With 16 hours of sunlight at the height of summer, Seattle is a spectacular spot for a beach day. For that classic surf-and-sand experience, West Seattle’s Alki Beach Park (1702 Alki Ave SW) has everything you need for land (a pathway for walkers, roller skaters, bicyclists, and joggers) and sea (Puget Sound water suitable for swimming, kayaking, and stand-up paddleboarding). When the sun goes down, cozy up around one of Alki’s fire pits.
Find the same s’mores-ready perk at Ballard’s Golden Gardens Park (8498 Seaview Pl NW). Here, you can go fishing, hike through forest trails, play beach volleyball, or just dig your toes in the sand and bask in the grandeur of the Olympic Mountains.
If a refreshing dip is on the to-do list, pack your sunscreen and head to Matthews Beach Park (5100 NE 93rd St), the city’s largest freshwater bathing beach. It’s especially fun to get to this Lake Washington hangout by bicycle, which is easy to do given its convenient location on the Burke-Gilman Trail. A couple of miles south, Magnuson Park (7400 Sand Point Way NE) is a 350-acre former military base with a whole host of amenities, including a swimming beach. Find the spot near Kite Hill and the installation known as Fin Art, where recycled submarine wings in the grass look like whale fins peeking out of the water.
For families, Madison Park Beach (1900 43rd Ave E) offers plenty of amenities, including a bathhouse with restrooms, a play area for kids, a diving board, a swimming raft, and lifeguards in the summer. Lounge on the grassy slope, then walk across the street to discover cute shops and restaurants.
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