The Secret Seattle Beaches You Need to Visit
Sure, summer might feel over -- Bumbershoot is over, the weather is just a little bit cooler -- but technically there are 14 days of summer left. This means you have two weeks to squeeze in every last bit of the season before it begins raining for half a year. To help you do it (and to avoid the crowds at The Town's most popular sandy spots), we scoped out dozens of secret shoreline access points -- often at the very end of streets -- around the city, and found seven worth checking out before fall officially ruins everything.
Hidden at the end of a narrow street studded with mansions and gated driveways, Franklin Landing is a tranquil little park with a bench and a lounge chair. Steps lead down to a miniature cove with just enough space for a couple, or a small family, to lay out -- it's just hard enough to see from the street to afford you some privacy -- and imagine living in one of the nearby homes.
Located between two sprawling homes on Lake Washington, this relatively expansive space has recently been improved by the city, which removed some trees and cut back overgrown bushes. It now boasts a flat, mulch-covered park that slopes down to an actual sand beach that's perfect if you want to go swimming, or just hang somewhere cool, as there are still plenty of trees to provide shade. Bonus: this place even has three parking spaces!
We're using the term "secret" pretty loosely when it comes to some of these beaches (hell, you can find all of 'em, and tons more, on a city map), but not in this case. Once you push through a narrow hole in bushes hiding it from the street, you'll find a slightly overgrown clearing with plenty of grass for lounging that will make you feel like you're in your own little world... except for the two private docks on either side, and the views of Downtown Bellevue, and the I-90 bridge looming practically overhead... but still, it’s relatively private. Note: there is no beach here, just concrete "piers" jutting into the lake.
Just south of Seward Park, down a narrow path through the woods that slopes down to the shore, you'll find this little -- and we do mean little -- pebble beach, right between two homes with private docks, and separated from a similar private one by only a few pieces of driftwood. Two park benches in the shade beneath two nearby trees overlook it.
The city maintains a little space at the end of the street with a picnic table and access to a small muddy beach, but even better is the little adjacent park run by the Port of Seattle, which has tables, a bench, a water fountain, and signs telling you all about the local habitat. Best of all -- if you're willing to sort of sneak around the end of some big-ass logs -- there's a long stretch of sandy beach on the shore of the otherwise heavily industrial Duwamish River. FYI: this place is probably packed with government employees on weekdays, since the new-ish Federal Center South is right across the street, so hit it on the weekends.
Tucked away between two towering apartment buildings, this little park, called Andover Place, has a short, steep trail that opens onto an expansive, mostly gravel, shoreline that offers the same stunning views as nearby Alki Point or the overlooks on Beach Dive... and if you're brave, the chance to plunge into the always-cold waters of Puget Sound.
If you don't live in Magnolia, pretty much everything seems like it's hidden away from the rest of the city, but this place… oh man. First, you have to wind your way out to the southwestern edge of the 'hood, and follow a dark, narrow road down to the bottom of a bluff where you'll find one of the city's most unlikely residential streets, and eventually a sprawling piece of rock-lined shore that is reached by a brand-new gravel path thanks to the recent park levy. During cruise season, it is easily the perfect place to watch the massive ships leave town. Insider tip: The City calls it West McGraw Street end, but you'll find it below where W Parkmont Pl runs into Magnolia Park.
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