Point Defiance Park
Almost 700 acres of gardens, forests, footpaths, and shady picnic areas jutting out into Puget Sound at the tip of the narrow Point Defiance peninsula make up Tacoma’s Point Defiance Park. It reminds visitors of the best metropolitan parks in America, but once you've seen it, the cliff setting with its views and thick forest will make most other similar parks seem modest.
This is an amazing place, with an array of attractions to please almost anyone. Originally set aside as a military reservation, the park was given to the city of Tacoma in 1888 for use as a public park.
Point Defiance Park is home to several beautifully maintained gardens. The Japanese Garden features a pagoda built in 1914, plus pools, a waterfall, and immaculate landscaping. A Rhododendron Garden covers almost five acres and is especially striking in the spring when the 115 varieties of rhododendrons bloom.
The Rose Garden contains a rustic gazebo and some 1,500 rose bushes that flower June through September. Other featured gardens at Point Defiance are the Iris Garden, the Dahlia Trial Garden (best time to see these is August), and the Northwest Native Garden, with plants from all six biotic zones in the Northwest.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition