Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Tide pool

8 great Seattle-area beaches for families to explore at low tide

Check for low tides this week

Low tide happens when the moon’s gravity yanks enough water toward it that we can see creatures on the beach that would never normally be visible to us. It comes for a few days every month.  To figure out the very best time to go, use an online tide-table to find low tide, and then aim to arrive half an hour before then.

[More low-tide tips:  Tide pools around Seattle: where to go, what to look for ]

Here are eight great places to go exploring at low tide, listed from north to south.

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park

Address: 2021 NW 190th St, Shoreline, WA 98177

Getting there: The path over the train tracks and down the hill to the beach, is broad, paved and without stairs.

What’s there: Sand at the upper levels, mixed with pebbles and larger rocks lower down. Some old pilings are worth investigating. Bonus for hot days: this is one of Puget Sound’s windy places, so if there’s a breeze anywhere, it’ll be here.

Richmond Beach

Richmond Beach Saltwater Park (Photo: Molly White)

Carkeek Park

Address: 950 NW Carkeek Park Rd, Seattle, WA 98177

Getting there: From the parking area near the playground, take the footbridge over the train tracks (a freaky crossing for those afraid of heights) and down many stairs to the beach.

What’s there: A mix of sand, pebbles and rocks that are fist-sized, or larger. Some eelgrass. Also, Piper’s creek empties into Puget Sound here.


Golden Gardens

Address: 8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117

Getting there: The most interesting things to find are at the north end of the beach, which is a short, flattish, stair-free walk from the parking lot.

What’s there: Rocks, sand, pebbles, and eelgrass. Bonus: the path to the beach goes over a pond where you can see a beaver dam and a beaver lodge.


Golden Gardens (photo: Allison Holm)

Discovery Park

Address: Fort Lawton Beach, Seattle, WA 98199

Getting there: There are three ways to get to Discovery Park Beach.

You can hike there and admire the forests and meadows that make up Seattle’s largest park as you descend. The trip is at least a mile and a half, and there is a bit of steep climbing on the way back.

What’s there: A lot! Discovery Park Beach at low tide is huge, with broad stretches of mud flat, sea-life-encrusted boulders, pools, eel grass, and abundant bird life. Plus, it has terrible cellphone reception, so your family can be out of touch for a little while.


Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint

Address: 3521 Beach Dr SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Getting there:Also known as South Alki Beach, this beach is around a rocky point from the big, sandy, social part of Alki Beach. Three ramps lead from the sidewalk to the beach. The number 37 bus stops nearby.

What’s there: Arguably Seattle’s best beach for exploring intertidal life. Along with the pebbles, loose rocks and sand, and some eelgrass, there’s a rare stretch of bedrock, full of pools and crevices where creatures can hide.


Me-Kwa-Mooks Park

Address: 4430 Beach Dr SW, Seattle, WA 98116

Getting there: Of the beaches that don’t require a long walk, this is probably the least accessible for mobility-impaired people. The stairways from the sidewalk to the beach don’t go all the way, so you must jump or scramble to the bottom.

What’s there: A broad stretch of beach including mud, loose rocks, and strips of bedrock.


Lincoln Park

Address: 8011 Fauntleroy Wy SW, Seattle, WA 98136

Getting there: There are four disabled parking spaces by the south end of the beach. Those who can’t park there must take a trail from the Lincoln Park’s south parking lot. (No stairs, but it is unpaved for a stretch.)

What’s there: A wide stretch of rocks and pebbles, and a great view of the Vashon Island ferry.


Seahurst Park

Address: 1600 SW Seahurst Park Rd, Burien, WA 98166

Getting there: If you’re lucky enough to get a space in the lot by the beach, then you’re there. If not, there’s plenty of parking up the hill, and you can walk a quarter mile to the beach through the trees.

What’s there: This beach was restored years ago, so much of the animal life there arrived relatively recently. It is sandy, with two streams flowing into it, named North Creek and South Creek.


More beaches in Seattle’s Child

Best Seattle parks for playgrounds, beaches, view and more

Find the best Seattle beach for your family

About the Author

Fiona Cohen