Most people associate the city of Seattle with gray, rainy weather, but those who live there know that when the sun does decide to shine there are some seriously beautiful beaches located around the city.
Even when Seattle does live up to its rainy reputation, these beach parks have plenty of weather-friendly activities to offer, including hiking trails, volleyball tournaments, historic lighthouses, and stunning sunsets. These beaches will not disappoint.
Whether you’re on vacation or live in Seattle, you’ll want to be prepared when the weather cooperates. We’ve made a list of the most beautiful beaches this city has to offer so that when the time comes, all you have to do is pack a towel and some sunscreen – and pick the beach that sounds best to you.
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1. Alki Beach Park
Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach has been a local favorite for over 100 years. It was once the home to an amusement park, and the playful atmosphere lives on along this sandy shoreline.
Kids of all ages can enjoy the timeless pleasures of beach day activities like making sandcastles, splashing in the water, and exploring the tide pools. There’s also plenty of adult-friendly pastimes at this beautiful beach; one of the most common is simply chilling out with a cold beer and people watching.
There’s a 2.5-mile paved promenade for those who like to stay active, and it’s common to see rollerbladers, power walkers, and stroller-pushing parents getting a sweat on along this stretch.
Head west to take in views of the Alki Point Lighthouse, or head in the opposite direction to check out Duwamish Head and the epic views of the Seattle skyline.
More incredible views can be had along the main shoreline, and if you’re lucky enough to be here on a clear day you’ll be able to spot Mt. Rainier in all its glory from across the bay.
Alki Beach is one of only two beaches in the city where fires are allowed (in designated pits, of course), and it’s a great place to watch the sun go down.
2. Discovery Park
Discovery Park sits on a bygone military installation in the Magnolia neighborhood that has flourished into Seattle’s largest green space. It comprises over 500 acres of forest, meadows, dunes, and cliffs along the Pacific Coast and boasts impressive views of the Olympia and Cascades mountain ranges to the west and east respectively.
You could spend a whole day discovering all this park has to offer, from miles of secluded hiking trails to large expanses of sandy beach. On days that are less busy, you might even be lucky to spot seals along the shoreline.
Stop by the Daybreak Star Culture Center to learn about the native populations and other historical information about the area, or the Discovery Park Environmental Learning and Visitor Center for some facts about the local flora and fauna.
At the center of the park sits the West Point Lighthouse, a fun place to explore or catch a colorful sunset.
3. Golden Gardens
Another one of the most popular stretches of sand in Seattle can be found in the Ballard neighborhood. Aptly named for the lovely color it turns when the sun begins to set, this large, sandy beach is easily one of the most beautiful in the city.
The area has plenty of activities to keep you busy for the whole day – including hiking trails, volleyball courts, picnic facilities, and a massive parking area to accommodate the crowds in the summertime.
As the largest uninterrupted sandy beach area in Seattle, it is a prime spot to soak up some sun, cool off on a hot day, or simply take in the majestic views of the Olympic Mountains.
Golden Gardens is the only other beach that allows campfires in designated areas, and it’s a great spot to take in the beautiful sunsets that the city is known for.
4. Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park is definitely among the top beautiful beaches in Seattle. It’s got everything you’d ever need for an amazing beach day, from its sandy shores to the incredible views.
As one of the most underrated parks in the city, it usually remains relatively undercrowded – even in summer months. The sandy beach is loaded with driftwood, and you can enjoy incredible views of the Olympic Mountains while you beach comb or swim.
Lincoln Park offers more than just a sandy shoreline; There’s a heated saltwater pool in the summer, multiple picnic pavilions, a newly renovated playground, and numerous hiking trails spread throughout the bluffs behind the beach.
5. Green Lake Park
Green Lake Park is an iconic spot in northern Seattle, and is one of the few warm-water beaches in the city. Although the name does hint to some pretty murky water, the lake isn’t as frigid as the ocean – and locals don’t seem too put off by it.
Among its two sandy swimming beaches, the park also has popular walking paths that wind around the lake. They’re usually crowded, but these trails are a great way to see the whole park and get between the two beaches.
During the summer months, both areas have lifeguards on duty and you can rent kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards from the on-site concessionaire.
If you’re scared to dip your toes into Green Lake, there’s plenty of other activities to keep you busy. The park is outfitted with a soccer field, tennis and basketball courts, and even a zoo on the south end. There’s also plenty of dining options along the perimeter if you don’t feel like packing a picnic.
6. Madison Park
More fresh water can be found at the beautiful Madison Park situated on the shores of Lake Washington. The neighborhood is quaint and quiet, and this little beach is one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets.
Although the 400-foot stretch of beach is admittedly small, there are lifeguards on duty all summer and there’s even a floating raft anchored near the shore. There are lots of other things to do in the park if you don’t feel like braving the lake, including throwing frisbees and sunbathing in the grass.
