Sea lion sculptures at one of the best Seattle beaches

17 Best Seattle Beaches for 2023 (By a Local)

I’m a Seattle local and here are my picks for the best Seattle beaches. 

The city is sandwiched between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, so there are more beaches in Seattle than you might expect. Several have kayak and paddle board rentals, nearby eateries, sandy volleyball courts, hiking trails, and more. 

I overview the available amenities at each of these beaches. Plus, this guide features both popular shores and hidden gems that you won’t want to miss. 

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17 Best Beaches In Seattle

Alki Beach

West Seattle’s top attraction has cozy beach town vibes with tons of amenities and restaurants.

The author Chelsea, chilling at the Alki Beach in winter
Yep, people like to bundle up and visit Alki Beach even in the wintertime 

📍 Google Maps | Alki Beach Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: free (but limited) street parking around the neighborhood and in front of the beach | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Grove West Seattle Inn

Alki Beach is hands-down one of the best beaches in Seattle. You can spend a whole day in this laid-back little beach town.

Rent bikes, umbrellas, beach chairs, and sand toys from Wheel Fun Rentals. Rollerblade, jog, and ride a scooter along several miles of paved pathways. Sunbathe or play a game of beach volleyball while enjoying views of the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains.

There are several blocks of incredible restaurants right across the street from the beach. Food options include everything from fish and chips and ice cream to burgers and gyros. Alki Beach is bustling with activity even in the colder months, which is why it’s one of the top tourist sites in Seattle.

Golden Gardens Park

Seattle’s prettiest beach where breathtaking sunsets are regular occurrences.

Beautiful sunset at Golden Gardens Park
A lovely sunset at Golden Gardens Park

📍 Google Maps | Golden Gardens Beach Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: North and south parking lots near the beach and in the park, free | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Hotel Ballard

Golden Gardens ties with Alki Beach as one of the best beaches in Seattle. This stunning beach is in the vibrant Ballard neighborhood. It’s nestled against Puget Sound with gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains to boot.

You’ll like Golden Gardens Beach if you like sandy beaches with plenty of places to barbecue, picnic, and sunbathe. The beach has volleyball courts, an off-leash dog area, and a historic bathhouse for weddings and other events. Come here if you’re looking for a classic beach day. This is the best beach for it!

During low tide, search the tide pools for a medley of sea creatures, and keep your eyes peeled for seals offshore. Evenings are best for beach bonfires and those coveted sunsets.

📚 Related Reading: Some of Seattle’s best restaurants, like Walrus and the Carpenter, are in Ballard. Check them out while you’re in the area!

Madison Park Beach

A relaxed, family-friendly beach along Lake Washington with seasonal swimming and a large playground.

A child playing along the shoreline with the ducks in the ocean
My godson enjoying the beach (and the ducks) on a cloudy fall day

📍 Google Maps | Madison Park Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: Free street parking around the neighborhood

Families with little ones will love Madison Park Beach. This tiny beach can get crowded in summertime, but it’s nowhere near as overwhelming as some of Seattle’s larger beaches can be.

Madison Park Beach is in quiet and family-friendly Madison Park, one of the best Seattle neighborhoods. It’s several miles outside of downtown Seattle. The beach is open for swimming in the summer months and has a lifeguard and a sectioned-off area for kids to swim in. There’s a nearby playground with a zipline and lots to climb.

Bring the floaties and beach toys and settle in for a relaxing day. A nearby bakery, pizzeria, and other restaurants offer tasty lunchtime options for kids and adults alike.

Green Lake Park

A lakefront beach with diving boards and water bike rentals in a lively park.

View of the people swimming at Green Lake on a late afternoon
Late summer afternoons are perfect times to swim at Green Lake

📍 Google Maps | Green Lake Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: free parking in east and west park lots, free street parking in the neighborhood | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Residence Inn by Mariott Seattle University District

Green Lake Park is one of the best Seattle parks and has two beaches.

