’s professional sports teams. Click on any of the following sports clubs/venues to go to their web site:
- Tacoma Rainiers: Farm team of the Seattle Mariners, this AAA baseball club plays at Cheney Stadium.
- Emerald Downs: This full-service horse racing facility is located just north of Pierce County in Auburn, Washington.
Two university football squads are favorites of local spectators. To find out more about these teams, click on one of the schools below:
At first glance, it appears that options for outside recreation are endless. Pierce County has 361 freshwater lakes, glacier-fed rivers and more than 20 recreational marinas. In addition to our local parks and sports teams, you may like to explore: