It’d been a very busy week for our family so come Sunday afternoon, my husband and I were in agreement: we both wanted to get in the car and go somewhere. But where?
We tossed around a wide variety of ideas from Discovery Park to Leavenworth to the Nisqually Estuary.
Finally my husband suggested Penrose Point State Park. Say, what?! I’d never heard of this place before. (But I mentioned in my post about the Mima Mounds that my husband has this wonderful knack for just knowing about all these cool spots, even if he’s never visited them before.) I liked the fact that it wasn’t too far from Gig Harbor, so off we went.
Heads up, if you’re planning a visit based on my post today: you’ll need a Discover Pass. I recommend you just go for the annual pass as it’s $30 and a one-day pass is $10.
The cool part about visiting a place like this when it’s overcast out? You get it virtually to yourself! I have to say, this place completely captured my imagination. In fact, it was so cool I thought I needed to blog about it, because it would be a great “cheap adventure” for you to plan with your family this weekend or maybe over the summer, too.
One of the coolest features of this State Park are these huge windblown trees on the beach. In some cases, they are just growing that way, and in others, they’ve been knocked over. The result is two fold… first, fun “caves” to crawl under and explore.
Here I am, inside the cave, looking out at the beach! I told my husband if there was a storm, I’d head for this place for safety. Then he reminded me that’d be a bad choice because of the tide. I would apparently not last long on one of those survivalist shows.
The second cool thing about those windblown trees? They sure do make amazing places to climb, even for the most timid of tree climbers, because you can essentially just walk right on!
And there are trees for the more adventurous ones to climb, too. This admittedly made me a bit nervous because we were going to go to dinner after this and I didn’t want a wet/muddy child to throw a wrench in my plans.
This beach is a perfect spot to go hunting for crabs. My kids also noted some of the most amazing shells (some with creatures still in them, t00).
There are a few trails that loop around the park. I’d personally consider these very easy, family-friendly trails (e.g., you won’t need hiking “gear” to attempt them). They are wide, mostly flat, and there are ways you can easily do shorter segments in case you’ve got some super young hikers with you.
As someone that loves identifying wild plants, I was in seventh heaven here! There are tons of edible berries, including the thimbleberry pictured above, as well as evergreen huckleberry, salmonberry, and blackberry. I also had fun identifying miner’s lettuce, saxifrage, hemlock, skunk cabbage, buttercup, trillium, and nettle (heads up – the nettle is growing very close to the edge of the trails and yes, it will sting you if touched. Stay on the trails!)
We had a very hard time pulling my kids away to get back home, and I imagine we’ll come back again very soon.
Are you interested in planning a visit for your family? You can find some directions at this website. If you’d like to stay longer, you might be interested to learn you can additionally reserve a campsite here!
Looking for some other cool places to visit this summer with your family? Check out these recent posts:
- Mima Mounds in Olympia, Washington
- Nisqually Estuary near Olympia, Washington
- Hylebos in Federal Way, Washington