It might not have glorious year-round sunshine, and you won’t find too many palm trees dotted around the landscape, but as a city on the coast, there are some fantastic beaches in Seattle and along the Washington state coastline. From the saltwater of magnificent Elliot Bay on the west to the invigorating fresh water of Lake Washington on the east, and with the stunning Puget Sound framing the city, Seattle has over 200 impressive miles of shoreline.
Many Seattle beaches are dotted throughout the city. Some are vast sandy expanses that stretch for as far as the eye can see, while others have rugged, remote and dramatic terrains. Most are contained within popular parks with hiking trails, are excellent spots for a coffee, or provide the perfect backdrop to watch the sunset. But all have a natural beauty and are fantastic spots to relax. Here are our 20 best beaches in Seattle and the broader area of Washington State. If you intend to visit any of them, be sure to take your camera with you.
- 21 Seattle Beaches And Some Beaches In Washington State
- Beaches In Seattle
- Beaches In Washington State
21 Seattle Beaches And Some Beaches In Washington State
Beaches In Seattle
1- Discovery Park
Discovery Park is a popular nature space northwest of downtown spread across 500 acres (202 ha) on a bluff with a topography of meadows, cliffs, dunes and forest groves.
Jutting out around the Magnolia neighbourhood, two excellent beach areas are to the north and south of the bluff.
Both showcase sensational views of the Cascade and the Olympic Mountains and are the best Seattle swimming beaches, are perfect for sunbathing and beachcombing during low tide.
You can spot seals on these beaches, and they have a back-to-nature feel.
The wild coastal park has plenty of walking trails, and the West Point Lighthouse is also a landmark of note.
Discovery Park is at 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199.
2- Matthews Beach Park
Located on the northeastern part of Seattle, along the jagged shoreline of the Warren G. Magnuson Park, Matthews Beach Park is the largest freshwater beach in the city.
Taking the form of a narrow slither of sand that flanks the cove for around 100-feet (30 m), this popular beach is protected by a sandbar, which lies at the confluence of Thornton Creek and Lake Washington.
This is one of the beaches in Seattle that is an excellent spot for canoeing or kayaking.
It gets jam-packed with swimmers here during the summer months, and there are lifeguards on duty to look after you.
Matthews Beach Park is at 5100 NE 93rd St, Seattle, WA 98115.
3- Alki Beach
Extending for over two and a half fabulous miles of pristine golden sand, Alki Beach runs from Duwamish Head in West Seattle to Alki Point.
It is famous for once housing a Coney Island-style amusement park, it is also the historic spot where the first modern settlers landed in Seattle way back in 1851.
A popular destination for locals, the beach is good for sunbathing, building sandcastles, beach volleyball and paddling.
The 2.5-mile (4 km) path that runs parallel to the beach is a haven for rollerbladers, cyclists and skateboarders, often seen making fancy moves.
By the lighthouse, there are good tide pools to explore and a six-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty, which you can photograph next to the beach too.
Alki Beach is at 1702 Alki Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98127.
4- Carkeek Park
Covering around 200 acres (80 ha), Carkeek Park is a stunning green space in the northwest of Seattle with a breathtaking landscape of forests, creeks and wetlands, as well as the shoreline around the Puget Sound.
The beach here is one of the best tide pool beaches in Seattle.
During low tide, it extends by around 20 extra acres (8 ha), so it’s possible to walk several hundred feet out into the Puget Sound to immerse yourself in this impressive intertidal habitat fully.
A popular beach for sunbathing, kite surfing, fishing and skimming stones, the scenic views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains make this beach an excellent spot for a picnic.
It’s incredibly wonderful at sunset when the vibrant colours are amazing.
Carkeek Park is at 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd, Seattle, WA 98177.
5- Pritchard Island Beach
North of Beer Sheva Park, Pritchard Island Beach is a quaint beachfront that lies within the Rainier Beach area of the city.
Flanked by stately cottonwood trees, the beach area showcases fantastic waterfront views around Seward Park and Mercer Island.
This tranquil Seattle beach is a great spot to lay down a towel and read a book or take a break from life’s pressures.
The area also preserves a wide range of native fauna and flora, which you will love to explore if you are big into nature.
Pritchard Island Beach is at 8400 55th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118.
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6- Myrtle Edwards Park Beach
Flanking the waterfront around Elliot Bay, Myrtle Edwards Park is a gorgeous five-acre (2 ha) park with a lovely 1.25-mile (2 km) path that links Centennial Park in the north to the Olympic Sculpture Garden in the east.