Madison Park is also equipped with tennis courts, playgrounds, verdant walking paths, and great views of the Cascades.
7. Carkeek Park
Carkeek Park is a prime example of what can happen when a community comes together. Located in the northwest neighborhoods of Seattle, this park has been revitalized to be one of the most pristine parks in the city – all thanks to the residents of this area.
It’s a cornucopia of wetland, forest, and beach ecosystems, and volunteers have even managed to reintroduce salmon into Pipers Creek. It’s one of the few places where salmon runs still exist in the city, and there are various hiking trails you can explore within the park to get a real sense of just how diverse this area is.
The beach itself is truly one of the most beautiful in Seattle, with stunning views over the Puget Sound and plenty of beachcombing opportunities once the tide goes out.
8. Madrona Park
Located down the hill from the Madrona business district, this urban oasis is home to one of the most beautiful beaches in Seattle.
Although the lake might be a little frigid, even for the burliest bathers, there are lifeguards on duty all throughout the summer for those who are looking for a swim.
For those who aren’t interested in an icy dip, the large, grassy expanse is a welcoming place to work on your tan or simply relax and take in the stunning scenery. You’ll have great views of the city from across the lake, and on a clear day, you’ll even be able to catch a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Mount Rainier.
There’s also a picnic area you can reserve in advance – which you definitely should, if you plan on visiting the pavilion on a busy summer weekend.
9. Denny Blaine
Head south along Lake Washington for a unique bathing experience.
Denny Blaine beach is in a nice secluded area – so secluded, in fact, that you might feel comfortable enough to strip down to the nude – and you wouldn’t be alone! Many sunbathers don their birthday suits to soak up some sun where the sun don’t shine.
On a clear day, Mt. Rainier stands tall in the distance, and there are some seriously magnificent trees to boot.
10. Seward Park
Mostly known for being surrounded by impressive some of the last old-growth forests in the city, Seward Park is a popular summer hangout for Seattle locals.
This beautiful beach sits on 300 acres on the Bailey Peninsula of Lake Washington and offers great views of Mercer Island and Mt. Rainier on a clear day.
Andrew’s Bay is located on the west side of the park and has been named “Party Cove”. This is a popular place for boats to anchor during the summer months, and although they like to have a good time, they don’t usually get too rowdy.
Ppread out on the grassy shores or go for a hike along the park’s verdant trails for a more relaxing experience
11. Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
As one of the less crowded beaches in Seattle, Richmond Beach Saltwater Park affords a sense of calm that can be hard to find in the big city. It is a bit further out (15 miles north of downtown), but it’s a price worth paying to get away from the hustle and bustle.
The sandy shores stretch out for a mile, and offer incredible views of the Olympic Mountains over the Puget Sound. This secluded area is popular for family picnics, especially during the summer months, and is also a favorite for birdwatchers and those with four-legged friends thanks to the designated off-leash dog area.
12. Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
Located a few miles outside of Seattle in the city of Renton, the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach park deserves a spot on our list of most beautiful beaches in the city.
It’s a popular summer hangout on Lake Washington’s southeast shore, with plenty of activities to keep the whole family busy. There’s a beautiful swimming beach, multiple boat launches, and a fishing pier. If you’re tired of the water, you can head to the tennis courts, check out the walking trail that runs along the shore, or simply hunker down and enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Families love this park for its playground equipment, picnic shelters, and numerous community events that take place here throughout the year.
13. Fay Bainbridge Park
A trip to Bainbridge Island is a right of passage for everyone visiting Seattle – and Fay Bainbridge Park is well worth the ferry ride to get there.
A quiet, sandy beach awaits you with spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, and the Cascades. Kayaking is a popular activity, and once you’ve worked up an appetite, you can enjoy a picnic in the park or venture into town and dine at one of the quaint, waterfront taverns.
If you’re looking to make the most out of your trip, pack an overnight bag and hike from the park to a waterfront campground via the Cascade Marine Trail.
14. Magnuson Park
The second-largest park in Seattle is located on an old military base on the shores of Lake Washington. The park now boasts a mile-long shoreline with great views of Mt. Reinier.
There’s plenty to do besides splash around amongst the beautiful scenery. Magnuson Park also has a community center, tennis courts, a dog park, and various art installations.
Check out the wetland habitat along miles of trails, and once you get hungry, head back to one of the picnic areas, complete with grills and public restrooms.
15. Myrtle Edwards Park
This five-acre park is located on the Elliot Bay waterfront, linking Centennial Park and the Olympic Sculpture Garden.
The 1.25-mile path along the shore is a popular place for jogging, there are plenty more trails to choose from if you’d like to extend your run. The sculpture garden is a sight to behold and is a must-see when you’re in this area.
This park is more than just a spot to pass by. The sandy shores offer great views of the Puget Sound, especially around sunset.