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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
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Published on: June 24, 2021

Best Swimming Lakes Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound

spr lifeguard at a lake
Photo:
A lifeguard on duty for Seattle Parks and Recreation (during a previous season) | Credit: Seattle Parks

Seattle Parks and Rec swimming beaches

Seattle Parks and Recreation will open eight swimming beaches, with lifeguards, for summer 2021. Beaches will open beginning Saturday, June 26, 2021. 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.

Pritchard Island Beach

This quaint beach (which used to be an actual island!) sits off the beaten path in the Rainier Beach area, 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.

Matthews Beach Park

The 22-acre Matthews Beach Park is home to Seattle’s largest freshwater beach. An expansive swimming area and plentiful grassy space make spreading out safely a breeze, and you'll find a fun playground there as well. The park also happens to be right off the Burke-Gilman Trail, making it a perfect stopover on a cycling adventure.

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.

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.

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.

Magnuson Park

Find lots of space at expansive Magnuson Park. Pockets of trees provide shade and restrooms are centrally located.

Seward Park

Ride your bikes or scooters, play on the playground, hike in the thicket of woods above the lake and, of course, take a swim. Seward Park has lots to offer.

West Green Lake

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.

Next up: Eastside lake-swimming spots

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