Dormant during the winter months, Matthews Beach Park comes alive during the summer as Northeastern Seattle residents flock to this Lake Washington beach and swimming area.
On any given summer weekend when the heat turns up, don't be surprised if you can't find parking or a place to lay down your towel. That being said, the chaos of the crowds will easily be overlooked as you splash into Lake Washington's refreshingly cool waters. Really, this park is perfect for taking the kids out. The beach hosts an on-duty lifeguard, a floating dock with two diving boards (including a high dive), a summer concession stand, a large playground, and it is a frequent stop for the highly sought-after ice cream truck.
The park itself has a rather unique history. According to Brandt Morgan's Enjoying Seattle's Parks:
The park is named for pioneer John G. Matthews, who had his homestead on the site in the 1880s. The park is an ideal stopping place for bicyclers on the Burke-Gilman Trail; in fact, the outline of the original cove is suggested by the Burke-Gilman Trail, which was once the tracks of the Northern Pacific Railroad. In the 1940s, the area south of the main beach was the site of Pan American World Airways’ offices, and the dock for Pan American’s "Clipper Ships"- the world’s first amphibious commercial air transports over the ocean. The City purchased the first 10 acres of Matthews Beach in 1951.