Puyallup Fair is better than Disneyland

Washington State Fair

I know it’s called the Washington State Fair now but I had to make sure the Puyallup Fair gets its due in the annals of written history. Since early childhood I’ve preferred a well-planned marathon in Puyallup to a plodding weekend in Anaheim. Since early childhood I’ve been verbally executed by people of all ages for harboring this opinion.

We used to go on bracelet day. Preferably early morning, midweek, in the pouring rain. There is no better scenario for maximizing your ride quotient, as most people (even Northwesterners) are at school/work or less than thrilled to hang out in the rain riding wet, greasy rides. Their loss.

You could easily bank 20 rides before lunch if you were on your game. I don’t know if I’ve ever banked 20 rides in an entire weekend at Disneyland. Space Mountain is awesome, but the crowds, lines and prices make it no match for a good day in Puyallup. We have taken our daughter to do the Puyallup the past couple years. Contrary to what I’m hearing from plenty of other parents, I find it glorious. A $27 Dizzy Pass is good for a day of unlimited rides, and you simply can’t beat that at Disneyland.

Downtown Tacoma via Puyallup River

If you’re like me, you’ve often wondered what it would be like to take a kayak down the Puyallup River. Your ship has come in. This article and subsequent video should provide everything you need to know when taking this safe, fun journey through the wilds of Pierce County. You can park cars behind the Puyallup Fred Meyer on River Road and drop boats in the water under the bridge to Hwy 167. There is a nice sandy beach under the bridge, perfect for this sort of thing.

We left the other car at The Dock building on Dock Street in downtown Tacoma and it took us about 4 hours to connect the dots. 2 1/2 hours of the trip is like riding an escalator – very relaxing and calm. The last hour and a half did involve a pretty good paddle, but only because of the way we timed the tide. Surprisingly, when the tide is coming in, Commencement Bay actually backs up into what appears to be the last mile of the Puyallup River. So we were effectively paddling upcurrent and downstream at the same time for awhile, even though that really doesn’t make sense until you’re there.

You loop around the Simpson Lumber Mill (the one with the smokestacks and giant sawdust piles in the middle of the port – this is a site to behold if you’ve never been close to it) and cut across Commencement Bay to Dock Street.

I highly recommend this for anyone with a kayak in the Tacoma area. It’s just too easy and convenient to pass up. The river level is high right now because of all the warm temps and mountain runoff; I assume this is key to the whole operation. Obviously, if the water level is low, the conditions will change drastically, and you may end up carrying boats over sandbars in spots.

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO of what we encountered. Good luck, and please drop us a line if you try it.