Dash Point State Park is a 461-acre park located on the border of Des Moines and Federal Way between Seattle and Tacoma in Washington. Dash Point State Park is the perfect place to get away from it all, park your RV, and relax on the beach. The park features 3,301 feet of beautiful, saltwater shoreline with an unobstructed view of the Puget Sound, so you can look forward to a beautiful sunset almost every evening.
The site has been the subject of three survey expeditions since 1800. In 1962, the park was dedicated and developed for the Seattle World’s Fair. The park and campground are set on a hill above the Puget Sound. The Puget Sound is a body of water through which ocean waters reach inland about 50 miles from the Pacific Coast; however, it is also so much more. It is a diverse region that is home to marine life from orcas and sharks to sea urchins and sand dollars. Dash Point State Park offers excellent opportunities to study marine life.
Beach activities are abundant at Dash Point State Park, including skim boarding, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, kite flying, and swimming. Explore the beach to find starfish, crabs, and other marine life. Birdwatchers will love the large variety of birds including seabirds, loons, green herons, and bald eagles. In fact, the Pacific Flyway is a major route for North American waterfowl migration, and it follows the Puget Sound Lowland.
A maritime climate includes plenty of winter rains, sporadic snow, dry summers, and mild temperatures year-round. Because the temperature is usually above freezing in the winter, snow doesn’t last for more than a few days. The park is open year-round, although some portions of the park may be closed during the winter.
Dash Point State Park is easily accessible by RV or car. The park is located off Interstate 5 and can be accessed from Tacoma to the west and Federal Way to the east. Local roads within the park provide easy access to all the major attractions including the campground, boating areas, and picnic areas. Some park roads are narrow and located in wooded areas, so you may want to use caution if you are traveling in a large RV.
The park is right off Highway 509, which is easily accessed from Interstate 5, and the drive along the Puget Sound is remarkable so make sure your passenger has a camera ready. In fact, 509 is considered the scenic route to anywhere in the south Seattle area because of all the beaches, parks, lighthouses, and panoramic views of the Puget Sound.
If you are staying overnight, you can camp your RV at one of the 27 utility sites available. Motorhomes, trailers, and popups up to 40 feet can be accommodated. Parking is also located near the Puget Sound, so it will be easy to access the boating and picnic areas. The park is nestled into an urban environment in Federal Way. Noise from planes overhead may be heard occasionally but where else can you park your RV and take a bus to the city? You can get away from it all without going too far away. Once you park your RV, you will be free to explore 11 miles of hiking and biking trails located throughout the park.
Dash Point State Park is open year-round and features 114 standard campsites and 27 utility campsites that accommodate RVs up to 40 feet in length. The utility campsites provide access to full hookups, while the standard campsites offer no hookups. You will want to reserve your RV campsite well in advance since there is limited availability. The park also has a group camp that accommodates up to 96 guests, featuring a large open area and 12 smaller sites. The campground is pet-friendly, and generator use is allowed during certain hours.
Most sites are paved and offer partial shade. If you are looking for more privacy, you may want to choose a site that is further from others. Amenities at this campground include a dump station, six showers, and four restrooms, including a modern restroom on the beach. The park features an amphitheater, two covered picnic shelters that may be reserved, and 20 unsheltered picnic tables, available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The surrounding area features an airport, gas stations, auto repair shop, grocery store, and several recreational equipment rental shops. Most services are available within a few miles of the park. Cabins are also available to rent.
Just 20 minutes from Dash Point you can find the 137-acre Saltwater State Park Campground, just two miles off Interstate 5. You will be right on the bubbling McSorley Creek at any of the 50 campsites available here. Each site has a campfire ring with a grill, a picnic table, and a large cleared space for hanging out around the fire. The campground does not have hookups, but they do provide vault toilets, drinking water spigots, and an RV waste site.
