Something I love about living in Seattle, is that even living right downtown, it only takes a 10-30 minute drive to get to so many beautiful parks, beaches, and trails that truly make you feel like you’re out of the city. Whether you want to feel like you’re on a hike, you want something paved, you want to sit yourself right down in the sand, or you simply want an equipment playground for your kids to enjoy, there are limitless options. Here are some we’ve really appreciated so far!

Golden Gardens Park

I highly recommend Golden Gardens Park if you want some nice spacious sandy beach vibes. Plus, there is beach volleyball for an immense amount of entertainment. You can also wander through the trees, or hit up the equipment playground while there. Or, of course, swim!! On weekends you’ll often find people having fires on the sand (at designated fire pits), walking the pier, and catching a sunset!

Green Lake Park

Green Lake Park is the perfect spot for a 5km (3 mile) paved loop along the water. Plus, I’ve been told that while in Green Lake, you should definitely stop at Retreat and grab yourself a beverage! Green Lake Park also has tennis and pickle ball courts, and an equipment playground.

Washington Park Arboretum

The Arboretum is made up of 230 acres, so there is a significant amount to explore along Lake Washington, but you can also enjoy the Japanese Garden during visiting hours.

Carkeek Park

Carkeek Park gives you a view of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. You can explore the trails, or you can hit up the small portion of rocky beach, have a picnic at the designated picnic table area, watch for a train, and play at the partially nature-based playground.

Lincoln Park

Lincoln Park has a trail that makes you feel truly in nature, but it also has a paved walkway around the beach, many fields for playing all the sports, and an equipment playground. Apparently I need to check back here in the summer when they have a saltwater swimming pool available!

Discovery Park

I mention Discovery Park when I talk all things Seattle, and I also mention it when I talk Washington Hikes, because if you do Discovery Park to the Lighthouse, even though you’re technically in Seattle, it truly does feel like you’re out on a hike, away from the rest of the world! However, beyond that, Discovery Park is made up of 534 acres of natural area to explore, so you could do it again and again, continually exploring new trails.

Seward Park

If you’re looking for a paved-loop, Seward Park is a great location! This loop is 2.4 miles, with a perfect pitstop point where you can walk on rocks and dip your hands in the water. It’s a perfect water-view, and there’s a fun equipment playground to enjoy before or after your walk!

Happy not-quite-city exploring!