The Ultimate Puget Sound Summer

As summer pushes its way up the temperature scale, cities in the South Sound open their doors to tourism, showcasing the many activities they have to offer.


Washington’s capital hosts a number of summer events, starting with the Deschutes Duck Dash on June 3, when thousands of rubber ducks float down the river, each benefiting youth and charities. The South Sound BBQ Festival takes place July 8, and the Thurston County Fair is the next month. Throughout the summer you can take the opportunity to catch a concert in Huntamer and Sylvester parks, as well as the three-day Dixieland Jazz Festival.

Heading north on the freeway, DuPont offers its own exciting summer draws. Munch on McNamara’s Apple Bacon Burger either before or after hiking the Sequalitchew Creek Trail. August 18-20 is the Five Star Classic Car Show. The weekend event highlights luxurious cars, includes raffles and benefits several organizations.

With a theater district, golf courses, farmers markets and more, the Tacoma area offers endless possibilities for a great summer. Spend some time outdoors in Fort Steilacoom Park and then enjoy an oldfashioned milkshake inside Steilacoom’s historic Bair Drug & Hardware building. Or take in the visual feast at Tacoma Art Museum and then go to a concert at the Tacoma Dome. If you plan your trip just right, you can catch Bruno Mars there on Monday, July 24.

The rhubarb capital of the world, Sumner is a summer classic. Besides its pies, you can check out the Parliament Distillery, which serves marshmallow moonshine. Another Sumner classic is Classy Chassis, a car show lining the town’s downtown street. From old hot rods to antique farm trucks, this August event sees countless visitors ogling these precious vehicles.

June 3-4 is the Maritime Gig Festival, consisting of games, a parade, races, food and music in this charming harbor town. Later the same month, June 24-25, make time for the Gig Harbor Garden Tour. You’ll visit multiple beautiful gardens—all up to par with a colorful summer—and proceeds fund literacy programs.

With live music throughout the summer and the Murder Mystery Dinner Train from June through October, Chehalis has summer happenings down to a science. Two big events include the Billetproof hot rod and custom show on June 24 and the Garlic Fest and Craft Show August 2527. This city embraces the summer season head-on year after year.