West Green Lake Beach is a bit quieter and is perfect for swimming. It’s not a traditional beach since the surrounding area is grassy, not sandy. But there are two diving boards at west beach, and lifeguards on duty during the summer.

East Green Lake Beach is busier. It’s close to a fishing pier and the Greenlake Boathouse, which offers boat, water bike, and stand-up paddle board rentals. Come to this beach if you want to be close to all the action in the park, and just a few blocks away from restaurants and cafes.

Myrtle Edwards Park

Admire the views from rocky beaches at this popular downtown Seattle park.

View of the people chilling at the Elliott Bay waterfront in Myrtle Edwards Park
Late summer at Myrtle Edwards Park (photo: Roman Khomlyak / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Myrtle Edwards Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: Republic Parking Garage costs $10+, limited street parking is free on Sundays | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Edgewater Hotel

The beaches at Myrtle Edwards Park aren’t usually that crowded despite their proximity to downtown Seattle. That means they’re nice spots to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the downtown area.

The beaches are rocky and perfect if you’re looking for views. Climb atop the larger rocks or take a seat on some driftwood to watch the ferries travel across the Sound. Soak up views of the Olympic Mountains on clear days and stay for sunset. 

Myrtle Edwards Park is flanked by Olympic Sculpture Park on one end, and Centennial Park on the other. Take a leisurely stroll along the bike and walking paths to visit these fun parks, too.

📚 Related Reading: Want tips on what to pack to visit Seattle beaches? Bookmark this Seattle packing list to make sure you have everything you need.

Lowman Beach Park

A hidden and peaceful West Seattle beach.

Early evening view of Lowman Beach Park
A pretty evening at Lowman Beach Park

📍 Google Maps | Lowman Beach Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: free, limited street parking

There’s not much to do at Lowman Beach, but that’s the appeal for most people who visit. This charming and tiny beach is just north of Lincoln Park and it’s rarely crowded. If you come with kids, they can play and climb on the driftwood “sculptures,” or use the swings.

Explore the rocky shore during low tide or visit at high tide to kayak and paddleboard. Bring a blanket, some food, and a book if you come solo. This is a neighborhood park, so keep in mind that there are no amenities or restrooms and parking can be limited.

Matthews Beach Park

A popular Lake Washington swimming beach near the Burke Gilman Trail.

People chilling at the Matthews Beach Park in autumn
Autumn views at Matthews Beach Park (photo: Dgu / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Matthews Beach Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: parking lot, free

Matthews Beach Park is popular for swimming in the summer so expect to see lots of locals here on hot days! The beach area is relatively small, but it’s adjacent to a grassy field with room for chairs and blankets. 

There are bathrooms with outdoor showers close to the beach, but no rentals are available. You’ll want to make sure you come with all the beach essentials you need.

Matthews Beach Park is along the Burke Gilman Trail, so it’s a popular rest stop for bikers. The park also has basketball courts, trails with shady trees, and a decent-sized playground. Unfortunately, parts of the park are popular with geese. Make sure to watch your step for droppings!

Pritchard Island Beach

An uncrowded swimming beach in Rainier Valley close to an urban farm.

📍 Google Maps | Pritchard Island Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: free parking lot and street parking

Pritchard Island Beach isn’t the most popular beach in Seattle. However, this means it’s a good choice for people hoping to escape the city’s busier beaches. 

The beach is located along Lake Washington, featuring a rocky shore, an open grassy field, and a designated swimming area. This quiet beach is good for birdwatching, and there are often ducks waddling around nearby. 

Want to check out the rest of the park? Head south and you’ll end up at the Rainier Beach Urban Farm and Wetlands. Here, you can harvest community-grown produce from free U-Pick areas, or support local farmers at the farm stand.

Lincoln Park

A driftwood-ladden beach in West Seattle with a heated outdoor pool.

