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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Tinsley

Living in Steilacoom, WA




I moved to the South Puget Sound from Seattle in 2005, pretty much right after I graduated from college at UW Seattle. Typical story - I followed the boy (now my husband), rented an apartment in University Place for a short stint while I worked in Auburn & Puyallup, and then bought my first home in Steilacoom, a cute little 900 sq ft. townhouse that we still own and rent out to this day. Josh, my husband, was born and raised in Steilacoom and all I ever wanted since he introduced me to the chickens at his childhood home, was to raise my family here. With my finance background, I ended up snagging a Bank Manager position at the KeyBank in town (which is now the Steilacoom Tap Room!), met anyone and everyone (because this was literally the only bank in town), and became super involved in the community. The bank hours were 10am-2pm, so I had afternoons to volunteer and network - it was really quite a dreamy job. Eventually, after many life and career changes, my wish came true and here we are raising our girls in the best little town with our own flock of chickens. Somehow I also convinced my parents to move here just a block away from me!


Let me introduce you to Steilacoom, a truly hidden gem in the Pacific NW.


1. A Rich Tapestry of History Established in 1854, Steilacoom is Washington’s first incorporated town, and its history is deeply woven into its streets and architecture. The town boasts a well-preserved historic district with buildings and homes that transport you back to the 19th century. The Steilacoom Historical Museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that offer a glimpse into the town’s intriguing past. It is definitely a must-visit, as well as our iconic Town Hall, Wagon Shop, Bair Bistro, and Tribal Museum. The town even offers a historic tour of buildings and historic homes that is free to anyone.

2. Scenic Beauty All Around Nestled along the shores of Puget Sound, this historic town is one of the Pacific Northwest's best-kept secrets. Steilacoom offers a unique blend of small-town charm and scenic beauty. One cannot talk about Steilacoom without mentioning its breathtaking surroundings. The panoramic views of Puget Sound, with the Olympic Mountains forming a majestic backdrop, are nothing short of awe-inspiring. Sunnyside Beach, with its serene shores and picnic spots, is a favorite among locals and visitors, as well as Saltar's Point Beach, and other quiet view points.

3. A Close-knit Community Steilacoom exudes a genuine sense of community, and is home to a little over 6,700 residents. These residents are proud of their town's heritage and come together to celebrate various events, from the Annual Grand 4th of July Festival, Annual Apple Squeeze Festival to the popular summer concerts held at Pioneer Park. The weekly farmer’s market in the summer is another testament to the town’s community spirit, where local vendors offer fresh produce, crafts, and delicious treats. There are several ways to get involved in the community if you desire to do so! Some options are to become members of the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association, Kiwanis Club of Steilacoom, the Steilacoom Chamber of Commerce, Steilacoom Sports Boosters, the Steilacoom Garden Club, just to name a few. On Friday nights in the Fall, you're sure to find a high school football game you can help cheer on and enjoy a good game. And of course, if you stop by the popular coffee shop, Topside Coffee Cabin, you're always sure to find a familiar face!

4. Outdoor Activities Galore Nature enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities to indulge in. From kayaking on the Sound to hiking the trails of nearby Chambers Bay or Farrell's Marsh, there's something for everyone. The town's parks and hills are perfect for leisurely strolls, and for the more adventurous, there's always the challenge of getting on a paddle board in the sound!

5. Proximity to Urban Centers While Steilacoom offers the tranquility of small-town life, it also provides the convenience of being close to urban centers. Lakewood, DuPont, University Place, and Tacoma are all a short drive away, offering a mix of art, culture, and vibrant nightlife. We are next door neighbors to Joint-Base Lewis McChord (JBLM) for those with military access just minutes away. Steilacoom is easily accessed by 2 exits on Interstate 5. Coming from the North, Gravelly Lake Drive exit #124, takes you through back roads in Lakewood, along JBLM boundaries, into the upper part of town. Exit #119, the Steilacoom-Dupont Rd exit is best accessed if you're coming from the South. It is a straight shot into town and would take you quite literally to the ferry dock. For those wishing to explore the broader Pacific Northwest, Seattle is easily accessible, making Steilacoom a strategic base for both work and leisure.


Living in Steilacoom, WA is like having a slice of historical charm combined with modern conveniences, all set against a backdrop of nature's finest artwork. It's a place where the community is not just a concept but a daily experience, and where the beauty of the Pacific Northwest is at your doorstep. For those looking for a balanced lifestyle that offers both serenity and accessibility, Steilacoom might just be the perfect home for you.


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