Overview of Sunny Side Park

Sunny Side Park

USA West


Sunny Side Park is a perfect place for a relaxing day of diving. Away from the currents of the Narrows, you can be assured of an easy dive with plenty to explore. An abandoned sewer pipeline that runs off-shore from the beach always has plenty of creatures to observe.

Directions: Found 13 miles South of Tacoma, there are other ways to get here. The easiest, most direct route is to take Exit 119 North on Steilacoom Road. This road winds its way down to the water where it becomes Union Ave. Take a right on Lafayette, and continue on as it becomes Chambers Creek Road. You'll see the park on your left.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

06/01/2014 H2OGrrl (Avg: 3.54 Review) - My buddy and I have been exploring South Sound dive sites and this one came up as worth a look. We both enjoyed the site enough to do 2 dives the day we went. Here are some bullets to narrow down the pros/cons.
1) Good accommodations at the park picnic benches, outdoor shower, bathrooms, play ground, undercover BBQ area.
2) From inside the park it's an easy walk down the stairs to the beach and dive entry point.
3) Super easy to find the start of the pipeline: From the outdoor shower set your compass to 290 (or the right side tip of the island across the water) and go until you get to ~35-45fsw, depending on the tide.
4) Small pipeline on a very gradual slope. We only followed it down to 80fsw, but the pipeline carried on after that. Deeper exploration is possible.
5) Underwater lines that lead to the sunken skiffs, frosty the snowman and various other items. Worth the tour.
6) Lots of critters: GPO's, sea pens, surf perch, rock fish, crabs, gunnels, tube snouts...so many critters.
7) Even on a 10ft exchange (8ft to -2ft) we experienced almost zero current on both of our dives. Though it is always a good idea to follow all safe diving practices when planning your own dive...meaning, our easy current day may have been a fluke.
1) Parking is currently $5/day. Bring cash, they don't accept regular park, state, etc. passes.
2) Parking fills up FAST, especially after 10AM on the weekends. Don't expect to find parking in the summer if you arrive later.
3) It's a bit of a walk from the parking lot to the gear-up area (by the outdoor shower).
4) Tons of boats in the area during the summer, so bring a flag. (Note: We did bring our flag and the boats graciously obeyed the 200' rule…and came toward the shore as soon as we took our flag out of the water after our 2nd dive. Lol!)

02/18/2011 Mark in Lacy (Avg: 3.24 Review) - I've been to this site a few times. Good for beginning divers to practice skills. As was said before, other than the pipeline and a few boats, it's barren. But if you like crabs this is an excellent spot to pick some dinner up. Saw quite a few sole and as long as your not bouncing off the bottom vis isn't bad.

05/17/2009 Pat Guthrie (Avg: 3.63 Review) - This dive was fairly fun. The pipeline and 1 boat were easy to find but the north boat eluded us. Lots of anemone, crab, bottom fish, some nudis, jellies and squid eggs. I had a decent time and would probably go back soon. Good photo ops with the relatively clear water and easy diving. The park itself is nice too and they have DIVING here :)

08/13/2008 Kenn (Avg: 3.25 Review) - August 10, 2008 Parking fee is still $5. You cannot drive into the park at all as some of the previous information says. Highly recommend a dive flag as boats may be directly overhead. Within 40 yards of shore, depths of 20 feet or less are great for working on skills and checking equipment out. A few fish & crabs here. Pebble bottom and visibility was up to 20 feet this day. If you go out on the north side of the volleyball court area, large log to explore underneath for life. Nice to take a hand cart to take tanks with you to and from the dive entry point. Otherwise, you will be carrying them a couple hundred yards each way. Cold water rinse showers are nice too. Nice park with restrooms and with picnic tables to have lunch.

09/30/2007 Rick from Tacoma (Avg: 2.77 Review) - Dove here for my certifying dives. Find the sewage pipe at about 40ft and follow it out. That's where the marine life gathers. There's even an octopus at about 60ft. Other than that, the bottom is rather barren with the exception of sea pens.

08/31/2006 James Weiler (Avg: 3.06 Review) - This is where I did my first open water dives. The current was strong and visibility was terrible but I felt it was a nice place for a beginner like myself. Unfortunately I got deployed to Iraq a few weeks after and have not been able to dive since. I will probably dive there again to refresh when I get home. I was hooked from my first dive and hope to dive a lot more when I return in Sept 2006.

08/14/2006 Robert from Sandy (Avg: 3.40 Review) - I enjoyed the dive, but never found the boats because they are not attached to the rope. When returning our tanks, I asked and was told that boats are now 10-15 feet farther from the shore than the rope. I probably would have seen them had I known to look that way. Wasted most of the first dive just finding the pipe due to instructions found here. Recommend going straight out from the volleyball court, following the bottom. You will find the rope on the bottom at about 30' deep, not 50' as I expected. Turn left and follow the rope to the pipeline.

07/22/2006 Chauncey Gardanier (Avg: 2.86 Review) - Excellent dive site for conducting classes.

04/16/2005 Daniel Hershman (Avg: 2.60 Review) - Night dive in March showed little wildlife, lots of sole, a few crabs and one squid. The sunken boat was pretty uninteresting.

