Fisher Creek Park. Photo credit: City of Snoqualmie
4 hidden-gem parks
Summer is the perfect time to discover a new park, ideally one with all-day appeal. Here are four under-the-radar spots that offer thrills for kids, views for grown-ups and activities for everyone. (Psst: Find even more.)
1. Enatai Beach Park
Don’t let its location almost underneath Interstate 90 in Bellevue deter you. Enatai Beach Park has some of the best views of Lake Washington around and is very kid-friendly.
Stop first on the park’s upper level, with its huge lawn of perfectly mowed grass and two brightly colored play structures. Then, take the steps down to the sandy beach and dock. Kids can swim, dig in the sand and watch kayakers launch, while adults take in views of the lake and Mercer Island across the water. Lifeguards staff the beach from noon to 7 p.m. daily from the end of June through Labor Day.
Pro tips: You can rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards right at Enatai Beach through Cascade PaddleSports. The city of Bellevue also offers three-hour canoe tours of Mercer Slough from Enatai on weekends (kids have to be at least 5; $16–$18/person).
Fine print: 3519 108th Ave. S.E., Bellevue. Free parking is available in the lot.
2. Jack Block Park
This unusually shaped, little-known West Seattle park (owned by the Port of Seattle and located at the northwest corner of the port’s Terminal 5) supplies one of the best views of the downtown skyline. Although there’s no real playground here, plenty of interesting features make it a fantastic spot for kids. Dig in the gigantic gravelly sandpit, play on the quiet beach, cross over pedestrian bridges and spy on activity at the port. Adults will be amazed at the sights from two viewpoints, one at the end of a wooden dock and the other from a 45-foot-tall observation platform. The entire park is stroller- and wheelchair-friendly, with paved paths.
Bonus: Ride or walk one-third of a mile down the Alki Trail to Seacrest Park, where you’ll find a fishing pier, an awesome Hawaiian-Korean restaurant (Marination Ma Kai), boat and bike rentals, and beach access. It’s also where the pedestrian-only King County Water Taxi docks in West Seattle on its route to downtown Seattle.
Fine print: 2130 Harbor Ave. S.W. (at S.W. Florida St.), Seattle. Free parking available in two lots, one near the entrance and another 0.3 mile farther into the park.
3. Fisher Creek Park
This epic park, which opened in 2015 in the Snoqualmie Ridge area, will be a favorite of every adventure-seeking kid. The seven steep slides are pretty scary, the two ziplines pick up a lot of speed, and the net dome climber has an unusual, challenging shape. Don’t miss the huge climbing wall or the obstacle-course-style play structure.
Bonus: Finally getting bored? Head into the small forest to find two kid-friendly bike courses, with jumps, dirt rollers and more. The town of Snoqualmie, where you can explore the Northwest Railway Museum, is also a short drive away.
Fine print: 7805 Fisher Ave. S.E., Snoqualmie. Free parking is available in the lot near the playground.
4. Redondo Beach and Pier
Des Moines’ long, curving Redondo Beach offers hours of toe-dipping, digging and exploring for kids, while adults take in views of Puget Sound, Vashon Island and the Olympic Mountains. Walk out on the wooden pier to take in even more sweeping views.
Bonus: On the pier, visit the Marine Science and Technology (MaST) Center, the small aquarium operated by Highline College, which is home to 250 species of marine life. It’s free and open to the public on Saturdays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and Thursdays (summer only), 4–7 p.m.
Fine print: Redondo Beach Dr. S. and Redondo Way S., Des Moines. Free parking is available on nearby streets. There is a paid parking lot off Redondo Way S.
— Linnea Westerlind