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Sunny skies along the rocky shore of Puget Sound in Burien

Washington

Washington State’s Seattle Southside Region: Perfect Home Base for a Pacific Northwest Holiday

By: Christi Womack

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  • States:
    Washington

Surrounded by natural beauty – think beaches, parks and gardens – it’s readily apparent why Seattle Southside, conveniently situated between the big cities of Seattle and Tacoma, is known as the green gateway to the area.

Hike trails next to saltwater oceans and freshwater lakes, and venture into forests and manicured community gardens, but don’t leave without enjoying the hospitality of welcoming residents in the Seattle Southside region.

SeaTac’s Ease of Exploring, Parks and Gardens

Getting around the Seattle Southside area is easy: Light rail rapid transit system gets travelers to and from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, downtown Seattle and points along the way. A convenient spot to get aboard is SeaTac’s Angle Lake Station, located one stop away from the airport.

Just blocks from the station, the four-hectare Angle Lake Park packs in plenty of ways to get introduced to the area’s natural attractions. Simply relax lakeside after your travels, go for swim, fish for trout or boat on the lake. 

Afterward, admire the beautiful grounds of the local favorite Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden. Stroll through seven areas, including the Seike Japanese Garden, Sensory Garden and Elda Behm’s Paradise Garden, which was lovingly saved from an airport expansion project and relocated here. Other gardens include spectacular displays of roses, irises, daylilies and fuchsia. Admission is free to the community-owned attraction, which also offers exhibits and presentations about garden art.

Seattle Southside: Endless Outdoor Fun in SeaTac

Laid-back fun at Angle Lake Park in SeaTac
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Get Close to Nature in Washington State Parks

Continue your natural discoveries minutes from the city by exploring two exceptional Washington state parks, Saltwater State Park and Lake Sammamish State Park. At Saltwater State Park, with its 440 meters of shoreline along picturesque Puget Sound, hike on trails, watch salmon spawn in McSorley Creek and study the marine life in tidal pools. Experienced divers will enjoy the underwater artificial reef just offshore. Camp overnight to extend the fun.

Inland, swimmers will relish two outstanding beaches, Tibbitts and Sunset, at Lake Sammamish State Park. Stretch out on the sand, play volleyball, or rent a kayak or paddleboard and cruise the shoreline. Hike or bike on paved trails through forests and wetlands to see wildlife, including great blue herons and bald eagles. Plan your trip to coincide with festivals and fairs held in the park year-round.

Washington State Parks Near Seattle Southside

Combing the shoreline for shells at Saltwater State Park in Des Moines, Washington
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Discover Vibrant Downtown Burien

Spend an entertaining day in Seattle Southside’s nearby community of downtown Burien. Don’t miss strolling around the town square, especially on Thursdays during the summer months, when you can buy homemade goods and fresh produce at the farmers market. Absorb the friendly vibe when you pop in and out of neighborhood boutiques. Explore a foodie’s paradise featuring diverse restaurants serving international cuisine, and dine outside on a patio to enjoy Burien’s unique downtown atmosphere.

A must-see in Burien is Seahurst Park, stretching along Puget Sound. Walk trails beside the ocean and follow creeks that wind through a forest. Keep an eye out for eagles in the air and whales in the water. Bring a picnic lunch and gaze across the water at the majestic Olympic Mountains.

Seattle Southside: Scenic Downtown Burien

A natural honey stand at the Burien Farmers Market
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Shopping and Unique Flavors in Tukwila and Des Moines

Don’t leave Seattle Southside without visiting the two communities flanking SeaTac: Tukwila, a shopping paradise, and Des Moines, a waterfront gem. The Puget Sound is the scenic backdrop for the summertime Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market. Don’t get too distracted by that awesome view; you’ll want to peruse produce from local growers, food, arts and crafts, and music. Afterward, see the sights at the fishing pier and on walking trails. Time it right, and go beachcombing at low tide.

After all the time exploring the outdoors, head inside to shop, eat and be entertained at Westfield Southcenter. The two-level mall features more than 200 national and regional stores along with a movie theater, several restaurants and even an Asian grocery market called Seafood City. Give your feet a rest by stopping in 85°C Bakery Café for unique Asian pastries and coffee brewed with Guatemalan beans.

Seattle Southside: Des Moines and Tukwila

Marina overlooking Puget Sound hosts boats and the Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market
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Getting There

You can reach Seattle Southside by flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA). Get around the area easily by using the light rail rapid transit system at Angle Lake Station in SeaTac.