Beach or Bust: Exploring the Sandy Shores of the Pacific Northwest

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).



Magnuson Park is an urban, 350-acre park on Sand Point at Pontiac Bay, Lake Washington. This park, the second largest in Seattle, includes pieces of Seattle's military past (it's situated on a former Navy airfield). Today visitors enjoy boating,...  Read More

Idylwood Beach Park


Overlooking Sammamish Lake, Idylwood Park is a great place for picnicking, swimming or just relaxing and taking in the lovely scenery. Dogs are welcome as long as guests use the cleanup bags provided. Located close to businesses such as...  Read More



Ahoy matey! One of this city's best features? All of its beautiful bodies of water. So one of the best ways to experience this city? Well, come on abroad and see for yourself! Argosy Cruises offers this scenic Lake Washington tour that leaves...  Read More

Gas Works Park


On the north end of Lake Union, you'll find what may be the most unique park in the area. The 21-acre industrial area, formerly the site of a gas plant, was transformed in the 1975 into a recreational complex (a worldwide first). You'll find...  Read More

Olympic Sculpture Park


Olympic Sculpture Park: Stroll through the grounds and admire the fascinating large-scale works on display at this nine-acre green space. Extensive landscaping enhances the park's beauty, and a walkway, extending from the beach to Belltown,...  Read More

Outside the city
Olympic National Park
Photo courtesy of Lana_aka_BADGRL


Olympic National Park provides Seattle visitors with a huge range of recreation options in a compact area. About an hour to an hour-and-a-half southwest of Seattle on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, the nature preserve centers around the...  Read More



This local park accommodates a host of joggers, in-line skaters, and sunbathers that exercise and bask along the greenbelt that circles Green Lake, the park's picturesque centerpiece. A favorite of locals, the park's plentiful green space and...  Read More



Situated on Magnolia Bluff overlooking Puget Sound, this expansive urban park � the largest in Seattle – offers two miles of beach trails and nine miles of winding footpaths. Ostensibly a bluff-top reserve, Discovery Park protects a...  Read More



In West Seattle, visitors and residents alike relish one of Seattle's finest gems: Alki Beach. Offering stunning views of the downtown Seattle skyline and Puget Sound, Alki Beach is where the Denny Party settlers arrived and spent the winter of...  Read More



West of Ballard, visitors find one of Seattle's best-kept secrets: Golden Gardens beach. Located on Puget Sound, this popular public park offers extraordinary views of the water and nearby Olympic Mountains. The park includes wetlands, beaches,...  Read More


Meet Corinne Whiting

Corinne hails from the other Washington, where she caught the travel bug early on. Corinne studied abroad in Strasbourg, France (undergrad) and in Edinburgh, Scotland (graduate school). She's...  More About Corinne