A man walking along the Lincoln Park on an afternoon
This Lincoln Park path leads all the way to Alki
View of the Vashon Island ferry on Puget Sound from a distance
The Vashon Island ferry on Puget Sound

📍 Google Maps | Lincoln Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Lincoln Park is a huge West Seattle park with a waterfront path that goes all the way to Alki. 

The beach is rocky, has lots of driftwood, and is a popular place for fishing. Look out for herons and other waterfowl during low tide. You may also see seals resting along the shore during pupping season. Watch the ferry make trips to and from Vashon Island year-round.

You could take a dip in the chilly Puget Sound, but most of the swimming at Lincoln Park happens at Colman Pool. This heated, outdoor saltwater pool is open to the public in the summertime. It has water slides, a diving board, and plenty of room to play.

Discovery Park

See a historic lighthouse and views of the Olympic Mountains at Seattle’s largest city park.

View of the West Point lighthouse located in Discovery Park at sunset
The iconic West Point Lighthouse at Discovery Park

📍 Google Maps | Discovery Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Discovery Park is more of a hiking destination, as its network of trails leads through forests and along bluffs. But some of those Seattle-area hiking trails lead to Discovery Park’s beach. Trust me, it’s worth the trek. 

At the windswept, pebbly beach, you’ll find the lovely West Point Lighthouse and fantastic views of the Olympics across Puget Sound. The picturesque lighthouse is over 100 years old and it’s the perfect backdrop for photos. Search for anemones, crabs, and barnacles if you arrive at low tide. 

This isn’t a great beach for swimming, but Discovery Park is one of the top Seattle beaches for people who love adventures.

Carkeek Park Beach

A gorgeous, underrated north Seattle beach in a park known for its hiking trails and salmon run.

A woman standing in the foot bridge at Carkeek Park Beach
My friend standing on the bridge that leads down to the beach

📍 Google Maps | Carkeek Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: free parking lot | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: Courtyard by Marriott Seattle Northgate

Like Discovery Park, Carkeek Park is one of the best Seattle parks for hiking, but its beach is also a gem. To reach it, you’ll cross a bridge over active train tracks and then walk down a set of stairs. 

Carkeek Beach is mostly pebbly with some sandy areas and tons of sunbleached logs to use as makeshift chairs. The beach is a popular place to unwind after hiking the trails or watching the salmon run. 

Most people opt for Golden Gardens, but Carkeek Park has similar features and fewer crowds. Expect views of the Olympic Mountains on clear days and beautiful sunsets. Spend your time hiking along the beach or relaxing and listening to the waves.

Magnuson Park

A large Lake Washington park with a beach popular for floating and boat launches.

A woman and a dog at the shoreline of Magnuson Park
A dog enjoying the off-leash area in the park (photo: Dgu / Shutterstock)

📍 Google Maps | Magnuson Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Magnuson Park has a lot to offer visitors. It’s known for its trails, wetlands, recreation fields, and events at Hangar 30. It’s right on Lake Washington, and its swimming beach is yet another reason to visit.

The beach has plenty of space for paddleboarding, swimming, and leisurely floats on the lake. There’s a separate boat launch area and water access for dogs at the off-leash dog area.

This park is about 20 minutes from downtown, so you can usually count on plenty of parking, including a lot close to the beach.

🚗 Need a Car? Check out Discover Cars if you’re visiting Seattle and need a rental vehicle. It’s the easiest way to compare agencies and score the best rate! 

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

A long beach in Shoreline with room to sunbathe, train spot, and catch pretty sunsets.

Overlooking view of the Richmond Beach Saltwater Park from the hills
Enjoy views of the Puget Sound from Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

📍 Google Maps | Richmond Beach Saltwater Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park is located just north of Seattle in Shoreline. It’s a lovely beach for sunbathing, beach combing, and watching sunsets. Expect crowds if you visit on a nice summer weekend.

Walk along the shoreline, swim in the chilly Puget Sound, or find a spot to lay out with a book. The sandy beach is great for kids who love building sand castles. 

