Just a short drive from either Seattle or Tacoma, south King County has many great places to explore outside. PowellsWood Garden in Federal Way and the Redondo Beach area in Des Moines are two of those places. If you’re not quite ready to be out and about, you can still explore the garden and local marine life with a couple of online options.
Exploring PowellsWood Garden
PowellsWood Garden is a beautiful private garden located in Federal Way. Visitors can walk the grounds and explore six different garden sections and two border sections. The gardens feature over 1,000 varieties of trees, shrubs and perennials. The fuchsias and hydrangeas were colorful and gorgeous on my recent visit.
Outside food and picnics are welcome.
If you’d like to explore from home, check out their online garden guide.
Cold Creek Trail
Garden visitors can also enjoy a walk through trees, ferns and other native plants on the Cold Creek Trail. Follow the signs to Cold Creek and listen for the water at the end of the trail.
The trail is 1.2 miles long and of moderate difficulty. There are stairs and uphill sections with some muddy areas depending on recent rain.
If You Go
PowellsWood is typically open April through October, Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Admission costs $7 per adult and is free for children 12 and under. Tickets are sold online only at this time. Individual and family memberships are also available. Parking at the garden is free.
Portable restrooms are available.
Portrait and professional photographers are welcome with additional fees and guidelines.
Usual nature rules apply: Leave no trace, come prepared and be responsible.
Redondo Beach Area
Bring your beach gear and find a spot in the sand to enjoy Redondo Beach. Visitors can splash in the water, play on the beach and watch for wildlife.
Redondo Beach is also a popular spot for scuba diving.
When you’re ready to stretch your legs but not ready to give up the water and mountain views, talk a walk on the boardwalk. The boardwalk begins near the boat launch and is about a mile long.
Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are available for rent.
There is also a two-lane boat launch for public use.
Wooton Park is not far from the beach and has a playground, gazebo, open space and uncovered picnic tables. Gazebo rental information is available here.
Paid parking is available in the lot across the street from the boat launch. The lot includes vehicle-trailer spots.
The area is popular and does get crowded, especially at peak times. Visitors should follow all health department guidelines, including distancing and masks as appropriate.
Watch For Reopening
Two Redondo attractions are temporarily closed. Salty’s restaurant is a fun spot for a meal or happy hour, and has outside seating on the water and great views. The restaurant hopes to reopen soon.
Next door to Salty’s, the Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center aquarium features native Salish Sea species like octopus, jellyfish and squid, as well as two touch tanks for hands-on exploring. Virtual scuba divers can explore underwater from home with videos from the MaST Center dive team. In non-pandemic times, MaST and the Des Moines Art Commission host Squid-A-Rama each November. This squid-themed event has arts and crafts, squid dissection and a live video feed to watch MaST divers release squid back into the sea.
The Redondo fishing pier is in need of repairs and is closed indefinitely.