Looking for awesome weekend getaways in Washington State? Check out this easy weekend trip from Seattle that hits Gig Harbor, Tacoma, and Sumner. Keep scrolling for the full PNW itinerary!
This post about weekend getaways in Washington State’s South Sound was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.
This trip was in partnership with Travel Tacoma. All opinions are my own.
Like a lot of Seattle families, we’re just starting to plan local trips as we slowly get back to our travel lifestyle.
That means, I’ve been researching kid friendly weekend getaways in Washington State a lot. We live in such a beautiful area that we haven’t fully explored.
Even though I’m a born and raised Washingtonian, I haven’t spent much time in Pierce County (aka the South Sound).
While our family loves hanging out in Tacoma (it’s so much cooler now), I’d never been to Gig Harbor or Sumner.
What I loved about exploring these areas is that you can do many of these activities as day trips or lump them together for an awesome PNW weekend trip.
Keep strolling to see exactly what we did in this kid friendly weekend getaway from Seattle so you can replicate this itinerary with your family!
South Sound Weekend Getaways in Washington FAQ
One of the main areas in Western Washington is Puget Sound. South Sound generally refers to the areas near the water that are South of King County. These cities/towns include (but aren’t limited to) Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Sumner, Olympia, Puyallup, Tumwater, and Lacey.
Yes! If you head to Olympia, you’ll be able to see the beautiful Capitol building. Tacoma is home to the Museum of Glass, the Glass Bridge, the LeMay Car Museum, and more. Plus, Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best things to see in Washington State.
You bet! The South Sound has a lot of really cool beaches, parks, playgrounds, spray parks, and hiking trails. There are also usually fun community events that happen year-round.
Day 1: Gig Harbor
We left our home in Renton at 4 p.m. and hit the road. In hindsight, it would have been better not leaving at the start of rush hour on a Friday night. I’d definitely recommend trying to leave earlier to beat the traffic.
We arrived in Gig Harbor around 5:15 p.m. Since we knew a lot of restaurants in Gig Harbor don’t take reservations, we figured we’d try to eat dinner before checking into our hotel.
Our family loves BBQ and this place was highly recommended because of it’s kid friendly atmosphere.
We were pretty hungry and we wanted to make sure we ordered enough food for everyone. We did a small plate (2 meats and 2 sides) as well as a large plate (3 meats and 2 sides) for the grown ups.
For the kids, we ordered a regular mac and cheese, a loaded mac and cheese (with meat), and their famous corn bread.
The food was SO yummy and we had plenty of food to take back for leftovers. We also enjoyed their root beer, blackberry lemonade, and kids cups of milk.
They offer a few tables with outdoor seating at the front of the restaurant, and lots of socially distanced tables inside. The interior of the restaurant had a cool vibe with lots of interesting decor.
After stuffing ourselves with delicious BBQ, we decided to walk around the waterfront a bit. Plus, the sun was out and we wanted to soak in all the scenery.
It was a short walk from the restaurant to Skansie Brothers Park right at the marina. Our kids loved running around the grassy area and then heading down to see the boats. The views were adorable.
Note: there isn’t a playground here so you might consider bringing a ball or a kite or something.
The park just happened to be across the street from our hotel, the Maritime Inn. So we walked over and checked in. Then, my husband walked back to the restaurant to get our car and parked it at the hotel.
Our hotel room was lovely! There were 2 queen size beds, a mini fridge (perfect for our leftovers), and a fireplace. Plus, we got complimentary glasses of wine when we checked in.
The Maritime Inn is located right in the heart of the waterfront district, so it doesn’t get much more convenient than this. And it’s the only downtown Gig Harbor hotel.
Day 2: Gig Harbor and Tacoma
My kids are always starving as soon as they wake up, so it was nice to be able to grab continental breakfast from 8am-10am at The Maritime Inn.
It’s all grab and go and they even had gloves there so it was even easier to keep clean.
I was really impressed with their selection of prepackaged baked goods (that granola nut bar from Seattle’s Favorite was amazing)! And the kids appreciated the yogurt and hard boiled eggs.
Plus there was plenty of coffee and juice available.
Walking Around Gig Harbor Waterfront
After breakfast, we decided to go outside and explore the waterfront. One of the best things about the Gig Harbor waterfront is that it’s easy to see a lot just by walking around.
There are tons of cute places to eat and little shops around town. And lots of little walkways and docks that are fun for kids to run around.
The views are just beautiful, especially in the morning hours.
Right next to The Maritime Inn is Java and Clay Cafe. It’s a paint-your-own-pottery and coffee shop.
We went there to get some much-needed caffeine and the kids really wanted to try their blackberry smoothie.
They have both indoor and outdoor seating and a ton of breakfast pastries, in case you want to grab a quick breakfast here.
It’s a really adorable store and the kids were bummed that we didn’t have enough time to also do a pottery activity while we were there. The workspace is huge!
We had 10 a.m. reservations for the Gig Harbor Gondola, which is just across the street from Java and Clay.