Trains routinely pass through Richmond Beach Saltwater Park and you can stand on the bridge above the tracks to watch them. This beach is a great one for train spotters and others who don’t mind the noise.

Mount Baker Beach

A secluded and kid-friendly neighborhood beach on Lake Washington.

📍 Google Maps | Mount Baker Beach Website | 🅿️ Parking: free parking lot (limited space), free street parking 

Mount Baker Beach is a bit of a hidden gem. This small sandy beach is tucked away in a tiny neighborhood and is popular with local families. It’s safe for the youngest visitors with a designated swimming area and lifeguards in the summer. 

Enjoy views of Bellevue across the lake or watch the Blue Angels perform during Seafair. The beach is the main draw, but the adjacent waterfront paths are great for biking and jogging year-round. This beach is a good bet if you’re looking for a quiet and laid-back spot to hang with locals. 

Fay Bainbridge Park

A popular sandy beach in north Bainbridge Island with a campground and mountain views.

View of the driftwood structure at Fay Bainbridge Park
A driftwood structure at Fay Bainbridge Park

📍 Google Maps | Fay Bainbridge Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: free parking for day use | 🛎️ Where to Stay Nearby: The Eagle Harbor Inn

Want to camp on a beach without traveling far from Seattle? Check out, Fay Bainbridge Park. This park is on the northeast side of Bainbridge Island. You can see Mount Rainier and even Mount Baker from this quaint beach park on clear summer days. 

There are cabins, as well as tent and RV sites. Picnic shelters are also available if you prefer to take a day trip from Seattle rather than spend the night. A pirate-ship playground for kids and a volleyball court are popular park features.

Make sure you book your campsite in advance if you decide to camp at Fay Bainbridge Park. This popular site fills up fast in the summertime!

Seward Park

A Lake Washington peninsula park with swimming, hiking, and Mount Rainier views.

The author Chelsea and her husband posing while cooling off in the lake
My husband and I cooling off in the lake
View of the Mount Rainier seen from Seward Park
The view of Mount Rainier from Seward Park

📍 Google Maps | Seward Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Seward Park is almost entirely surrounded by Lake Washington. This makes it a good spot for boating, swimming, paddleboarding, and wading. There’s no official sandy beach in Seward Park. Instead, there are several tiny (and rocky) “pocket beaches” on the south end and an area for swimming near the entrance. 

On clear days, enjoy gorgeous views of Mount Rainier. This is one of my favorite park beaches to visit with a group because there’s plenty of room to spread out with blankets. There are also shady trees and picnic shelters to keep you cool on hot days. There are also hiking and biking trails throughout the park if you want to explore beyond the beach. 

Seahurst Park

A Burien beach park with picnic shelters, a playground, and plentiful parking.

Sunset view of Seahurst Park
Sunset at Seahurst Park

📍 Google Maps | Seahurst Park Website | 🅿️ Parking: multiple free parking lots

Seahurst Park is in Burien, just south of Seattle. While popular, it rarely gets too crowded so it’s a gem of a beach for people seeking a bit of solitude. You can find space to comb the shore for seashells, sit and meditate, or otherwise here. 

The playground is popular with kids and people like to gather here for barbecues in the summer. You’re in luck if you love sunsets because they’re near perfection at Seahurst Park.

FAQs About Seattle Beaches

What is the closest ocean beach to Seattle?

The closest ocean beach to Seattle is Ocean Shores Beach in Grays Harbor County. Other ocean beaches worth checking out are Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park, one of the best US national parks.

Are Seattle beaches nice?

Seattle beaches are nice and varied. Alki Beach and Golden Gardens Park Beach are best if you’re searching for a sandy shoreline. Matthews Beach Park, Seward Park, and Magnuson Park are great for people searching for good Seattle swimming beaches.


And those are the top Seattle beaches! Go to a rocky Pacific Northwest beach with interesting tide pools or one with a sandy shoreline and mountain views. Whatever you choose, you’ll find a great beach in Seattle.

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