Summer is the magical time in Washington State sunshine fills the days, the skies clear, and a welcoming breeze rolls in from the ocean. It’s no wonder why summer is the perfect time to take the family out for a day of exploration. There are no shortages of things to do in Tacoma and you may be wondering what would be the best activities for a family trip.

It can be tough finding activities for your family so we put together our picks of free family-friendly things to do around Tacoma. Our top choices are based on the activities for children a place provides, accessibility, and proximity to other amenities.

child with lobster hand at Children's Museum of Tacoma

Children’s Museum of Tacoma

The Children’s Museum of Tacoma, powered by Greentrike, is an interactive play-based museum located right in the heart of downtown Tacoma. The Museum’s playscapes spark children’s imaginations as they play in a unique and safe environment. Children can paint, draw, and create in the Museum’s makers studio. Admission is Pay As You Will, a donation based model that first started at The Children’s Museum of Tacoma.

Glass display bridge museum of glass

Free Night in the Museum District

What’s better than one free museum? How about four free museums. Museums in downtown Tacoma host a free night each month for the Third Thursday Artwalk. This is a great night to take the family out for a night of art and history. Free admission is offered by Tacoma Art Museum, Washington State History Museum, Foss Waterway Seaport Museum, and Museum of Glass.

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Power of Play Lunch 2021
Mt. Rainier from Owens Beach at Point Defiance Park

Point Defiance Park

Take a trip into the forest while staying close to home by visiting Point Defiance Park. The park is 760 acres filled with gardens, seaside trails, an old growth forest, and breathtaking views. The park is home to a rose garden, Point Defiance Zoo, and the famous Rhododendron Garden.  There are enough activities in the park to fill an entire day with adventure for your family.

barn at Fort Steilacoom Park

Fort Steilacoom Park

If you want to take a four-legged member of the family along outdoors then Fort Steilacoom Park is your next destination. The park offers a 22 acre off-leash dog park so you can let your canine pal roam free. There is also an extensive trail system at the park that is both open to bike and foot traffic.

Harbor History Museum

Harbor History Museum

Take a short drive over the Narrows Bridge to the Harbor History Museum. The museum offers many hands-on exhibits that showcase the rich history of the region. The museum features an 1893 restored school room and a 65 foot fishing vessel undergoing restoration.

For more ideas on family friendly activities around Pierce County read this list by our friends at Travel Tacoma.