Summer is often the time when out of town family and friends come to visit. Here is a secret: You don’t have to take them to Seattle for something to do or see. Pierce County is a great place to show off!
Do you know that Pierce County is the only county in the country that goes from sea level to the highest point in the contiguous United States? If you have been here for any length of time you know that we have beautiful bays, lakes, rivers, parks, trails, mountains, quaint towns and bustling cities.
I just recently received the magazine Travel Tacoma and Pierce County, which is filled with the inside scoop on the jewels of our county. You will be pleasantly surprised by what is available right here in our own backyard and excited to show our gems to your friends and family.
The most obvious, and what we are becoming known for, are our museums, from the LeMay Car Museum to the Museum of Glass to the Washington State History Museum to the Harbor History Museum in Gig Harbor. Museums not your thing? How about a tour? There is a Tacoma Ghost Tour, Destiny Harbor Tours and local scavenger hunts.
Looking for a little leisure? Go for a stroll along Dock Street, Thea Foss Waterway, Ruston Way, Dash Point Park, Wright Park and, of course, Chambers Bay. If you are into golf, you must go to Chambers Bay Golf Course, a world-class golf course that hosted the 2015 U.S. Open.
You can’t visit Pierce County without taking out your camera. Take advantage of great photo opportunities at the Museum of Glass, W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory, and Gig Harbor, a quaint village on the water with great views of sailboats, the Puget Sound and of Mt. Rainier. Point Defiance, at 700 acres the largest urban park west of the Mississippi River, has forest and water venues, a rose garden, a Northwest native garden and a Japanese garden all ready for that perfect picture.
A visit to Mt. Rainier, which is one of the five highest summits in the lower 48, is a must when visiting Pierce County. On your way, stop at Ex-Nihlo Sculpture Park, a fantastical garden made out of recycled scrap iron. Some of the highlights in the park are Tipsoo Lake and the Naches Peak Loop Trail. The Grove of the Patriarchs has 300-foot tall trees that are 1,000 years old and truly jaw-dropping. If you can handle a steep 3.8-mile hike, you must go see Comet Falls, a truly spectacular cascade.
We can’t entertain our guests without quenching our thirst and Pierce County has much to offer! We have local wineries – no need to go to Walla Walla. Instead, check out 21 Cellars Winery and Anderson Island Vineyards. If you favor a cold beer on a hot day, you will not have to travel far to quench that thirst. Brewmasters have put Pierce County on the map for lovers of beer with our popular assortment of breweries. We have Tacoma Brewing Company, Wingman Brewery, Pacific Brewing and Malting Co., 7 Seas and many more. If you are looking for something on the liquor side, we also have Heritage Distilling Co. where you can actually take classes, the Chamber Bay Distillery in University Place, Parliament Distillery in Sumner, Old Soldier Distillery in Tacoma and Nightside Distillery in Edgewood.
The opportunities in Pierce County are bountiful!
Connie Ladenburg is a member of the Pierce County Council.