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Saltwater State Park, Des Moines

Categories: Outdoor Activities
Inspirock Rating:
2.8/5 based on 25+ reviews on the web
Saltwater State Park is a 87.4acre plot of second-growth timber on Puget Sound in the City of Des Moines, Washington, United States halfway between Seattle and Tacoma. The main attraction is 1445ft of saltwater beachfront, including a sandy swimming beach in the southwest corner, and rocky tideflats along the west with a submerged artificial reef that is popular with scuba divers. A forty-person group camp looks down on the beach from a high bluff.Overlooked by most visitors is the steep ravine of McSorley (formerly Smith) Creek which winds inland in a gentle "S" curve joined by three tributary streams. Fifty-two campsites are situated on a road that parallels the creek, serving the public on a first-come-first-served basis. On both the north and south sides of the ravine there is a network of hiking trails which follow up the side creeks, rise through jungles of stinging nettles, skirt the edges of cliffs and ridges, and cross wooded plateaus.As of 2009, Saltwater State Park has been designated a Marine Protected Area. Salmon spawn in McSorley Creek and the area provides habitat for many species of fish. There is some concern that the increase in visitors to the park due to the artificial reef may harm fish populations. In addition, the boundaries of the Marine Protected Area are not well marked and both professional and amateur geoduck harvesters may sometimes accidentally be out of compliance with the Marine Protected Area harvest restrictions.Marine View Drive passes over the park on a 200ft high bridge, and 16th Avenue S crosses two branches of McSorley Creek to form the eastern boundary. One trail rises between the two branches of the creek to exit the park, while another trail continues from the dead-end of the campground service road a short way east of 16th Ave. along the main branch of the creek, informally extending the park.
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  • Don't expect a decent campground. It is dumpy and rundown. My experience with state parks located in bustling urban areas has never been good. Seems that there are always "resident" campers , partiers...  read more »
  • A little on the small size, but has a little bit of everything for park lovers. Beach access for kayaking or scuba diving. Several easy/moderate hiking trails. Picnic tables (some sheltered), several ...  read more »
  • Love Salt Water park. Hike the Forrest, streams, walk the beach, barbeque in the park and even camp overnight - it's almost in the city but not and beautiful. Catch the sunset for sure! 
  • This a quaint and lush campground with a great convenient location. Most of the campsites are not very private, and they are pretty small if you get an economy level site. The basic and premium sites are a lot bigger if you have more than one tent or a camper. We didn't see quiet hours posted, but assumed there would be. However, both Friday and Saturday night people were obnoxiously loud until about 2 am. Pretty decent if you are looking to stay somewhere convenient! Otherwise, I'd suggest staying somewhere that you cannot hear the freeway, airplanes, and people partying it up.
  • do you love the sound of airplanes while camping? if so, this is definitely the place for you! At one point we counted an airplane every 10 seconds. The beach was nice. Bathrooms were fine. No overnight staff means it gets a little crazy after hours. We had people show up next to us afterhours, set up camp, party all night then pack up and leave before the next shift showed up. You're basically camping in a city
  • THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE CAMPGROUND, NOT THE PARK. The campground is conveniently located near town, but you have to pay for hot water in the shower, and it's not closed to non campers. What this means is that at all hours of the day, you will have cars meandering through the campground, just to see what it looks like. The camping spots are tiny as well, so you will find absolutely no privacy. The staff was very polite, but they aren't around after dark, and therefore no quiet hours are enforced. Think, 20 year olds staying up all night yelling and carrying on, right next to you (because the sites are so small). Oh, and you are right next to the airport and the road, so the sound of planes and cars will keep you up half of the night as well!
  • Great place to watch the sunset! We've only gone once, but will be back! You can walk on the beach or there's paved paths to walk on along the water & throughout the park. Enjoy beautiful views of the South Sound, dip your toes in the water, there's a playground for the kiddos and picnic tables/benches to sit and enjoy the scenery. I will update next time if we use facilities or find more interesting facts about this state park.
  • The park's location is good - close to the airport and on Puget Sound, but the facilities are terrible! It is expensive for a campground - $35 with NO electricity and deplorable restrooms and showers. Our site was a mess of grass and weeds, so much so that we did not even want to use the picnic table. It appeared that a number of the campers were more residents than campers. Our neighbor got home and proceeded to run his generator and blast loud music into the night. Not even for one night!!
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