10 of the best Seattle-area parks for kids
Seattle is chock-full of gorgeous parks with something for every family. Whether you're looking for a more challenging hike, a long walk in the woods, or a field to run on, we've picked the ten best parks around Seattle to explore.
St. Edward State Park, hugging the banks of Lake Washington, has over 300 acres of land. They've also got arguably one of the coolest playgrounds around: an all-wood play structure with slides, turrets and tunnels. If you’re looking for a laid-back day walk, you’ll find picnic tables and peaceful walking paths; for a more active day, the park allows boating, swimming, and waterskiing. Since it's a state park, you'll need a Discover Pass for entry ($10 daily, $30 yearly). 14445 Juanita Dr NE, Kenmore, 98028.
Discovery Park’s lush green spaces and winding, easy paths are a welcome oasis in the middle of Magnolia. It's more of a trek down stairs and trails to reach the saltwater beach, but it's worth it for the mountain views alone. The park has a loop path that winds through the forest as well as open spaces where kids can play and look out on the Sound. The kid-friendly Visitor Center also has fantastic resources for environmental education. 3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, 98199.
Carkeek: come for the playground, stay for the views. The salmon slide at Carkeek will occupy your kids while you admire the stunning Olympics from the shoreline. Climb up the stairs to the pedestrian overpass and take in the spectacular mountain sights while train cars pass beneath your feet. 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd, Seattle, 98177.
Seward is another gem on the shores of Lake Washington. With its 300 acres of forest and green space, you might spot an eagle if you’re lucky. The park hosts an Audubon Center of its very own where classes and camps are held year-round, including wildlife education classes and nature-focused book clubs. 5895 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seattle, 98118.
The largest park in Capitol Hill, Volunteer Park is a Seattle institution. In addition to a recently rebuilt playground and wading pool set to open after Memorial Day, the park houses the Volunteer Park Conservatory as well as the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and boasts a rotund water tower whose 100 steps you can climb to reach the highest point in Capitol Hill. When you’ve reached the top, take in the gorgeous 360° view of downtown and the Eastside. Volunteer Park’s Conservatory ($4 for adults, $2 for teens 13-17, free for kids under 12) showcases an amazing array of plants and flowers. 1247 15th Ave E., Seattle, 98112.
Although it’s a summer standout, Green Lake also shines during the rainier months. With a 2.8 mile loop path for wheels and feet; ample green spaces to play on; a full playground; basketball, tennis, and volleyball courts; an indoor gym; and a superb wading pool in summer, Green Lake’s got it all. 7201 E Greenlake Dr N, Seattle, 98115.
Meridian is a smaller park with a large grassy field, a playground, and a Seattle Tilth-operated P-Patch. Though it’s a significantly tinier park, Meridian is charming and lush, with an apple orchard amid the playfield. 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, Seattle, 98103.
Seattle Parks and Rec describes Lakeridge Park as an “urban oasis of forest and running water,” and that’s no overstatement. Lakeridge’s walking trails meander alongside its Taylor Creek and provide a cool respite from the bustle of the city. 10101 Cornell Ave S, Seattle, 98178.
Though it’s generally understood to mean the far-west Ballard shorefront, Golden Gardens also has a park nestled next to the beach. The park has an ultra-modern playground with a cool rope structure where kids can practice climbing skills, as well as wetlands that lets little ones get up close and personal with nature. 8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, 98117.
Fauntleroy is a decidedly green space, with its trails mostly undisturbed and left in their natural state. Fauntleroy’s creek was made a salmon run in 1991 and has been a home for them ever since. If you’re headed for a walk here, make sure to check out the map for the park’s self-guided nature walk. 3951 SW Barton St, Seattle, 98136.