I’ve had this on my bucket list since I first heard about it at a travel show a few years ago. I mean, where else in the PNW can you ride in an authentic Venetian gondola?
We met up with John, the owner and professional gondolier, who took us for an epic ride around the Gig Harbor marina.
It was a full narrated tour of the Gig Harbor waterfront including historic homes, quirky facts, and lots of fascinating history. Plus, he serenaded us in Italian!
This is probably the smoothest boat ride I’ve ever been on and I just can’t recommend it enough. Our kids thought it was super cool, too!
Read my full Gig Harbor Gondola review HERE.
While we were in Gig Harbor, we decided to quickly swing by the Harbor History Museum. It’s a free museum (donations encouraged) that showcases the history of Gig Harbor.
It’s really well done and there are lots of hands-on exhibits woven throughout the museum.
One of the quirkiest exhibits is the one featuring rocks. Apparently, Gig Harbor has a long-running competition for the roundest rock and some of the winners are on display at the museum!
But, our favorite part was the school house. We got to walk in and see what classrooms were like decades ago. It was fun to talk about how school has changed since then.
You can also see people working on the Shenandoah boat in an outdoor area.
This museum is small and you can easily do it in less than an hour. I think we zipped through in about 30 minutes.
Drove to Tacoma
The Harbor History Museum was our last stop in Gig Harbor. Then, we hopped in the car and drove over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Downtown Tacoma.
The Harbor History Museum showed a cool video about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, so our 7-year-old was fascinated as we drove across it.
The last time we did a trip to Tacoma, we participated in a candy tour by Pretty Gritty Tours. One of our stops was the Almond Roca Factory Store and now I try to hit it anytime we’re in the area.
So, when I noticed my 4-year-old had fallen asleep on the drive, I seized this opportunity to grab discounted chocolate confections and salt water taffy!
The store is really tiny and easy to shop in just a few minutes. It’s definitely worth a quick stop.
I know there are Zeek’s Pizza locations around the Seattle-area, but our family hadn’t eaten at one before. It was so good!
The staff was super friendly and the food came out pretty quickly. We each ordered our own mini pizza and then shared an order of breadsticks (which was basically cheesy bread).
The kids loved it so much that they keep asking when we can go back there!
It’s located right in the Arts District in Downtown Tacoma and it’s a super convenient place to eat in Tacoma.
We also noticed a Sam Choy’s Poke to the Max location just a few doors down. That’s also a great lunchtime option!
After our bellies were full, we headed on a little Art Walk around Tacoma. The first stop was the Bridge of Glass.
This is a cool pedestrian bridge that features tons of awesome Chihuly glass art work. There are some installed in the ceiling in the tunnel and there are some in enclosed walls.
There are a few concrete stumps along the way that are good for sitting or standing on for a better view.
Plus, the bridge goes over the road so kids sometimes get a kick out of watching the cars and trucks go by.
After we crossed the bridge, we headed into the Museum of Glass. This is an awesome Tacoma museum featuring glass artwork for all kinds of artists.
There’s even a section of glass art inspired by kids’ drawings!
The exhibit areas are pretty fascinating. There are a lot of different types of glass artwork, including ones that look like paintings, and even a life size broken swing set.
As we explored the museum, we saw a few educational videos that showed the glass blowing process.
But, the real treat was heading into the Hot Shop. This is a working glassblowing studio with a place for an audience to watch glass artists at work. It was mesmerizing!
We stayed about 30 minutes and I literally had to drag my husband and kids out of there so we could continue our afternoon.
We continued our walk by heading to the Tacoma Art Museum.
On Saturdays, kids are free. And Bank of America cardholders are also free (that includes Alaska Airlines credit cards)!
I was really impressed with the quality of artwork here. They have touring exhibits, but their permanent exhibits are really awesome.
They also have a really amazing gift shop with all kinds of unique items for both kids and adults.
After we were done with seeing art, we hopped in the car and drove to Point Ruston. This is definitely a cool area on the Tacoma waterfront.
I had rented a surrey bike with my oldest son a few years ago and it was pretty fun! So, we decided to get one for our entire family.
The kids’ legs weren’t long enough, so my husband and I had to do all the pedaling ourselves. Boy, were we exhausted!
We only lasted about 30 minutes but we were laughing (and panting) the whole time.
Parent hack: If you’re struggling to pedal uphill, hop off and push!
After we returned our surrey to Wheel Fun Rentals, the kids decided to play at the cool playground located right next door.
We still had some time before our dinner reservation, so we walked up to Point Ruston Public Market.
The main reason we headed here is that we knew there was an Owen’s Meats location. We always hit their Cle Elum location when we go over the pass, so this is much more convenient.
The Point Ruston Public Market is pretty awesome. It’s a great place to find locally made items like honey, cookies, produce, ciders, and more.
Of course, I smelled cookies as soon as I walked it and beelined to order a variety of flavors. They were super tasty!
