This popular state park is nestled on a stretch of shoreline between the urban centers of Seattle and Tacoma, so unsurprisingly, it's a frequently-visited location. Share the beach, share the views, and enjoy the atmosphere here.
Visitors can walk through the warm sand or escape the heat on shaded, forested trails. The South Rim and North Rim Trails can be accessed from the parking area near the park entrance at the bottom of the hill, or near the picnic area and scuba wash station further into the park. From either trailhead, dive deep into the forest.
The park is situated in a valley carved by McSorely Creek, so the forest trails climb uphill before descending back to the camping area. Starting from the main parking lot at the bottom of the hill, where a kiosk may have a map of the trails. Take a picture of this if you need it. Head into the forest, passing under Marine View Drive and paralleling McSorely Creek -- a salmon-bearing stream.
Climb gently uphill, then turn north. To your right you may see a trail coming in. This is a spur trail that offers hike-in access to Saltwater State Park. Continue hiking, heading downhill to the camping area and popping out between campsites 23 and 25. Across the way, the trail resumes between sites 22 and 24.
You'll again climb away from the camping area, then make a switchback to begin hiking roughly west back towards the shoreline. This is the North Rim Trail, and it will put you out at the small parking lot on the bluff, above the main park area. Walk down the hill, watching for cars as you do, to return to where you started.
If you're after more of a beachy outing, a trail heads north along the shore from the main parking area. There are many opportunities for sitting and enjoying the view, as well as places for picnics. On the beach, please explore the tide pools responsibly. Kids with extra energy can run around in the playground.