Even before its renovation* in 2011, Juanita Beach Park was one of Kirkland's most popular swimming destinations. Since its improvements, the beach is now arguably the most loved on all of Lake Washington.
On weekends during the summer months, families come from near and far to line the park's nearly 800 feet of sandy beach. The lake is relatively shallow throughout Juanita Bay, so it is perfect for kids, and with a 1,400-foot boardwalk/dock that encloses the swimming area, parents can rest assured that their little ones won't drift off too far.
The park offers far more than just swimming, however. You'll find two beach volleyball courts, two tennis courts, a playground, two baseball fields, a summer concession stand, stand-up paddleboard rentals, kayaking, and barbeque grills beside countless picnic tables.
* Juanita Beach Park's renovation included revitalizing the wetlands and marshes surrounding Juanita Creek, significantly increased parking capacity, adding new pathways, and improved landscaping and grading of the park's southern lawn.
Interestingly enough, the now popular beach didn't come into existence until Lake Washington was lowered in 1917. Unlike most other parts of the lake where the lower water level revealed mudflats, a wide sandy beach was exposed here, and it instantly attracted crowds. By 1921 the beach and park was officially open to the public, and by 1922 it featured a boardwalk along the beach and a bathhouse. By 1928, 150 cottonwood trees were planted, and the park included a lunch counter, a small grocery store, an an open-air kitchen. The bathhouse was even replaced with a larger two-story structure equipped with dressing rooms, showers, and a dance floor upstairs.
The Forbes family, which owned the land, completed the resort in 1932 by providing a group of rentable cabins and a boathouse for rentable canoes and row boats.
After 30 years of running the resort, Leslie and Alicia Forbes retired, and King County purchased the resort and several other neighboring properties in 1956 to create a larger park. Ownership of the property was later transferred to the City of Kirkland in 2002.