There was also some easy grab and go food, as well as a coffee stand. Definitely worth a stop!
I’m so glad we had a reservation for Duke’s Seafood because it was a sunny Saturday evening and there was a long line.
We were seated outside with a stunning view of the water. As the sun went down, staff members came around to turn on the outdoor heaters.
We’ve eaten at a few Duke’s Seafood locations, but this one is hands-down our favorite.
The food was super tasty and hit the spot after a long day of exploring Tacoma.
When we couldn’t eat another bite of dinner, we headed to the Marriott Tacoma Downtown to crash.
The kids kept calling this the “fancy” hotel and they immediately hopped into bed.
The location of this hotel is super convenient for families as it’s easy to walk to a ton of attractions, restaurants, and the streetcar.
Day 3: Sumner
I have to admit something. Despite living in the Seattle-area my entire life, this was my first time ever visiting Sumner. I didn’t realize just how close it was to Tacoma!
After checking out of our hotel, we hit the road to explore Sumner. Since our family loves crepes, we headed straight for Craft 19.
It’s an adorable creperie and cafe right on Main Street. The interior is very Instagrammable and their food is outstanding!
I’m glad we asked about the size of their crepes before ordering because they are huge! The kids split a Nutella banana crepe, I had a French toast crepe, and my husband had a savory crepe filled with sausage, egg, and hashbrowns.
They have both indoor and outdoor seating available and everything is first come, first serve.
Street Art in Sumner
After stuffing ourselves on crepes, we felt the need to walk around a bit to help with our digestion.
The town of Sumner is incredibly cute and there are lots of places to see cool street art.
We did a little photo walk while window shopping. And we also checked out a little park in the middle of town.
So, it might seem strange to include a furniture store as a stop on a Seattle staycation itinerary, but this place is seriously special.
Yes, it’s a furniture store, but it also has some incredibly quirky decor, animatronic characters, a fudge shop, and model trains that run above the entire store.
There’s even a train viewing area for kids with a steering wheel. And grown ups can step on a secret lever to make the train whistle blow!
In the kids furniture section, there’s an entire window display with mini trains. Kids can push buttons to get the trains to move.
I think we spent a full hour just walking around.
Antique Shopping on Main Street
This past year, I’ve gotten really into antiquing, so I was excited to see a few antique shops in Sumner.
I stopped in a few shops on the walk back from the Old Cannery and they had a lot of interesting items.
In addition to the antique shops, there’s also a Goodwill boutique shop called Blue. It’s kind of like a curated Goodwill store with a variety of clothing and vintage items.
Indie bookstores are one of our top places to visit when we travel. We love supporting local businesses and the staff usually help us find unique treasures.
We loved checked out A Good Book right on Main Street! It’s full of both new and used books. Plus they have antique books.
It’s way bigger inside than we expected. And they have a little loft area upstairs for their kids section.
We ended up buying way more books than we expected because there were just so many cool things!
It’s definitely the place to go if you love the thrill of the hunt or want to find the perfect gift for someone.
After all this shopping, we were starting to get hungry. And it was perfect timing since we had a reservation at The Windmill Bistro.
I’m so glad we had a reservation because this Sumner cafe fills up quickly! In fact, they ran out of reservations moments after we arrived and they had to start turning people away.
I’m not exaggerating when I say they might be home to the best chicken salad sandwich ever. It was the perfect ratio of chicken, mayo, and grapes and I would easily drive back just for lunch.
The kids loved their Beecher’s macaroni and cheese. And my husband devoured his Reuben sandwich.
They had tons of indoor and outdoor seating available and it’s totally worth the hype.
The Windmill Gardens
After lunch, we decided to explore this little shopping area a bit more. It reminded me a lot of Country Village in Bothell, with quaint shops.
The largest store here is Windmill Gardens. This is a huge nursery filled with all kinds of plants and garden decor.
They really have a bit of everything and it was nice just to walk around and get inspired to revamp our own backyard.
There’s also a little indoor area with gift shop items.
The last stop on our Pierce County road trip was Maris Farms in Buckley, Washington. They host a lot of events throughout the year.
We got to experience their first ever Baby Animals and Blooms event. It seriously surpassed our expectations!
It was basically a kids dream outing! There were lots of outdoor play structures, including a ropes course, massive slides, and a huge pile of tires.
There was also tractor rides, tug-of-war, tether ball, carnival games, bouncy area, and more.
This is in addition to all the animals on display and the photo-ready tulip field.
One of our favorite things was getting to meet Patrick from Area 253. He did a glassblowing demonstration that was super impressive. In fact, my 7-year-old even got to help make a cool medallion.
Like I said, they have special events throughout the year. They have a new sunflower festival in August/September and then their famous pumpkin patch in October.
After Maris Farms, we drove back home. It was a packed weekend and we were the “good” kind of tired.
If you live in the Seattle-area, these are all easy things to do as a day trip. Or, if you’re heading to Seattle on vacation, you might consider adding a day or two to explore the South Sound.