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Clam Picking and Family Fun: A Day at Dash Point State Park

Clamming season at Dash Point State Park, a bucket full of clams

Are you searching for the perfect family-friendly destination where your little ones can frolic in the sand, explore the shoreline, and maybe even discover some hidden treasures? Look no further than Dash Point State Park, a picturesque haven nestled along the Puget Sound in Washington state. 

Here in Washington, we are fortunate to reside in a region where we can gather delectable, nutritious seafood from publicly owned tidelands. Clam digging with your kids at Dash Point State Park offers not just a fun activity, but also a chance to connect with nature and enjoy the fruits of the sea.

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Clam Digging with Kids

Of course, no visit to Dash Point would be complete without indulging in one of its most beloved activities: clam picking. Join the throngs of eager shellfish enthusiasts as they comb the shoreline in search of delectable treasures hidden beneath the sand. Before you head out, be sure to check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website for information on shell fishing regulations and licensing requirements. Remember, timing is key—plan your clam picking adventure during low tide (an hour before low tide!)  for the best results!

Clam Season at Dash Point

Planning a clamming adventure at Dash Point State Park? It’s essential to be aware of the designated clam season to ensure a successful and enjoyable experience. At Dash Point, clamming season typically spans from September 1st through May 31st each year. However, it’s crucial to stay updated on any changes or updates to the season.

For the latest information on clamming season dates, regulations, and any updates, be sure to check the official website of Dash Point State Park. Their website will provide you with the most current and accurate information to plan your clamming excursion effectively.

Handy tips to enhance your clam digging experience

Safety: Check Shellfish Toxin Levels Before venturing to the beach for a clamming excursion, prioritize safety by checking the shellfish toxin levels. Utilize the shellfish safety map provided Washington Department of Health to ensure the beach you plan to visit is safe for shellfish harvesting. If toxin levels are high, consider exploring an alternative location for your clamming adventure.

License: Obtain a Shellfish Permit Ensure compliance with regulations by obtaining a shellfish license before clamming in Washington state. These licenses are typically available for purchase online or at most sporting goods or large grocery stores and cost around $15-20 per person. Notably, children up to age 15 can clam for free, making it an accessible and family-friendly activity. The licensing year spans from April 1 through March 31.

Rules: Understanding Clam Harvesting Regulations Familiarize yourself with the rules governing clam harvesting to ensure a successful and legal experience. Different clam species may have specific size (in general they must be at least 1 ½ inches to keep. Razor clams have their own rules) and quantity regulations. 

Gear for Clamming

Proper attire is essential for a successful steamer clamming expedition. Depending on the weather conditions, you have various options to consider. In rainy weather, heavy-duty gear is recommended, while sunny days may call for tall boots and an outer layer of clothing. However, clamming without adequate footwear, such as everyday sneakers, is not advisable, especially in muddy and sandy conditions.

What do adults wear for clamming?

The ideal gear for clamming includes tall boots or waders, providing protection and comfort as you navigate the shoreline. In the Pacific Northwest, where outdoor activities abound, investing in quality outdoor boots is highly recommended. BOGS boots, in particular, are favored for their durability and reliability, making them a popular choice among clamming enthusiasts.

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What do kids wear for clamming?

For kids, attire may vary depending on weather conditions. From light jackets and tall outdoor boots to full-on rain gear, it’s essential to dress them appropriately for comfort and protection from the elements.

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What tools do you need to dig clams?

As for the tools needed for clamming, simplicity is key. Whether it’s a dedicated clamming tool or a shovel or small hand rake from your gardening arsenal, the choice is yours. In fact, for our first clamming excursion, we used a simple garden rake and shovel, and it worked just fine. With minimal equipment required, clamming is an accessible and enjoyable activity suitable for the entire family.

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Activities Besides Clamming for Water-Loving Families

Unleash your inner explorer as you set foot on Dash Point’s expansive 3,300 feet of shoreline. Marvel at the unobstructed views of the Puget Sound as you embark on a quest to spot clams, starfish, crabs, and other fascinating marine life. Let your children’s imagination run wild as they build sandcastles, splash in the gentle waves, or test their balance with a bit of skimboarding. Whether your family is seasoned water enthusiasts or just dipping their toes in for the first time, Dash Point’s shoreline offers something for everyone, from leisurely strolls to thrilling water sports.

Kid Friendly Hikes

For those who prefer to stay on solid ground, Dash Point has plenty to offer beyond the water’s edge. Lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure along 11 miles of scenic trails, winding through towering forests and tranquil meadows. Keep your eyes peeled for native wildlife, from majestic eagles soaring overhead to elusive deer grazing in the distance. Mountain biking enthusiasts will also find their slice of paradise on Dash Point’s 8 miles of exhilarating trails, suitable for riders of all skill levels.

Parking: Discovery Pass Required

Before you embark on your Dash Point adventure, don’t forget to purchase a Discover Pass, which grants access to Washington state parks. You can buy online or at the convenient automated pay stations make it easy to obtain a one-day or annual pass upon arrival if you do not have one already. We normally buy our when we register our car tabs, there is a handy Discovery pass add on during that renewal, or you can also visit your closet outdoor recreational store such as REI.

So, what are you waiting for? Gather your family, pack your sunscreen and sense of adventure, and head to Dash Point State Park for a day of clam picking, beachcombing, and endless memories by the sea.

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