Family Fun | Outings + Activities

Shady Hikes for Kids and Families Around Seattle

Green, water-full rambles near and around Seattle

Photo credit: Elisa Murray

Summer weather has arrived with a vengeance in the Northwest!  If you’re anything like me, you are always looking for ways to keep the kids occupied, and also trying to find ways to stay cool on warm afternoons. I’ve picked out several of my family’s favorite hikes that involve water or shady green trails. Washington State Parks offer a variety of experiences to keep young minds stimulated, and the Forest Service trails provide a more rustic outing. For the six State Parks featured in this article you’ll need to obtain a Discover Pass for parking; I’ve noted for the remainder if you’ll need a NW Forest Pass. (Find free state park days here.)

When planning a hike, remember to bring snacks, water, sun hats and sunscreen, and to wear sturdy shoes.  Use caution and common sense when deciding if your children will be safe in the water.  Stay away from strong currents, deep areas, or white water.  I like to pack swimsuits and sandals in separate plastic bags to keep everything else dry in my pack.  Bring extra layers for bundling up little bodies after a dip in a lake or stream; even on hot afternoons, most Pacific Northwest lakes and streams are chilly.

The Hikes:    

Read Next