There’s something special about summer in the PNW and nothing says SUMMER more than a day at the beach. A beach day is the perfect family-friendly outing for fun in the sun that delights everyone. There’re endless hours of activity (or relaxing). Play in the sand, go for a swim, wade into the water, hunt for seashells, race the waves, or relax on the shore. Lucky for us, the Puget Sound is full of great beach options. Here are our top 8 beaches in the area.
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Lake Sammamish Beach Park
2182 NW Sammamish Rd, Issaquah, WA 98027
Lake Sammamish Park sits along Lake Sammamish and promises a full day adventure for families. There are two lakefront sandy beaches to soak in the sun and splash in the water. Note of caution: it’s rocky so bring water shoes. Rent a standup paddleboard or kayak to get out into the water. At 531 acres, this park has everything including a state-of-the-art playground, bike paths for riding or strolling, trails that wind through the forest and wetlands, and grassy areas to just simply play.
Meydenbauer Beach Park
419 98th Ave NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Meydenbauer Beach is a Bellevue gem sitting along Lake Washington. The park is perfect for families with little ones. The smaller scale beach is shallow and clear making it great for little feet and hands to splash and play. The park includes a pedestrian pier, a beach house with restrooms and showers, a picnic area, and a play structure. The beach house offers canoe and kayak rentals on Wednesdays – Sundays through Labor Day and weekends through September. Note: There’s no shade – so come prepared.
8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Golden Gardens is one of the most beautiful beaches in the Puget Sound. This 87-acre park looks out toward the Olympic mountains. Enjoy this breathtaking view while relaxing and having fun in the sun. Kids especially love the small stream on the south side of the beach and playing on the playground. On hot summer days, the park is packed with beachgoers of all ages. Get there early, before the parking lot fills up – there’s always overflow parking on the street outside the park which does require a bit more walking.
Seattle, WA 98116
Alki Beach is one of Seattle’s large sandy beaches near the city and never fails to draw a crowd on a sunny day. Stunning views of downtown and the Space Needle, miles of sidewalk for strolling and biking, and cafes and restaurants across the street makes this a one-stop-shop for a family fun day.
Green Lake Park
7201 East Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98115
Green Lake is one of the most popular spots on a nice sunny day. The park features two swimming beaches, a playground, grassy areas, and a paved ~3-mile path. For the Summer 2023 season, only the West Green Lake Beach (near the theater building) will have lifeguards starting from May 29 on weekdays from 2pm – 7pm and weekends from 11am – 7pm. On June 24, weekday hours adjust to 12pm – 7pm. Note that this “beach” does not have much sand like some of the other lakes in the area.
Gene Coulon Beach Park
1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA 98056
At the southern tip of Lake Washington sits Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. This huge, sandy beach sparks fun for kids of all ages. There is a designated swimming area enclosed by a wrap-around dock with sand for the kids to play. The large, grassy lawn is great for spreading picnic blankets or playing frisbee. There’s a large playground for an epic time for kids and kids at heart!
Juanita Beach Park
9703 Juanita Dr NE, Kirkland, WA 98034
Juanita Beach in Kirkland is a popular beach for families in the summer. The swimming area is completely enclosed by a paved wrap-around dock that jets out over the water and there’s sand for kids to play. The water is very shallow, so kids can wade out a bit without parents worrying about hidden drop-offs. The playground provides thrills for all ages. There are picnic tables, grassy areas to play, and a tennis court. The bathrooms are clean and family friendly which is always a plus!
Houghton Beach Park
5811 Lake Washington Blvd NE, Kirkland, WA 98033
Doris Cooper Houghton Park sits along Lake Washington between Carillon Point and Downtown Kirkland. The beach is great for young kids – the sandy beach is prime for sand play, the shallow areas are great for splashing around, and the long pier is perfect for a stroll. The park features a ship-themed playground, beach volleyball courts, a picnic area, and ramp to launch a kayak or stand-up paddle board (rental stands are there in the summers).
Pack for Success
A day at the beach, especially with young kids, is no easy feat. Here’s a list of must-have items to make your day as easy and fun as can be.
Beach Chairs: As I age, sitting on the ground is NOT as comfortable as I remembered. We splurged on this ultra compact chair from Helinox that we love (we use for camping too). We also have a set of Tommy Bahama Lay Flat chairs for relaxation. For the kids, we have a set of character themed kids chairs too!
~ Beach Towels/Blankets – nothing worse than sitting on hot sand.
~ Snacks, lots of water, lunch
~ Baggies for diapers, wet clothes, garbage or found “treasures”