Seattle, a major American port city located in the northwestern state of Washington, is a fantastic travel destination. The Pacific northwest is rife with natural scenic beauty, and there are several family beaches near Seattle that no visit to the Emerald City would be complete without enjoying.
The best beaches for families in Seattle are as follows:
- Golden Gardens Park
- Alki Beach Park
- Discovery Park
- Marina Beach Park
- Seward Park
- Madison Park Beach
- Cape Disappointment State Park
- Ruby Beach
- Seabrook Beach
- Carkeek Park
- Jetty Island
Read on to learn more about each of these beaches, what makes them attractive options for families, and why you should consider visiting one or more of them on your next family travel adventure to Seattle.
What are the Best Beaches for Families in Seattle?
1. Golden Gardens Park
Divided into sections of grass and soft sand, this beach is perfect for families who want to picnic in the grass before or after playing on the beach. Beavers, ducks, and other wildlife – including many native bird species – are easy to spot.
Stay during low tide for the chance to see starfish, sea urchins, and other unique aquatic species in the rocky tidepools.
2. Alki Beach Park
With paved sidewalks and beach volleyball courts, Alki Beach Park has all the amenities a family needs during a day at the beach. It is even home to the historic Alki Point Lighthouse.
With great views of downtown Seattle and even sea lion activity, Alki Beach can’t be beat. It is even within short distances to several Seattle hotels, making it a convenient option for families.
3. Discovery Park
Seattle’s largest park, located along Puget Sound, boasts almost 12 miles of walking trails perfect for avid walkers, joggers, runners, and cyclists. Its soft sands, while a wonderful attraction for beachgoers, isn’t the only feature that makes Discovery Park so popular. Steep cliffs, sand dunes, grasslands, and streams are also attractive sights for nature-lovers.
The Environmental Learning Center gives visitors a chance to learn more about the native sea life visible along Discovery Park’s shoreline.
4. Marina Beach Park
Considered one of Washington’s best family-friendly beaches, Marina Beach Park has soft sands, gentle waters, and even a playground for the kids. Its relaxing scenery and slow pace make it a breath of fresh air from the hustle and bustle of the big city, and grassy areas make for great family picnics.
If you plan on coming to Marina Beach Park during the winter, you might catch a glimpse of the migrating orcas.
5. Seward Park
The rocky beaches and hiking trails along this beach are ideal for outdoor enthusiasts. A calmer beach, with gentler waters and softer sand, is also available for smaller children and those who want to spend more time in the water. A playground and even a zip-line are available, and further down the beach, you can even spot sea life depending on the time of year you visit.
6. Madison Park Beach
Active lifeguards and a cordoned-off swim zone lend extra reassurance to parents of small children at Madison Park Beach. Even better is the strictly enforced no alcohol rule within the beach. A play area and swimming rafts are available, making this beach even better for families.
Plenty of shops and restaurants are available within walking distance to the beach, making Madison Park Beach even more attractive to those with some extra time and money to spend.
7. Cape Disappointment State Park
Despite its unusual name, there is nothing disappointing about this beach. Hiking trails and scenic views make this beach one of the best vacation destinations in the state of Washington.
This beach is also ideal for birdwatchers, where several native bird species nest. Because it is a state park, Cape Disappointment is pristine and mostly free of trash, making its views incomparable.
8. Ruby Beach
Located within Olympia State Park, Ruby Beach sports plenty of scenic beauty and natural wildlife. Smooth, warped driftwood washed up along the shore lend a real sense of adventure to this popular beach.
Don’t miss exploring the many tidepools along this beach and don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars to enjoy the spectacular views of native wildlife.
9. Seabrook Beach
A little over 2.5 hours from Seattle, Seabrook Beach makes for a great day trip from the big city.
This beach is safe and entertaining for adults, toddlers, and older children alike. The soft, warm sands and calm, gentle waters are safe for little ones, and the winds are perfect for kite flying and windsurfing, making the destination worth the drive. The wooden gazebos along the shoreline are perfect for family picnics and provide shade from the sun.
If you are visiting during the springtime, be sure to bring a pair of binoculars so you can spot the gray whales swimming near the shore.
10. Carkeek Park
This beach, despite its small size, is packed with fun activities and discoveries sure to satisfy everyone in the family. With barnacled rocks home to many small marine animal species, your children will love hunting for colorful shells and bits of sea glass along the shore.
Fallen logs and huge pieces of driftwood lend an air of adventure, and people of all ages will enjoy climbing over the enormous logs for a better view of the breathtaking scenery.
Low tide is the best time of day to come to Carkeek Park, as you will catch a glimpse of several species of marine life native to the Pacific Northwest.
11. Jetty Island
Jetty Island is a little over half an hour’s drive from Seattle, making it one of the more accessible beaches on our list. Its calm, shallow waters and toddler-friendly attractions make it worth the drive. The soft sands are mostly devoid of sharp stones, making it perfect for little ones, and nearby nature trails make it a great option for those who prefer hiking and biking over swimming.
Depending on the time of year you visit, Jetty Island also has guided sea-life and nature tours sure to fascinate the whole family.