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10 Best Beaches in Seattle

April 23, 2021

The cultural capital of the Pacific Northwest has some of the coolest coast, too.

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Photo: Visit Seattle

Discovery Park

Seattle is all about life on the water, from commuter ferries across the Puget Sound to houseboats along Lake Union. And there are tons of beaches, both fresh and saltwater, to explore. Sure, they’re not bright and sunny like Florida with white powdery sand. But we do have smooth stones for skipping on the water, soft driftwood for sitting and having a picnic and incredible mountain views from every coastline. If you’re planning a visit to Seattle, you have to make time for beach time. And if you can only visit one, it has to be Discovery Park. The largest park in Seattle, Discovery Park features 2 miles of protected shores on Magnolia Bluff, which means you get a panoramic view of both the Cascades and the Olympic Mountains. The beach also features the Victorian-era West Point Lighthouse, which you can walk up to for photos, but can’t walk inside since it is still a working lighthouse.

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Photo: Visit Seattle

Alki Beach

Every beach in Seattle has its own personality. And Alki is where the fun is. Located in West Seattle, it’s like a mini Venice Beach in Washington state with funky art and artists, beach volleyball, water sport rentals galore and a waterfront path dotted with rollerbladers. The peninsula also has a great view of downtown Seattle’s skyline including the Space Needle. But the main reason Alki Beach will always be my favorite is Spud. Nothing beats picking up a basket of Spud Fish and Chips and drenching it in one or all of the homemade vinegar. The local chain has other shops in the Seattle area, but the Alki restaurant has the best view.

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Photo: Visit Seattle

Golden Gardens

If you ask a Seattleite “What’s the best beach in Seattle?” they’ll either say Alki or Golden Gardens. It’s a never-ending debate with strong opinions and passionate reasoning. While Alki has more to see and do and eat, Golden Gardens has a more relaxed vibe. And the sunsets really are golden. What makes this Ballard spot a fan favorite is the giant fire pits. Not every beach allows nighttime bonfires, but Golden Gardens has a series of bonfire pits on a first-come, first-served basis. In the summer, especially on the weekends, some folks will arrive early in the morning and camp out all day just to claim a pit. It’s definitely a Pacific Northwest bucket list activity.

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Photo: Deanne Revel

Seward Park

Seattle's Seward Park might not have the biggest beach (it’s really just a sliver of rocks and driftwood), but it does have the best view of Mount Rainier. Or, as locals will say, "the mountain's out." It never goes away, of course, but it means that it's a clear, sunny day with blue skies and good visibility of the mountain. And when the mountain's out, everyone heads outside to soak up some vitamin D. As Mount Rainier National Park is about two hours from Seattle, this is a great way to get some photos if you can’t visit.

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