Whether you’re surfing and swimming or strolling along the shore while you enjoy the mountain views, Washington’s beaches are beautiful all year round. Fishing, ocean sports, and boating are all popular activities that will keep your big family busy. Be aware that many beaches have specific regulations and familiarize yourself with these before you arrive. So pack up your beach gear and the kids to explore these wonderful beaches.
Alki Beach, Seattle
Seattle’s Alki Beach is sandy and enticing, although the water can be cold and may be a bit too choppy for younger children. Surfers and windsurfers will enjoy the waves, while active families might want to take a bike ride along the paved boardwalk or play on the volleyball courts. Activities include boating, fishing, kayaking and other ocean sports. Amenities are good, with restrooms on and near the beach. There are plenty of nearby restaurants and places to get a snack. Lifeguards are on duty along swimming areas.
Brackett’s Landing/Marina Beach, Seattle
Brackett’s Landing overlooks a marine sanctuary, so you’ll be able to see lots of exciting sea life. If you really want to explore the ocean, head for Edmonds Underwater Park where you can go scuba diving. Paved paths along the seafront make this a great place for a stroll. There’s a picnic area, attractive public art, and amenities such as restrooms.
Cape Disappointment State Park
Cape Disappointment State Park’s beaches are sandy and expansive, ideal for families. Beach exploration is fun at low tide, when you can find shells, driftwood and crabs that scuttle across the sand. Boating is permitted and you can enjoy a number of ocean sports here. Because the park is open year-round for camping, there are plenty of amenities available even in the off-season. Lifeguards patrol during the summer.
Carkeek Park, Seattle
A lovely stretch of shoreline, Carkeek Park is beloved by locals and visitors too. Neighbors and volunteers have spend years transforming the park and the beach into something really special. Boating is popular along this stretch of coast — boats must arrive at Carkeek Park via water. Canoes and kayaks are encouraged, and there’s a launching ramp you can use. The sea is fairly choppy and it’s a good beach for surfing. Swimming is permitted only in designated areas. There are restrooms. The Park offers additional facilities, such as picnic areas, barbecue grills and a play area for children. Kids will also enjoy the activities offered at the Park’s Education Center. Lifeguards are on duty at swimming sites.
Grayland Beach State Park
Grayland Beach State Park beach is very popular with families. It offers miles and miles of sugar-white sand and plenty to do. The beach is home to lots of seabirds and marine wildlife, as well as crabs and other shellfish. Fishing, crabbing and clamming are allowed with a permit. Beach exploration is a popular activity. The beach is perfect for swimming and sunbathing, with the Park offering convenient amenities such as restrooms, showers and campsites with electricity. Call ahead if you want to take the beach wheelchair and Mobi-mat down to the beach. Lifeguards are on duty.
Jetty Island, Everett
A gem of natural beauty, Jetty Island offers two miles of sandy beaches. The sea is gentle enough for youngsters to swim and play in the shallows, and is great for canoeing or kayaking. There’s a free ferry that takes you to and from the mainland; passes are limited, so aim to go at less busy times. You’ll need to pack food and drink, as there are no concessions or water fountains. Crabbing is allowed if you have a permit. It’s a great spot for walks, beach games, ocean sports and a little surf fishing. Note that the beach is unguarded.
Juanita Beach Park, Kirkland
A smaller beach but lots of fun, Juanita Beach Park is very family-friendly. There is a play area, a boardwalk that lets you stroll out to view the lake, and lots of wonderful birdlife to watch. Beach rentals are available — pick up beach chairs, umbrellas and paddle-boards for a fun day at the beach. There are concessions and restrooms, and the beach is close to some nice restaurants. The beach is guarded.
A scenic stretch of coast with many charming beach cottages, Klipsan Beach is a great place to bring the whole family. Dig for razor clams in season, enjoy ocean sports like surfing and kayaking, or fish from the shore. Amenities are good, with restrooms and plenty of places to stop for a snack. The surroundings are breathtaking and it’s a wonderful beach for bird-watchers. Lifeguards are on duty.