The park is popular among locals who jog, walk and exercise there.
It also features several tiny, rugged strips of beach, perfect for relaxing while enjoying Puget Sound’s shoreline.
The park also features several public artworks, adding a distinct air of refinement to the area.
Myrtle Edwards Park Beach is at 3130 Alaskan Way, Seattle, WA 98121.
7- Madrona Park
Madrona Park is one of the loveliest parks in Seattle.
Tucked away on the shoreline of Lake Washington, you can reach it via a steep hill that leads down from the business district that shares the park’s name.
The beach here is small yet sandy and offers an incredible escape from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area, located about three miles away.
Swimming isn’t for the faint-hearted as not even Susie Dent can come up with a word for how cold the water can get. But it’s an excellent spot for fishing and picnicking, while the views of Mt Rainier and Bellevue are pretty amazing too.
Madrona Park is at 853 Lake Washington Blvd, Seattle, WA 98122.
8- Golden Gardens Park
You can find one of the biggest and most popular beaches in Seattle at Golden Gardens Park.
Situated in North Seattle, on the northwest edge of the Ballard neighbourhood, the park sprawls over 80 acres (32 ha).
The sandy beach there overlooks the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
It also features over 300 feet of shoreline, making it a popular spot for swimming, boating, kite flying and volleyball.
There is also a rustic pier which is great to fish off.
One of the best aspects of this beach is that campfires are allowed on it. So you can toast marshmallows around a fire beneath a starry sky and truly get at one with nature.
Golden Gardens Park is at 8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117.
9- Denny Blaine
Less than half a mile north of Madrona Park lies Denny Blaine Park.
Located on the Lake Washington shoreline in Central Seattle, the beach is renowned for being optional clothing.
Nicknamed Dykiki, on account of it once being a popular lesbian hang out, these days its frequented equally by both men and women.
The beach is regularly cleaned and features an old stone wall that separates the water and sunbathing area.
It has a funky, alternative vibe and is close to Kurt Cobain’s house for anyone who wants to pay homage to Nirvana’s lead singer.
Denny Blaine is at 200 Lake Washington Blvd E Seattle, WA 98112
10- Seward Park
Spread across 300 stunning acres (121 ha) of the Bailey Peninsula, which juts out dramatically into Lake Washington, Seward Park, is a popular spot for swimming, boating, sailing and hiking.
It’s also home to a sizeable family-friendly beach that lines Andrews’ Bay.
The beach itself is quite pebbly and has a full range of amenities.
There are several forested trails within the park, a children’s playground, tennis courts and an art studio.
It even has a large outdoor arena often used for concerts and other performances.
So all in all, it’s a great place to visit for a day out.
Seward Park is at 5900 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle, WA 98118.
11- Green Lake Park
About five miles (8 km) to the north of downtown Seattle lies beautiful Green Lake Park.
Surrounding Green Lake, a small glistening lake that was created during the last ice age by a glacier, the northern end of the lake has two picturesque sandy swimming beaches.
The sandy Seattle beach is lifeguarded in the summer.
Though the water might be cold for some to swim in, it’s an excellent spot for kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding.
A walking path circles the entire lake in a loop, which takes about an hour to walk.
Other amenities include a historic bathhouse, soccer field, bowling green, baseball diamond, basketball and tennis courts.
Green Lake Park is at 7201 East Green Lake Dr N, Seattle, WA 98115.
12- Madison Park Beach
It’s only about 400 feet (121 m) in length, but Madison Park Beach is a real gem.
Situated northeast of downtown, on the far east side of the Madison Park neighbourhood, the beach is a popular destination for families.
It’s a beautiful place to sunbathe, and there is a designated swimming area with a lifeguard, making it a fabulous beach to wade and play in.
The views of Lake Washington from the beach are spectacular too.
The park has several excellent walking paths and a plethora of nearby cafés and restaurants that line its border.
Madison Park Beach is at 1900 43rd Ave E, Seattle, WA 98112.
Beaches In Washington State
13- Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
Located in the city of Renton, about 15 miles (24 km) from downtown Seattle, the Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park covers nearly 60 acres (24 ha) around Lake Washington’s southeast shore.
An excellent place for a fun family day out, this much-loved spot hosts a fantastic swimming beach – though the water might be a bit too cold for some.
Running parallel to the impressive sandy beach is a lovely 1.5-mile (2.4 km) walking trail.
While the park also features a fishing pier, picnic shelters, playground equipment and two tennis courts.
