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Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes

06.19.15

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Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
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  • Sunset at Carkeek Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Carkeek Park's amazing beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Playing in the swimming hole at Big Eddy Park on the Skykomish River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Sandy beach at Big Eddy Park on the Skykomish River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • South Fork of the Snoqualmie River swimming hole at Olallie State Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • South Fork of the Snoqualmie River swimming hole at Olallie State Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Eagle Falls swimming hole on the South Fork of the Skykomish River toward Stevens Pass.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Eagle Falls swimming hole on the South Fork of the Skykomish River toward Stevens Pass.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Swimming hole at the end of the South Canyon Trail at Saint Edward State Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Swimming hole at the end of the South Canyon Trail at Saint Edward State Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Alki Beach in West Seattle.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Alki Beach in West Seattle.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Crystal clear waters at Alki Beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Houghton Beach Park in Kirkland.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Sand volleyball courts at Houghton Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington with Northeast Seattle and the Olympic Mountains (The Brothers, 6,842') in the background, as seen from Houghton Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Juanita Beach Park on the northern shore of Lake Washington.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • SUPs and the Seattle skyline from Juanita Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington from Matthews Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Lake Washington from Matthews Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Mount Rainier (14,411') from O. O. Denny Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • O. O. Denny Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • The beach at Golden Gardens Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • The beach at Golden Gardens Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Boats at Green Lake's East Beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Wading pool for the little ones at Green Lake Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Lawn along the eastern shore of Lake Washington at Marsh Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Pier at Marsh Park in Kirkland.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Summer concession stand and showers at Magnuson Swim Beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Swimmers at Magnuson Swim Beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Lake Sammamish State Park's beach.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Swimmer at Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Sun bathers at Plum Boat Launch on the Snoqualmie River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Beach at Plum Boat Launch on the Snoqualmie River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Newcastle Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Newcastle Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Outdoor showers and beach at Newcastle Beach Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • The South Fork of the Snoqualmie River at Homestead Valley Road Bridge.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • View of the Highway 203 bridge over the Skykomish River at Al Borlin Park.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Floaters heading down the Skykomish River at Al Borlin Park in Monroe.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Floaters on the Snoqualmie River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
  • Floaters on the Snoqualmie River.- Seattle's 20 Best Beaches + Swimming Holes
Article
Team

It's hot out there, and the water's cool! As the temperatures rise this weekend, be sure you know where you'll go to cool off. Some of these that made our list are perfect for the kids, though if you don't have little ones you may find them to be absolute chaos. Others, like Eagle Falls and Carkeek Park, are more ideal for those without offspring. Either way, you'll find what you're looking for!

  1. Carkeek Park (No better place for sunset views.)
  2. Skykomish River at Big Eddy Park (Sandy beach, pebble protected pools, scenic landscape.)
  3. South Fork Snoqualmie River Picnic Area (One of the best swimming spots on Snoqualmie Pass.)
  4. Eagle Falls (No place in Central Washington will cool you off more!)
  5. South Canyon Trail Loop (Saint Edwards State Park's little-known gem.)
  6. Alki Beach (Volleyball, picnic area, and a broad sandy beach.)
  7. Houghton Beach Park (Little tikes galore, Kirkland's popular sunbathing pier.)
  8. Juanita Beach Park (Perfect for the kids, but chaos on the weekends.)
  9. Matthews Beach Park (Plenty of open grass along the Lake Washington shore.)
  10. O.O. Denny Park (Shaded barbecue areas and views of massive Mount Rainier.)
  11. Golden Gardens Park (Ballard's summer beach paradise.)
  12. East + West Green Lake Beach (Beach, boat rentals, and summer concession stands!)
  13. Marsh Park (Kirkland's quieter waterfront park.)
  14. Magnuson Swim Beach (Diving boards, shaded lawn, and plenty of real estate for a towel.)
  15. Lake Sammamish State Park (Ice cream, boat rentals, and a broad beach!)
  16. Enatai Beach Park (Bellevue's best beach, plus kayak rentals for exploring Lake Washington)
  17. Snoqualmie River, Plum Boat Launch (Sandy beach and the put-in location for floating the Snoqualmie)
  18. Newcastle Beach Park (Sandy beach, swimming and fishing pier, and a large field)
  19. South Fork Snoqualmie River at Homestead Valley Road Bridge (Tranquility and no crowds!)
  20. Skykomish River at Al Borlin Park (1,000-foot long pebble beach and floating take-out spot)

And while it may not technically qualify as a beach or swimming hole, no summer in the Seattle area would be complete without a Snoqualmie River Float on your inner tube, so we're including this adventure too. Get out there, be responsible and safe, cool off, and enjoy!

Caution! Be Safe

Swimming holes and cliff jumping can be extremely dangerous and unpredictable outdoor activities that pose significant risks regarding personal safety. Changing water levels, unseen rocks, and river bottoms that have shifted with currents and seasonal weather can turn a well-known jumping area into a serious hazard. Prior to engaging in these activities, extensively scout the current conditions, and understand the risks involved with serious injury and the logistical challenges of evacuation from the water so you can make safe decisions.

Leave No Trace

The Forest Service and other local management agencies are considering closing access to many of these sensitive locations due to excessive trampling of plants, large amounts of garbage, cans and glass bottles, human waste, toilet paper left behind, and graffiti on natural surfaces. They simply do not have the staff or the funding to attend to these issues. If you want to continue enjoying these areas, pack out all garbage and toilet paper and dispose of it properly, use vault toilets and other restroom facilities when provided, stay on established paths, and be respectful of others.  Using these areas responsibly will increase the chance that people can continue to enjoy them.

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