Long Beach has everything you’d want: sand, surf and plenty of amenities. The expanse of sand makes this a perfect spot for all kinds of beach games. Stroll along the sands or enjoy a swim. Stroll along the Long Beach Trail where you can visit the famous Whale Skeleton. Amenities are good, with restrooms, shops and concessions on or close by the beach. The nearby town has plenty of amusements and educational establishments, including a free museum. Lifeguards patrol the swimming spots.
Meydenbauer Bay Park, Bellevue
Meydenbauer Bay Park is ideal for a full day of fun in the sand. The beach itself is very beautiful, with great views and lots to see. There’s a playground, concessions, restrooms and places to stop for a snack. A managed swimming area with lifeguards makes a safe place to paddle and swim. It’s a great place for beginners to try out some ocean sports such as kayaking.
Ocean City State Park
The long, sandy beach here offers a great place for strolls and hiking, but stop for a while and you’ll find lots to occupy children of all ages. The sea is just choppy enough to be fun but not so wild that smaller children won’t enjoy it. There are restrictions on driving on the beach during the high season but at other times it’s okay to being your car. The ocean beach, dunes and shore pines are perfect for young adventurers to explore. There are razor clams and lots of birdlife. The State Park has great amenities, with restrooms, showers, a store, and places to grab a snack and a cold or hot drink. Activities include ocean sports, boating, fishing and even dog-sledding. Lifeguards are present.
Ocean Shores Beach
A scenic stretch of beach with some well-developed spots, Ocean Shores Beach gives you the best of both worlds. Enjoy a walk along the sands or grab a spot to relax and build sandcastles. There are razor clams in seasons and lots of interesting ocean creatures. Activities are varied, including all your favourite ocean sports. Equipment rentals are available. There are a number of events; the highlight of the year is the annual stunt kite competition, held in June. Camping is permitted. Take a bike ride or even go horse-riding along the shore. In the early spring, you might glimpse grey whales off the coast. Amenities include play areas, restrooms and places to eat. Lifeguards are on duty.
Pacific Beach State Park
Scenic and fun, Pacific Beach State Park offers more than just sea and sand. There are picnic areas, dunes to explore and dramatic surf for ocean sports. The Park has amenities like restrooms, stores and food outlets. No lifeguards.
Seward Park, Seattle
Scenic and great for wildlife, Seward Park includes a stretch of sandy lakeshore backed by dunes and woodland. The water is fairly calm and is great for swimming, canoeing, kayaking, jet-skiing and other water-sports. The park offers facilities such as restrooms, picnic tables, food and drink, and a children’s play area. The beach commands excellent views of Lake Washington. Fishing is permitted. There are no lifeguards.
Twin Harbors State Park
With nature study and beach exploration activities, Twin Harbors State Park always has something going on. Try your hand at surf fishing, kayaking or canoeing, stroll along the sands, go crabbing or stop for a picnic. Facilities are great, courtesy of the State Park. You’ll find restrooms and places to grab a snack or a light meal. No lifeguards.
Waverly Beach Park, Kirkland
The public dock at Waverly Beach Park makes this the ideal spot for a boating adventure. Gentle waves, soft sand, and great amenities contribute to the family-friendly feel. There are picnic spots and the park allows gas-fired barbecues. There’s a fishing area, a windsurfing area, and quiet spots for sea bathing. There are a children’s play area and restrooms just off the beach. No lifeguards.
Westport Light State Park
With multiple beaches offering sandy shores and tall dunes, Westport Light State Park is a lovely spot for a day trip or a full beach vacation. Try surfing, go fishing, take a boat ride, or just go for a stroll. Horses and bikes are permitted on the beach. Nearby attractions include the Westport Lighthouse. Amenities are great, with restrooms, showers, campsites, and RV facilities. Food is available at the park. No lifeguards.