02/06/2005 Ed Kenney (Avg: 3.46 Review) - In multiple dives at this site I have enjoyed seeing creatures I rarely see elsewhere. Though in decline now, the huge orange sea pens are a magnificent sight, day or night. Geoducks in such profusion are hard to miss. This is also where I saw my first northern sturgeon poacher and sailfin sculpin. On one dive I played with a medium size octopus for a half hour, as I blocked the entrance to its lair, an abandoned boat refrigerator, in return for it doing tricks to lure me away. It was one of the smartest octos I have seen. Right after the Nisqually earthquake, there was a big crack at this site right off the shoreline. A minor annoyance is the kids frolicking around whatever you leave on shore, accidentally kicking sand in their enthusiasm. I almost always have kids hovering about as I kit up, with great questions. In the summer there is a nice shower and good restrooms, and a terrific old-fashioned restaurant nearby on the main street.

09/06/2003 D.S. Dive X Apparel (Avg: 2.81 Review) - This is not a great dive site and there is not much to see here other then the pipeline and a few sunken boats, one of them has Santa and Frosty on the Port side of the boat to greet you. If you take a 280 deg. heading from the wind pavilion you should find a line leading to the pipeline. Then from the junction box there is another line that will take you to the larger of the two boats in the water. There is a resident octopus in the bow of the 12ft. boat next to the pipeline. Its pretty much just a nice dive if your in the mood to get wet.

03/04/2003 Brad Charters (Avg: 2.27 Review) - This place is great to go to as long as you don't go with extreme beginners who can't stay off the bottom.

03/25/2002 Max (Avg: 3.23 Review) - We did half of our advance dives here last year. I recently came back here to dive with my brother, now I remember why I didn't come back before. Other than diving on the pipe, there isn't much to see here, other than a lot of mud. But in all fairness it is a great dive site to get back into the water or to take classes. There are a couple of resident octopuses under the pipe.

10/28/2001 Kim (Avg: 4.58 Review) - Follow the pipe and see lots of life! Just beyond the pipe is the rope to follow to the 2 boats.

10/16/2001 Janna Nichols (Avg: 3.71 Review) - Sunnyside beach has a gently sloping sandy bottom with two areas of interest: A pipeline just off the wind pavilion, and a few wrecks, just off the pilings area. Entry is easy, facilities are complete with showers, but don't forget the $4 parking fee, exact change required. There is a surprising amount of life around the pipeline and wrecks, with sculpin, rockfish, anemone, octopus, and in the summer, snake pricklebacks!

10/08/2001 Chuck Knauf (Avg: 4.08 Review) - The park opens at 8:00 AM and closes at 10:00 PM. Presently there is a $4.00 fee charged to park in the parking lot. We usually carry our dive gear the several hundred feet from the parking lot to the entry point in two trips. To dive the pipe, you have to find it first! Swim straight out from the Wind Pavilion/showers and at about 50 feet of depth, turn right and swim directly north. Shortly, you will find the pipe. You can follow the pipe down to a depth of over 100 ft. or turn back towards shore and follow the pipe a short distance to a large cement box. Attached to the north side of this box, you will find a yellow line that leads to a small sunken boat with Santa Claus sitting at the helm. From the bow of this boat, you can follow a second line that leads to another more dilapidated sunken boat. There is plentiful sea life in and around the boats and the pipeline. You can find octopus, eels, perch, crabs, many kinds of starfish, large sea cucumbers, rockfish, sea pens, anemones, nudibranchs, flounder, gunnel, shrimp and many other sea creatures. A very enjoyable shore dive for all levels. Water temperature is about 45 F. in the winter and as warm as 53 F. in the summer. Take your dive light, camera and a buddy and DIVE SAFE!!

10/07/2001 Lori Butterfield (Avg: 3.11 Review) - First time back in the water for us in over a year and we needed an EASY dive to get our fins wet again. While not the best dive site in the Sound, in my opinion, it can be enjoyable, esp. if you're looking for a place to just get wet and practice some skills. The pipeline has enough life on it to justify the trip. This would be a GREAT site for a beginner; non-current-dependent and stress-free.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1501


Parking at Sunny Side Park 

Some prefer to suit-up in the large parking lot.


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1502


Overview at Sunny Side Park 

Others carry their gear over the railroad tracks to the grassy park.




Overview at Sunny Side Park 

If you're lucky enough, commandeer this picnic table by the entry for your day's stay!


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1504


Entry at Sunny Side Park 

After one last check of your gear, head straight out to the pipeline.


 Map     Sat
GPS: WA1505


Entry at Sunny Side Park 

Mom maintains the 'hands-off approach' as her 12-year-old heads out with Dad for an hour of adventure!




Aerial at Sunny Side Park 
(click photo for details)

There's no way to be disappointed with this dive site!

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Sunny Side Park  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.53
Bottom Conditions:  3.24
Reef Conditions:  2.47
Animal Life:  3.24
Plant Life:  2.65
Facilities:  3.94
Solitude 3.18
Roads:  4.00
*Site Average:  3.27

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.65
Beginner Scuba:  4.41
Intermediate Scuba:  3.41
Advanced Scuba:  2.88
Night diving Scuba:  3.59

Number of reviews for this site: 17


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