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10 Things to Know Before Moving to Bonney Lake, WA

Written by Zach Spanton

Bonney Lake, Washington is a lovely hamlet that welcomes newcomers with open arms. With more and more individuals relocating to Bonney Lake, the attractions of this vibrant city become more apparent. Residents of the relatively small town of Bonney Lake tend to remain put for quite some time after they settle there. 

Bonney Lake is well-known as an outdoor enthusiast’s haven, situated around 16 miles southeast of Tacoma. The lake is home to great parks, popular hiking spots, and exciting water attractions like Lake Tapps.

Here are ten things to know before moving to Bonnet Lake, WA.

1. The cost of living is 31% higher than the national average

Before you move to Bonney Lake, be sure your budget can handle the 31% higher cost of living compared to the rest of the country. The costly real estate market and local transit services in the city are the main factors contributing to these costs.

Bonney Lake has 67% higher housing costs and 1% lower utility bills compared to the rest of the country. Prices for public transportation, such as buses and gas, are 17% more expensive than the national average. Compared to the rest of the country, supermarket prices in Bonney Lake are 22% higher. The median home price in the city is $636,629.

2. Bonney Lake has a beautiful natural environment

Nearly twenty thousand people call Bonney Lake home, and for good reason: the scenery is breathtaking. 

As you go about your day, you’ll be greeted by the gorgeous Cascades and the imposing Mount Rainier. The area is filled with stunning natural attractions, including Victor Falls and Lake Tapps. 

3. There is no Downtown area

The lack of a real downtown area is something that the people of Bonney Lake often complain about. Bonney Lake lacks the lively and attractive downtowns of neighboring towns like Puyallup, Tacoma, and Sumner, where one can find a wide variety of businesses, restaurants, and cafes.

Although Bonney Lake did plan its downtown in 2001, it has been difficult to put that plan into action. The city’s vision of a vibrant downtown gathering spot has not come to fruition, despite certain accomplishments like the Main Street building and the Justice and Municipal Center. So, for food, shopping, and entertainment, many Bonney Lake residents frequently find themselves venturing to adjacent areas.

Strip malls in Bonney Lake have chain businesses like Costco, Fred Meyer, Target, Walmart, and Safeway, among others. But you’ll have to leave Bonney Lake if you want to experience the distinctive shops and lively culture of a real downtown region.

4. Locals aren’t the most welcoming

You might be familiar with the term “Seattle Freeze,” which refers to the apparent reluctance of Seattleites to establish new social ties. This occurrence is equally unique to Bonney Lake, where it is known as the “Bonney Lake Freeze.” People in Bonney Lake aren’t always the friendliest when it comes to welcoming newcomers, according to several locals. Maybe this shouldn’t be too shocking, considering how close Bonney Lake is to Seattle—the city famous for the Seattle Freeze.

But keep in mind that everyone’s experience is unique. Making friends may be difficult for some newbies at first, but it’s definitely doable. Creating friends and acquaintances in a new city requires the same amount of work and planning as doing it in any other place. Meet people and become a part of the community by joining local groups like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, or community organizations.

5. Traffic moves slowly in Bonney Lake

The traffic in Bonney Lake is more of a case of the excruciatingly slow speed at which traffic moves than the typical traffic jams or congestion seen in bigger cities. It can be frustrating when some drivers here don’t want to go fast, especially if you’re accustomed to speedier roads.

Even on wider roadways, Bonney Lake frequently enforces somewhat low-speed restrictions, with numerous streets capping traffic at 25 mph. In addition, the city’s infrastructure is finding it difficult to handle the influx of new residents. Large planned communities like Tehaleh have traffic congestion, especially around school drop-off and pick-up hours, because there is only one way in and out.

State Route 167 and similar highways likewise have trouble keeping up with the volume of traffic, which results in delays during rush hour. The good news is that these roads will be getting upgrades and extensions in the near future. By 2028, SR 167 will have undergone a three-part expansion. However, commuters from Bonney Lake would do well to familiarize themselves with the area’s back roads and steer clear of them during rush hour.

6. Sumner School District serves the city

A large chunk of the neighboring Sumner School District consists of the 3,814 students living in Bonney Lake who are of school age (5–17 years old). Together, these young people make up almost 20% of the total population of the city.

Here are some of the best Bonney Lake schools: Victor Falls Elementary School, Emerald Hills Elementary School, Lakeridge Middle School, Mountain View Middle School, and Bonney Lake High School.

Two colleges—Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, and Green River College in Auburn, Washington—are relatively close to Bonney Lake.

7. Work in sectors like healthcare and manufacturing, or work in nearby Tacoma

Quite a few people from Bonney Lake travel roughly sixteen miles to Tacoma every day to go to work. This short journey usually only takes around twenty-five to thirty minutes in either direction.

Because of the abundance of well-paying jobs in the healthcare, manufacturing, retail trade, construction, education, and transportation service industries, the typical Bonney Lake household earns $90,580 per year.

Among the most prominent local employers in the Bonney Lake area are MultiCare Health, Light Dental Studios of Bonney Lake, Comcast, and Bonney Lake Pierce County Library.

8. Enjoy outdoor activities at Allan Yorke Park or Viking Park

With its abundance of outdoor attractions, Bonney Lake is a great place for people of all ages to have a good time. The proximity to Lake Tapps makes Allan Yorke Park one of Bonney Lake’s most popular attractions. A skate park, sports fields, and a playground for kids are all part of this expansive open space, which also offers opportunities for swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding.

Viking Park, another popular destination in Bonney Lake, is located directly across from Bonney Lake Elementary School. There is a great playground and plenty of open areas for youngsters to run around and play in this neighborhood park. On the other hand, the off-leash dog park is a huge hit with pet owners who want to let their dogs run about and get some exercise.

9. The property crime rate is higher than the national average

There is significantly less violent crime in Bonney Lake, compared to the rest of the United States. Bonney Lake has a comparatively low risk of violent crime, with a rate of 9.2 compared to the national average of 22.7. 

However, the city has a property crime rate of 39.8, which is considerably lower than many other American cities but still higher than the 35.4 US average.

10. It rains a lot but it doesn’t snow much

Seasons at Bonney Lake range from moderate in the summer to cold and rainy in the winter. Typical summer highs reach 77 degrees Fahrenheit, while winter lows hover around 34 degrees. Precipitation in the region averages 29 inches per year, with the majority occurring between November and February. Rarely more than 5 inches of snow falls each year. All year round, the city experiences moderate humidity, between 60 and 80%.

On a yearly average, Bonney Lake receives 49 inches of rainfall. Annual rainfall in the United States is 38 inches on average.


Moving to Bonney Lake, WA, offers a natural environment with beautiful landscapes and outdoor activities. There are ample job opportunities and great schools.

However, the higher cost of living and property crime rate should be considered before making the move. Likewise, traffic moves slowly, and there’s a lack of a vibrant downtown. 

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