Several events occur throughout the year, including fourth of July celebrations and a Summer Concert Series, which are well worth checking out if you can.
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is at 1201 Lake Washington Blvd N, Renton, WA 98056.
14- Richmond Beach Saltwater Park
Contained within the quaint city of Shoreline, about 15 miles (24 km) north of downtown, is the picturesque Richmond Beach Saltwater Park.
The mile-long beach is a fantastic spot to enjoy magnificent views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
It’s a popular beach for picnics and taking your dog for a walk too.
An area rich in local indigenous history, the beach’s landmark is a 10-foot (3 m) sculpture of a Coast Salish male and female that welcomes visitors.
There is a cool sundial there, too, as well as plenty of driftwood logs strewn along the beach for dramatic effect, which are all great to sit or balance on.
Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is at 2021 NW 190th St, Shoreline, WA 98177.
15- Fay Bainbridge Park
If you are looking for a beach where you can escape the frenzy of the city, then head on over to Fay Bainbridge Park.
It’s about a 40-minute ferry ride away from the city, on Bainbridge Island, but well worth the journey, as it hosts a fabulous sandy beach and tranquil ambience.
Presenting incredible views of Puget Sound, Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains and Mount Baker, this saltwater beach is a prime spot for kayaking, picnicking and camping.
Another beach littered with driftwood also features some beautiful shells and shiny sea glass on its charming sandy shoreline.
Fay Bainbridge Park is at 15446 Sunrise Drive NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110.
16- Locust Beach
Those wanting a total escape from Seattle should head to Locust Beach in Bellingham.
This popular summer getaway is around the northern end of the Nooksack River Delta, which is just three miles (4.8 km) from the downtown area.
It’s a peaceful place with beautiful scenery, a laid back ambience and not a skyscraper in sight.
The beach is excellent for walking on and wading in during low tide.
While skimboarding, kiteboarding, kayaking and fishing are popular activities here, too, given the frequent windy conditions.
It’s also one beach you should visit during low tide, as the shoreline reduces to about a third of its size every evening when the tide comes in.
Locust Beach is at 3199 Locust Avenue, Bellingham, WA 98225.
17- Sunnyside Beach
If you love a good bout of beachcombing, then Sunnyside Beach is the one to choose.
Nestled on the fringes of a beachfront park in the Steilacoom region of Washington State, the beach features 1,400 feet (4.2 km) of pristine shoreline that provides excellent opportunities for collecting shells of all colours and sizes.
Showcasing magnificent views of the shimmering Puget Sound, the sand glistens on sunny days.
It is also renowned for being a decent diving spot.
The children’s playground and beach volleyball courts are popular too.
Sunnyside Beach is at Chambers Creek Rd W, Steilacoom, WA 98388.
18- Dash Point State Park
Originally developed as the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair site, Dash Point State Park is a beautiful green space along Puget Sound.
With more than 3300 feet (1 km) of coastline, the picturesque beach often features crabs, starfish and plenty of birdlife.
It’s a popular spot for skimboarding, swimming, windsurfing, fishing, kayaking and camping.
There are also 11 miles (17 km) of hiking and mountain bike trails to explore once you have left the sand.
Dash Point State Park is at 5700 SW Dash Point Rd, Federal Way, WA 98023.
19- Birch Bay State Park
Probably the most popular beach in Birch Bay, the waterfront at Birch Bay State Park features a one-mile family-friendly stretch of sand.
The shallow water makes it perfect for kids as they can paddle at low tide and explore the flats and tide pools.
The park itself covers 194 acres (78 ha) along the Puget Sound and Terrell Creek shoreline.
It’s about nine miles (14 km) south of the city of Blaine and preserves both saltwater and freshwater estuary habitats.
A popular spot for clamming and fishing, the beach and park showcases stunning views of the Canadian Gulf Islands and the Cascade Mountains.
Birch Bay State Park is at 5105 Helweg Rd, Blaine, WA 98230.
20- Jackson Beach
Bleached whited driftwood is a hallmark of many beaches in Washington State, and at Jackson Beach in San Juan Island park, they feature aplenty.
Located just two miles (3.2 km) from downtown Friday Harbor, this long, curved sandy beach has a stark and dramatic feel about it.
A great beach for introspection, walking and beachcombing, a charming old pier here adds an air of history to the locality.
The water of Griffin Bay is cold but beautiful.
You probably won’t swim in it for too long, but the conditions are usually perfect for windsurfing, kayaking and sailboarding.
Jackson Beach is on Jackson Beach Rd, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250.