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Best Swimming Lakes Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

Take the kids to spash and swim at these great lakes

Kate Missine

Published on: June 27, 2023

Best Swimming Lakes Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

A lifeguard watches children swim at Seattle swimming beach where to swim in Seattle Mount Baker Beach on Lake Washington
A lifeguard watches swimmers at Mount Baker Beach. Credit: Seattle Parks and Recreation

Seattle swimming beaches

Seattle Parks and Recreation will open six swimming beaches, with lifeguards, for summer 2023. Beaches will open beginning Saturday, June 24, 2023. Lifeguards are on duty on good weather days, weekdays noon–7 p.m., and weekends 11 a.m.–7 p.m., through Labor Day. Check Seattle’s swimming beaches page for current status. The city strongly discourages swimming without lifeguards present.

Madison Park Beach

One of the city’s most popular swimming beaches — for good reason — Madison Beach sits on Lake Washington at the eastern edge of the vibrant Madison Park neighborhood. A swimming raft, diving boards and a well-tended grassy area draw families.

Magnuson Park Beach

After the closure of Matthews Beach for the remainder of the summer (see below), Seattle Parks has reassigned available life guards and opened Magnuson Park Beach, with lifeguards, for the rest of the season. Hooray! Lifeguards will be on duty noon–7 p.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m.–7 p.m. weekends. Magnuson Park is one of Seattle’s biggest parks and there is a ton of fun to be had, with a playground, dog park, walking trails, soccer fields and public art.

Matthews Beach

Update July 24, 2023: Seattle Parks has closed the Matthews Beach swimming beach for the rest of the summer, due to consistently high levels of bacteria in the water. Yuck! Def. go swim somewhere else!

Mount Baker Beach

This favorite South Seattle spot follows a ravine boulevard gently sloping down to the family-friendly beach. With a dock, diving platform and roped-off swim area, the water invites swimmers of all levels; and adjacent Colman Park has plenty of walking and cycling paths, tennis courts and a newly renovated playground for after-swim fun.

Pritchard Island Beach

This quaint beach (which used to be an actual island!) sits off the beaten path in the Rainier Beach neighborhood, north of Beer Sheva Park. The swimming area is small but roped off and ideal for youngsters, and the secluded spot, bordered by a picnic-perfect lawn on one side and a marshland on the other, keeps crowds down.

West Green Lake Beach

With its sparkling water and green spaces in the middle of a dense city neighborhood, Green Lake is a true urban gem. There are two swimming areas, but only one, West Green Lake, will be open this summer. Note that this is the swimming area by the Bathhouse Theater, not the swimming area by the community center (this one remains closed). The lake is surrounded by a path perfect for walking and running, and Green Lake Park is also a natural preserve packed with adventures.

Madrona Beach

Spread out your blanket on the grass or hug the trees for shade on a hot day and enjoy a refreshing dip in Lake Washington.

Next up: Eastside swimming lakes

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