Kids and families swim and play in Lake Wilderness. Credit: Tiffany Doerr Guerzon
South King County and South Sound swimming spots
Angle Lake Park, SeaTac
This 10-acre lakefront park has a convenient, mostly pebbly beach backed by a grassy picnic area, and offers up room to swim, boat and fish. A scenic waterfront nature trail and a pretty arbor seating area make for lovely reprieves from the summer sun. The park also features a playground and a fantastic splash park.
Lake Wilderness, Maple Valley
The amazing Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley’s wooded, 117-acre regional park serves up all the old-school fun of a campground, without the camping. Cool off with a dip in the crystal-clear lake, rent a canoe or paddleboard, or play a game of Frisbee. Need a break? Kick back with a cool treat from the seasonal concession stand, walk over to the playground, or explore the park’s trails and wetlands.
Lake Tapps, Bonney Lake
A whopping 10,000 feet of waterfront and boating access, framed by amazing views of Mount Rainier, await at this huge man-made lake, accessible at North Lake Tapps Park. The north end of the lake has a sandy family-friendly swimming beach along with picnic areas. On the south side of the lake, find Allan Yorke Park, which features two playgrounds, sports courts and a skate park.
Lake Meridian, Kent
This popular Kent lake boasts sapphire-blue water and plenty of lounging space on sand or grass. An awesome playground featuring a pirate ship structure overlooks the beach. Boating, water skiing and motorized water sports are permitted for thrill-seeking teens and grown-ups; free life jackets are available for daily checkout.
Steel Lake Park, Federal Way
Take a dip in Steel Lake and spread out your picnic on the grassy lawn. You’ll also find horseshoe pits and a skate park across the road. There are no lifeguards on duty.
Spanaway Lake, Spanaway
Find two swimming beaches here — no lifeguards — plus a play area, picnic area, trail system and more.
This lake is adjacent to a popular campground, so you might encounter some crowds on weekends. This smaller lake has a roped-off swim area that’s good for little kids (though do not take your eyes off them!) and it also offers rentals of paddleboards and other watercraft. As this is a state park, you’ll need a Discover Pass to park.
Long Lake Park, Lacey
This popular Thurston County swim area is open for the summer, though due to a staffing shortage there were not lifeguards in 2022 and it is unclear if there will be lifeguards for 2023. Bring a picnic and take a wander on the woodsy trails before or after your swim.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in 2020, and updated most recently for 2023.