Enjoy 1,445 feet of shoreline on the Puget Sound where you can do some sunbathing, build a sandcastle, or play a game of volleyball. This campground is popular with scuba divers as they have the only underwater artificial reef on Puget Sound. There is a huge diversity of marine life and sea creatures as well as tide pools and spawning salmon. You will definitely need to have an underwater camera if you visit this park.
Fishing is also a popular activity here and you can catch just about anything in the Puget Sound. You may also enjoy boating, sailing, surfing, or any other type of water sport and it can all be done here at Saltwater State Park. Pets are welcome at the park as long as they are restrained and supervised at all times, but they are not allowed on the beach.
Make sure you pack your kite in the RV because the beach at Dash Point State Park is perfect for kite flying. Feel like a kid again, get out your kite, and let it fly! The beach provides the wind and low tide unveils a huge stretch of sand providing room to launch and maneuver your kite. This is a great activity the whole family can enjoy year-round during your RV adventure to the state park.
On warm off-season days, you can still enjoy a relaxing picnic or BBQ at the park. Just park your RV near any of the 20 first-come, first-served picnic tables and get ready to enjoy some delicious grub. Most of the picnic areas offer incredible views of the Puget Sound and they all have BBQ grills and picnic tables that seat 10. If you brought a large group with you in the RV, you can reserve one or both of the two covered picnic pavilions and dine in shaded comfort.
Don’t forget to pack your binoculars in your camper because there are over 220 different species of birds in western Washington. You will love all the chances you will have to spot beautiful native birds in the park. If you have a keen eye, you may be able to spot a pileated woodpecker, pacific wren, chestnut-backed chickadee, or maybe even a bald eagle. According to the Rainier Audubon Society, you can see Wilson’s warblers, black-throated gray warblers, and orange-crowned warblers nesting in the park as well.
Some of the best mountain biking in the state of Washington is right here at Dash Point State Park. The 3.1-mile Dash Point State Park Mountain Bike Trail is a lightly-trafficked loop trail that is great for everyone. It has an elevation gain of only 341 feet but has some awesome dips and curves. Some of the technical spots can be a bit challenging, like the Heart Attack Hill, Double Dip, and the Log Jam. No matter whether you are a beginner or an expert, it is important to wear a helmet and other protective gear when you ride.
If you are an avid angler, Dash Point State Park is a prime spot for saltwater fishing. There are abundant opportunities to catch salmon and crabs here. One of the best spots for fishing is on the Dash Point Pier, where you can soak in the beauty of the tides during the day. You must have a recreational license for fishing and shellfish harvesting at the park. Before your RV trip, you can check with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for regulations and purchase a recreational license. Keep in mind that clamming is not advised within the park.
The Puget Sound is a wonderful place to kayak and canoe. You will love coasting along the scenic shores of the Pacific Northwest while taking in the serenity of nature all around you. Keep in mind there is no watercraft launch for larger boats. You will want to make sure you are prepared since the waters can be quite choppy and unforgiving. However, on a warm summer day, there is nothing like cruising on the open waters of the Puget Sound.
Dash Point State Park offers 11 miles of hiking trails that you will love exploring on your next RV adventure. There are many different trails including short trails the little ones will enjoy. All trails are well-kept and marked clearly with the trail names. You won’t want to miss a trek along the beautiful five-mile Dash Point Trail, which offers gorgeous riverfront views. All skill levels will enjoy hiking this trail. Boundary Trail to Log Jam Trail Loop is a four-mile moderate loop that offers fantastic views of the forest. You’re welcome to bring your dog along, but don’t forget a leash. If you would rather take a scenic stroll you can walk along the rocky, majestic shores of the Puget Sound.
Skimboarding is a relatively new water sport similar to surfing but uses a smaller board. It is physically challenging and great exercise, but you do not have to get out on the big waves like the surfers. All you need is a shoreline and some nice small waves. Luckily, Dash Point State Park has both of these, and with 3,300 feet of shoreline you can definitely find the perfect skimboarding spot for you, whether you are a beginner or a seasoned expert.