One of Seattle's best-kept secrets: its serene, pristine beaches. Sure, many visitors arrive here prepared to experience top-notch coffee, culinary treats, soul-soothing music and funky art, but not as many know that the city also happens to be home to some of the country's most stunning beaches.
These spaces prove ideal spots for getting active and enjoying sports from volleyball and kitesurfing to stand-up paddle boarding (try popular athletic outfits like Surf Ballard, for example). However, these sandy shores also lend themselves to pure relaxation under the rays (once they make an appearance), allowing visitors to picnic with friends, take leisurely beach wanders or, in some cases, gather around a cozy bonfire once the veil of night descends.
While several parks draw beach bums to urban spaces within city limits (Golden Gardens is in the Ballard neighborhood, and Alki is in West Seattle, for example), other options require a short road trip that launches visitors out into the beautiful nature omnipresent in the Pacific Northwest. (For one, Olympic National Park is well worth the couple-hour journey west.) But if the goal is to stay nearer to the heart of Seattle, try mini-beaches at destinations that sometimes comes as a pleasant surprise (like Green Lake Park).