Here’s our latest destinations installment from Lynne Picard of SalishSeaPilot.com, — the first in a three-part series on cruising Puget Sound, beginning with the South Sound.

One gets the sense from scanning social media that once the US/Canada border reopens there’ll be convoys of boats from Puget Sound making their way north to the wilderness of British Columbia (BC) coastal waters.

Canadians looking for somewhere different to explore, or Americans who haven’t yet cruised the waters close to home, might take this opportunity to explore “the Sound” when there are relatively few boats there.

After spending last summer on the west coast of BC, in lonely coves isolated from anyone and everything, reminiscing about my favorite destinations in Puget Sound reignited the delights of cruising where cosmopolitan cities and charming historical towns share the shoreline with sandy beaches and spits, peaceful anchorages and breathtaking mountain backdrops.

In the first of this three-part series, I will look at some of our favorite destinations in the southern-most reaches of Puget Sound. Some of these destinations have already been covered in previous posts and I will link to those.

The eastern waters of the South Sound offers anchorage and dock space in many parks, with Cutts Island among our favorites. There are several bays nearby that offer more protected anchorage if the wind pipes up. Dinghy or kayak to the Island View Public House, a most-pleasant spot to while away a few hours chatting with the locals.

Filucy Bay is a well-protected anchorage with stunning views. Ashore is the popular Longbranch Marina from where you can stretch your legs with a brisk walk along the road. Although there is not a lot on offer ashore, maybe that’s part of the appeal.

The start of south Puget Sound, with Gig Harbor, Tacoma and nearby anchorages. Chartlet is from Salish Sea Pilot’s cruising guide to Puget Sound.

Penrose Point State Park has forest trails, a vast expanse of drying shore, and beach walks with Mount Ranier as a back drop. With mooring balls and lots of room to anchor it’s a good place to spend a few days.

We’ve previously written about Hammersley InletHope Island and Vaughn Bay in the western side, all of which are great destinations. Hammersley Inlet is a unique adventure well worth the detour.

A few days in Olympia Harbor is not to be missed. We love the Port Plaza dock. Although it can be pre-booked for group or family events, the marinas offer good alternative visitor moorage. There is a farmer’s market just a few minutes walk away, a shorefront walkway past restaurants and shops to a supermarket, and a good long walk to the State Capitol grounds. Enjoy the foodie and beverage attractions that city life has to offer.

South of Tacoma Narrows are found the lovely anchorages off Carr Inlet and Drayton Passage. Chartlet is from Salish Sea Pilot’s cruising guide to Puget Sound.

For a change of pace, head to peaceful McMicken Island, surrounded by beach with a beautiful tombolo. Mooring buoys and anchorage are on either side of the island. One nice thing about cruising the southern reaches of Puget Sound is there are few ferries to watch for.

Stretch Point State Park offers a lovely beach for swimming. It can be busy during the day, but serene once the runabout picnickers head home. With five mooring buoys and a protected anchorage in prevailing summer winds, and nearby Fair Harbor Marina to satisfy your ice cream cravings, it’s one of our choice destinations.

Among the many attractions just north of Tacoma Narrows, historic Gig Harbor is a popular destination. Well protected, with much to do ashore, it’s a smorgasbord of all the perks a tourist town can offer.

The state capital Olympia, as well as Case and Hammersley inlets, are among attractions at the furthest reaches of the South Sound. Chartlet is from Salish Sea Pilot’s cruising guide to Puget Sound.

For a quieter experience, cruise into Quartermaster Harbor to the excellent anchorage off Burton Acres Park where you can walk the trails and visit a nearby general store.

On the way to Tacoma, Point Defiance public dock makes a great afternoon stop. Trails, a zoo, gardens, a swimming beach and nearby Anthony’s Restaurant offer choices.

Tacoma was an unexpected pleasure for us. We had the guest dock at the Seaport Museum to ourselves and — with more museums, great restaurants, cafes and clubs — we stayed on longer than planned. There is also a bus that runs to Point Defiance if you missed stopping there on the way in.

We tie up behind a fancy tour boat at Olympia’s Port Plaza docks.

The south end of the Sound has a less busy, more laid-back atmosphere than the northern areas, but also much to choose from if, post social distancing, you are craving more social contact in your life. With craft breweries, bakeries, delis and local eateries — one could enjoy a break from home cooking and Covid bubbles once we return to more normal times. Here’s hoping we can cross the border again soon!

Coming soon, we will explore our favorite places in and around “Puget Sound – Seattle and Around” in our second installment in this three-part series.

Also, catch our webinar video about cruising Puget Sound.

Read the full post of Salish Sea Pilot.