On Black Friday 2016, when many will be shopping indoors, nature lovers of all ages and abilities will be having a whale of time in Tacoma, Washington. Starting at 11am at Owen Beach along Five Mile Drive and Point Defiance Park, whaling enthusiasts will be gathering to hear from local whale watchers and possibly see some of them as they swim near the shore. Choosing to #OptOutside in the Pacific Northwest, we have many unique opportunities. This event in Tacoma is yet another example of why living in Washington State is so incredible.

Now, I know what you are probably thinking.”Why would I want to go to Tacoma on my day off?” or “There are whales in Tacoma?”

To the first question, I say stop that. Tacoma is pretty rad, has some cool hikes, incredible views and plenty of facility-friendly adventures. If you haven’t hiked or trail ran at Five Mile, you are missing out on a local classic. Even those not into hiking will enjoy Point Defiance Park’s flower gardens, ponds with fish and ducks and many the hidden gems. Even walking along the waterfront at Ruston Way is pretty spectacular, especially on a sunny day with Mount Rainier looming large to the east.

To the second question, I will respond will a simple “Yes!” In the past few months, Tacoma has had numerous whale sightings all around, but most frequently at Owen Beach. In early November, whales were spotted from the shore nearly every day for a week. While you may view this as a fluke (pun intended), the whale spotting has been consistent and awesome this entire month. As recently as the 23rd of November, humpback whales were spotted in the southern-most reaches of the Puget Sound, down by Anderson Island. A great way to see if whales are in your area of the Puget Sound or Salish Sea, or to know if they are headed your way is to check Orca Network on Facebook. This is a phenomenal tool for whale watchers throughout the region and the people who update it are awesome. This isn’t me saying this to appease them, either. They have no idea we are writing this article or that we exist. Sad, I know.

Whale images by Tacoma resident Knotty in Nature. Shot with an iPhone 6.
Whale images by Tacoma resident Knotty in Nature. Shot with an iPhone 6.

Seriously though, if you want to learn about our local whales, explore a great city park and #Optoutside in the Pacific Northwest, consider heading to Owens Beach this Black Friday. Along the shores of the Puget Sound, watch for whales, look up at bald eagles soaring overhead and reconnect to the beauty of our home. We are lucky enough to have this experience right in our backyards and it is time we not take it for granted. Starting after Thanksgiving, head outdoors and enjoy nature again.


  • When: Friday, November 25th, 2016.
  • What: Whale Watching and Whale Talks
  • Where: Owen Beach in Tacoma, Washington. Here is the Map.
  • How Much: FREE

For more destinations like whale watching at Five Mile, pick up your copy of Base Camp Olympia.

Shipping winter 2016. Available for pre-order as eBook and Softcover Collector’s Edition today.

Pre-order your copy today!
Pre-order your copy today!

Whale images by Tacoma resident Knotty in Nature.