Got a kite and want to fly it? The coast is the place most people think to fly a kite, but there are suitable places closer to home, too. Before the rains set in for good, fall can be a good time to fly a kite as the wind usually picks up this time of year.
A kite will fly in winds of 5-25 mph, though the best flying is usually found at the middle of that range. You don’t need a gauge to measure the wind. If you feel a steady breeze on your face and tree branches are rustling, you’ll have a good chance of getting your kite into the air.
- A kite. This one is obvious!
- A helper. Unless you are a very experienced flyer, getting a kite off the ground without a helper can be a challenge. Helpers hold the kite at the base. When the flyer gives the line(s) a tug, the helper releases the kite and the wind will lift it into the sky.
- Wide open space. An area away from trees, power lines, and buildings allows for good airflow and ensures your kite won’t fly into anything. For safety sake, don’t fly close to roads or other people. Unoccupied sports fields in public parks or on school grounds when school is not in session can offer enough space if the area is not surrounded by tall trees or too close to buildings and fences.
Another helpful item is a small flag or piece of ribbon. Holding the flag or ribbon in the air will show you the direction the wind is blowing and allow you and your helper to align the kite into the breeze. The end of a kite tail will also work for this step. The flyer should stand with their back to the wind, and the helper faces the wind, holding the kite until the strings are tight and the kite lifts away.
A tail can be attached to keep the kite stable in strong winds. In light winds a tail may hinder a kite’s flight.
We’ve scouted some places in Thurston County to get your kite out of the closet and flying. These are all public parks with ample space for your kite to soar.
Kite Hill at the RAC
8345 Steilacoom Rd SE
Parking Free in adjacent lot
Between the baseball and soccer fields at the Lacey-Thurston County Regional Athletic Complex (RAC) is good-sized hill that overlooks the park with the enticing name of “Kite Hill.” The hill is far enough from trees to catch a nice breeze and allow the kite flyer to stay a safe distance from people enjoying other activities in the park.
Between 5th Ave and Water St downtown
Parking Free in lot along 5th Ave, metered parking along Water St
Heritage Park has an open grassy area great for catching breezes off the sound. Walking paths and a sidewalk surround the area, so be an aware and conscientious flyer as many walkers and runners frequent the park.
Pioneer Park in Tumwater
5801 Henderson Blvd SE
Parking Free in adjacent lot
When not in use for soccer games or practice, the fields at Pioneer Park are wide open and perfect for kite flying. The wind should funnel down the river valley and keep your kite aloft.
Along the Yelm-Tenino Trail
Parking off Rochester St between Centre St and Minnesota St
On the north side of the Yelm-Tenino bike trail that runs through the town of Rainier are good sized open areas with plenty of space for you and your kite. Be sure to stay away from the power lines and Highway 507 which run parallel to the trail to the south, and be aware of cyclists and walkers on the trail.
Longmire Community Park
16820 Canal Rd SE
Parking in adjacent lot
There is an open area between the baseball and soccer fields to fly a kite at Longmire Community Park, or around the fields if no games or practices are scheduled. This park could get busy during tournaments, so plan your outings around those events to give yourself the best flying conditions.