Seattle’s shoreline, made of 147.52 miles of fresh water and 53.38 miles of salt water (200.90 miles total!), leaves a lot to discover any time of year. In late spring, summer and early fall you’ll find beachgoers getting their tan on and splashing in the waves. From late fall to early spring, joggers dash along the sand while others sit and watch the ferries shuffle people across the bay. And can you imagine how gorgeous it is when the leaves change color and reflect off the water?
Here are some beaches you can visit during your trip to Seattle to get a real taste of Pacific Northwest seaside lifestyle:
Chances are that if you mention the word “beach” to anyone in the Seattle area this is the first one they’ll think of. This is the picturesque coast: volleyball players dive in the sand while others laze and watch under umbrellas. Grab some fried local halibut and sit at the picnic tables by the sea or find the monument remembering the arrival of settlers to Seattle in 1851.
Those looking for a beach with a great view of the sunset should look no further than Golden Gardens. This rock and sand beach gazes over Shilshole Bay with Bainbridge Island and the Olympic Mountains on the horizon. Search wetlands for wildlife, hike through forest trails, fish from the pier or launch a kayak and explore the water.
If you continue walking north past the Olympic Sculpture Park, you’ll notice that the monuments are slowly replaced by lush green trees. You might even see cyclists whizzing by on the 1.25-mile bike path on their way to work! At Myrtle Edwards Park, you’ll see how you can still be in the city but feel so far away.
Lake Washington is so big that a lot of people assume it’s part of Puget Sound. Despite being just across from Elliott bay, this freshwater lake is the biggest in King County- so big that it even has an island inside of it! This beach offers a comfortable grassy area to lay towels on before taking a dip and plenty of picnic areas to sit and eat your lunch at.
Another Lake Washington beach, Madison Park Beach is a great place to get together with friends. Enjoy the grassy areas that slope toward the water or bring your kids to play on the swings and climbing equipment. If you’re feeling hungry you can check out one of the cute restaurants across the street and do some window shopping at boutiques nearby.
Magnolia is a large residential peninsula just north of Downtown Seattle. The largest park in Seattle proper, Discovery Park (the U.S. Army’s former Fort Lawton) takes up about ¼ of this neighborhood. The park has beautiful views from cliffs overlooking Elliott Bay below and endless trails that wind through the woods and lead you to the beach. At the tip of the peninsula you’ll see West Point Light, a lighthouse built in 1881.
Before this park offered an off leash area for our furry friends, it was Naval Station Puget Sound, an air station for the US Navy. When it became decommissioned the state realized it was the perfect piece of flat land for the public to enjoy. Today you’ll find fields, a picnic area, a beach, walking and bicycling paths and a grassy hill made from pieces of the old airfield tarmac.
As a bonus…
If you’re a thrill-seeker who loves water activities, then Wild Waves is the place for you! Open from May – November, Wild Waves is both a Theme and Water Park that is fun for people of all ages. It’s perfect for those hot summer days when you want to stay cool. In October and November, those who dare can check out Fright Fest: when the park transforms into a spooky haunted attraction!
*Did you know? Some photos that appear on this page are public domain! Neat!