What: Twanoh is a 182-acre marine state park with 3,167 feet of shoreline on Hood Canal. Washington State Parks' website boasts that this is one of the warmest saltwater beaches in Washington, but you probably won't notice the warmth this time of year. Twanoh is a good place for watching wildlife, walking on the beach, playing volleyball or taking a short hike on the 21/2 miles of trails. The park is open for camping all year.
Hike description: The Chambers Creek Properties is a unique set of parcels totaling more than 930 acres which include a former 650-acre commercial gravel mine, two miles of Puget Sound shoreline, and a pristine three-mile-long forested ravine and creek, with opportunities for beach walking.
What: Santa Runs Tacoma offers 5- and 10-kilometer races and a 1-kilometer race for kids and even a two-runner 10-kilometer relay. Participants are encouraged to run in holiday costumes. There will be a costume contest as part of the festivities. Santa also will run.
Hike description: The Charles L. Pack Experimental Forest houses the University of Washington's Center for Sustainable Forestry.
What: A 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) or 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) fun run in Kent on a flat, fast course. Last year, more than 1,800 people participated in the event that is organized by Kent Parks and Recreation.
Hike description: Hike through forest and across clearcuts, where the views are magnificent. Trail No. 1183 starts out as a nice wide gravel path. When the gravel ends, the trail starts to head uphill with switchbacks and long inclines. It crosses two old, unused Forest Service roads before arriving at the junction with Trail No. 1174, which will be on your left. The junction is well-signed but is easily missed as you slog uphill. If you come to what looks like a Forest Service road with a sign across the road for the continuation of Trail No. 1183, you have gone too far. Just hike up the road to the left, toward the end of the road, for lunch with a view. On the way back down the trail you will see the sign to Doe Falls, now on your right.
What: This 119-acre park along the Satsop River is open all year. It draws families and fishermen who are pursuing cutthroat trout and salmon. The park also is a good place for swimming and bird-watching.
What: Bogachiel is a remote, 123-acre forested park along the Bogachiel River on the Olympic Peninsula. It is open for camping all year. The park has a short hiking trail and offers easy access to explore the Hoh Rain Forest. The park is a popular spot for bird-watching.
Hike description: A walk through history, exercise and views all can be found on the Iron Goat Trail.
Hike description: All hiking guide books indicate Packwood Lake is crowded. This has not been our experience of late.