Have you ever been swimming in the Puget Sound? Growing up I don’t remember going into the Puget Sound at all. Not even on a boat! Swimming in lakes like Ohop or Spanaway? Sure. But actually swimming in Commencement Bay? No. Certainly not in the winter.

Can you swim in the Puget Sound?

Back in the winter of 2017 I had the chance to meet Dean Burke of the instagram account @tacomaandthesea. Dean is now the CEO of Travel Tacoma.  Deann took me paddleboarding on the Salish Sea in the middle of a freezing December day. In a wetsuit. We met at the dock in Tacoma’s Old Town neighborhood, unloaded the paddleboards, and just hopped right in.

Want to learn more about Dean’s passion for the Salish Sea, the Seventy 48 Race, and Tacoma’s history with its waters? Check out Dean’s interview on the Move to Tacoma Podcast, “Tacoma and the Sea with Dean Burke.

Swimming in Commencement Bay Year Round

In the spring of 2018 I met Melissa Burke while filming an episode of “Meet the Neighbors 253” that featured the story of her and her husband Paul, who was battling cancer.

In the fall of 2018 I went swimming with Melissa and her friends with no wetsuit in the chilly puget sound waters. It was a powerful experience. I know myself well enough to know I’m no cold plunger, but I definitely recommend finding ways at your comfort level to get in and on the waters of commencement bay.

How do I cold plunge in the Puget Sound in Tacoma?

Obviously all you need to cold plunge is a big cold body of water and some warm clothes for when you get back out. If you’re interested in finding community while you plunge, connect with. the Puget Sound Plungers. They put. their schedule on instagram and plunge most days of the year!

How do I go paddle boarding in Tacoma, Washington?

The first place I went paddle boarding was just my parking the car and hopping in the water at the beach next to the dock in Old Town. That said, if you don’t already own a paddle board you can go down to the Foss Harbor Marina on the Thea Foss Waterway and rent one. You can also rent paddle boards and kayaks from Metro Parks at Owen Beach in the summer. For a full list of where you can rent kayaks, boats, etc with Metro Parks click here.

Big Bus Paddle sports offers a mobile paddle board rental service out of Jack Hyde Park in Tacoma’s Old Town on Rustonn Way.

Big Bus Paddle is a local Black-Owned business and they even do private party rentals! Learn more here.

If you’re in Gig Harbor we’ve heard Lee’s SUP is a great place to get your paddle boards. Lee’s SUP also has Kid’s Camps in the summer if you’d like to help your kids get out on the water safely!

Whether you’re in a bikini in February or paddle boarding in the summer it’s a completely different way of experiencing Tacoma. And maybe seeing an orca up close!

Marguerite Martin is the creator of MovetoTacoma.com, a Neighborhood Guide, Blog, and Podcast about people who live in Tacoma, Washington.

Want to learn about neighborhoods in Tacoma?

MovetoTacoma.com was created by Marguerite Martin, a real estate agent in Tacoma since 2005. Click here to contact Marguerite for a zoom call and get answers to your questions! Marguerite has helped hundreds of people move to Tacoma over the years.

Learn about what people who live in Tacoma’s neighborhoods think about their communities. Marguerite at MovetoTacoma.com has interviewed hundreds of people over the past 10 years about life in Tacoma. These are excerpts from those interviews:


Wondering how Marguerite and Move to Tacoma can help you as you explore neighborhoods?

Step 1: Explore the Clickable Neighborhood Map of Tacoma

Our clickable neighborhood map of Tacoma’s neighborhoods is our pride and joy. Click through to find images and videos of each neighborhood. The Neighborhood guides on the map also include median home price information, blog posts about the neighborhoods, podcast episodes about the neighborhoods, and candid quotes from local neighbors.

Step 2: Listen to the Move to Tacoma Podcast

The best way to learn about Tacoma is to hear from the people who live here. On the Move to Tacoma Podcast Marguerite interviews Tacomans who’ve been here generations and Tacomans who just got here. From business and technology leaders to politicians and activists and everyone in between. The Move to Tacoma Podcast will give you insight into why people move here and how they find meaning and happiness in Tacoma.

Step 3: Read the Blog Posts on MovetoTacoma.com

On the Move to Tacoma Blog we have been writing about things to do in Tacoma, where to eat in Tacoma, hot button community topics, neighborhoods and more since 2015. There are hundreds of posts to help you find what you love in the City of Destiny. From posts about where to eat and drink to interviews with locals- the blog is a great place to keep up one what’s happening in Tacoma and Pierce County.

Step 4: Get a Realtor Referral from a Local Realtor

Marguerite Martin is a different kind of Tacoma real estate agent. Reach out to find out answers to questions you have about neighborhoods in Tacoma and Pierce County. When the time is right to start looking, Marguerite can connect you with a local real estate agent who specializes in the neighborhoods you love most. You can see reviews from past clients who’ve worked with Marguerite on Yelp and on Google.


Picture of Tacoma Realtor Marguerite Martin with text that reads "Ready to move to tacoma?" Contact Marguerite Marguerite has been a real estate agent in Tacoma for more than 18 years. She can introduce you to the best agents in town, at no cost to you!