Tacoma Dune Peninsula_02

Be Dune-spired!

Visit and Explore Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma

While there are plenty of sand dunes around the country, there’s only one urban park on the planet that long ago helped inspire a major theme in Frank Herbert’s 1965 sci-fi book, Dune. Herbert was born and raised in Tacoma, and Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park is named in honor of his famous novel—a tribute to one of the book’s main ideas: that humans can protect the planet from the perils of pollution.

Visit the Dune Peninsula today and it’s hard to believe that this young park (only five years old) was long ago a rather noxious area because of a smelter operating in the area from 1890 to 1986. This inspired Herbert’s sci-fi ideas about protecting places from plumes and fumes that can lead to ruins. Fast forward many years, and plentiful progressive initiatives coupled with deep dedication have transformed this space into a thriving 11-acre beauty. Beloved by locals and visitors, Dune Peninsula is a nature-infused landscape of prairie grasses, indigenous flowers, picnic spots, and wowing views of glistening Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic Mountains. Photographers seek that perfect picture of Mount Rainier from here.

Walk the paved loop path, honorarily named Frank Herbert Trail. Medallions quoting Dune inspirations are embedded on the path. In fact, Dune-fluence abounds here: the massive bronze sculptures twisting out of soil … those are the giant sandworms.

Stay: With outstanding views and within a few minutes’ walking distance of Dune Peninsula at Point Defiance Park, Silver Cloud Hotel Tacoma at Point Ruston Waterfront can’t be beat for its location. It’s the only boutique hotel and spa (there’s also a rooftop pool) along north Tacoma’s shoreline, just feet from the beauty of Puget Sound and the surrounding Cascade and Olympic Mountains, including Mount Rainier.

The hotel is accompanied by a modern village of restaurants, artisan shops, an entertainment center, and shoreline pathways. Rooms are spacious, and the service friendly. The on-site restaurant is a nice place for enjoying outdoor scenery while catching up on the latest sports scores at the upscale bar. While parks in the nearby vicinity have dog-friendly spaces, there's a no pet policy at the hotel.

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