Water is big around Federal Way. The city is located right on the Puget Sound, and the area has many lakes. Everyone has a boat of some sort. My family had four -- a canoe, two kayaks and a ski boat that my dad built from some sort of kit, and which could only pull a skiier out of the water if he or she weighed 80 pounds or less. (I was over the limit.)
Federal Way doesn't have a marina or boat launch, but the town just to the north, Des Moines, does. By the way, don't pronounce Des Moines, WA the same way you would pronounce Des Moines, Iowa. Washingtonians like to pronounce every consonant (sometimes) and they also like to add consonants that you can't see in the printed word. In Washington, (or "Worshington" as you'll often hear), it is "Duh Moynz". Be sure to pronounce that last "S". If you say "Duh Moyn" (the Iowa version), you'll instantly be labeled as a tourist. Same goes for carrying an umbrella.
The marina is a good spot to launch a sail boat, but not a ski boat. Puget Sound is too choppy for water skiing. We always went inland to Lake Tapps near Tacoma. Lake Samamish east of Seattle near Bellevue is another good spot for waterskiing.
When I am in the Seattle area for an extended stay, one of my most favorite things to do is visit Olympic National Park on the Olympic Peninsula. It is easily accessed from Federal Way by driving south through Tacoma and then over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (aka, "Galloping Gerty")
The Olympic National Park is huge, beautiful and remote. The hiking is extraordinary. Cars are only permitted in a very small part of the park, so plan on a lengthy hike or two to really appreciate the beauty of the peninsula.
Perhaps the biggest event in the Puget Sound area is Seafair. It is held throughout July and into the first week of August every year and features hydroplane races on Lake Washington. In 2006, the 57th annual race will be held. Seafair is more than just hydroplane races - although the races are definitely the big draw. The fair also features an air show, marathon, triathalon, parade, booths, fireworks and many other festivities.
Driving in Federal Way can be confusing with the assortment of different numbered streets and the directions. An example is 1617 S 324th St, meaning its 1677 south at 324th street. If it is your first time here, better have a map quest or rand mcnally maps handy in your car. Remember that you main point of reference is the Interstate 5!
When in Federal Way, the choice is allways going to seattle since the small city of federal way has not much of a night life and attractions. Federal way ias actually nearer to Tacoma, being the next door neighbor but most locals prefer to go to Seattle which is about a 35 minute drive via Interstate 5 North so it is not much a hassle going to Seattle. besides, Seattle is a very Beautiful city and is not as touristy as Los Angeles hence it is very clean and smog is non-existent. Seattle also is the center of the Pacific Northwest and is the headquarters of Nordstroms and Starbucks. Costco headquarters are located in nearby Everett and Boeing at Seattle and Microsoft's Bill Gates lives here.
If you're a beer drinker and traveling in Washington, don't miss 99 Bottles. ...it's like a beer museum, only you can purchase the beer! The stock is always changing due to limited/one-time brewings, seasonal beers, and rotating releases...99 Bottles keeps over 850 beers in stock year-round.
There's beer from over 50 countries, throughout the USA, and lots of local Pacific Northwest microbrews that you won't find anywhere else. Ales, lagers, hard ciders, and a few meads. All are priced by the bottle, so you can select singles and mix your brew packs. You can also buy multiples, full packs, etc. -- just multiply the bottle price times the quantity. There's also lots of beer glasses and brewery t-shirts.
Wednesday nights are staff pick night where you can try a high-end beer (generally starting ~$8/bottle) for just a buck. The Second Tuesday of every month is style night, where you get to try 6 beers for $5 (club members $2.50). Plus, there's a rotating schedule of tasting events where brewers, importers, and brewery reps come in and you get to sample their line-up (generally 4 to 6 beers for $1 to $5). Must have valid ID with you to sample or purchase beer. The beer tasting calendar is at 99bottles.net
Children are welcome in the store, but parents be aware: there's a lot of glass.
Closed Mondays. Open Tuesday thru Saturday 10am to 8pm and Sunday noon to 5pm.