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Day-Trip Destination: Best Things to Do in Family-Friendly Edmonds

Come for the beachside location, stay for the parks, foodie props and local arts

Published on: June 28, 2022

A young boy in shorts and a tank top plays in the sand on the beach in Edmonds, Washington. It's a sunny evening and a pier is visible behind him.
Photo:
Playing in the sand at the beach in Edmonds

The vibe

You know a city has to be great when local travel legend Rick Steves, who has circumnavigated the globe, still chooses to make Edmonds his home. Come for the beachside location and stay for the parks, foodie props, and the local arts and music scene (which includes kids!). Don’t forget that Edmonds connects with Kingston via ferry, so whether you walk or drive on, you’re just 30 minutes away from the Olympic Peninsula.

"Fountain in downtown Edmonds, Washington"
Downtown Edmonds

Only the locals know …

Have you gotten wind of Edmond’s founding story? Legend has it that in the 1870s, while logger George Brackett was searching the Puget Sound shoreline for harvestable timber, stormy winds drove him to beach his canoe just north of where the town’s modern-day ferry dock is located. You might say he was blown away (see what I did there?) by the area’s forests, because while he spent time logging in what is present-day Ballard, Brackett later purchased the claim of another settler, incorporated the town of Edmonds in 1890 and became its first mayor.

"Seals sitting on a rock in the Puget Sound"
Photo credit: Puget Sound Express, Bart Rulon

Take a cultural trip

Get your play on

Make the most of the seaside location by hitting the beach. The dog-friendly Marina Beach Park has a lovely playground. (It’s also adjacent to Puget Sound Express, which offers fabulous whale watching tours). There are also Brackett’s Landing and Picnic Point Park, both of which offer plenty of sand, tide pools full of sea creatures, and train-spotting opportunities.

"Grassy park with picnic tables looking out to Puget Sound"
Picnic Point Park

Edmonds City Park features a playground that’s big enough for everyone and also offers plenty of gorgeous seasonal attractions: cherry blossoms in spring, a splash park in the summer and golden leaves in the fall. Head a bit farther north for a visit to the inclusive playground at Seaview Park.

 

Yost Memorial Park features tennis courts and an outdoor pool, but hiking families will especially appreciate the park’s trails. The Sword Fern Trail even has boardwalks that are perfect for little legs. Watch for owls here and at nearby Pine Ridge Park, where you might also spot a fairy house at the base of an evergreen.

"Young girls sitting at a table painting pictures"
Photo Credit: KidsCreate, Edmonds Art Festival

Year-round family fun

Festivals and kid-friendly opportunities to enjoy the arts abound in Edmonds (which is home to Washington state’s first official Creative District). In May, the Rotary Club hosts a Jazz Connection event, which supports local school bands. Summer is the busiest time of year: Don’t miss the free concerts at City Park and Hazel Miller Plaza; the Edmonds Art Festival in June; and the Taste Edmonds festival in August, which features food and wine as well as plenty of kids’ activities and classic cars.

Halloween gets competitive around here — look for contests for the best costume and themed decoration installations in front of local businesses. December holidays shine, too, with a holiday trolley that carts families around town, festive scavenger hunts, a holiday market and a North Pole mailbox.

Shop stops

Many of the best shops for families are located on the same block of downtown Edmonds’ Main Street. Parents love the soft basics and neutral tones of Little Bipsy’s infant and toddler clothing. Right around the corner, you’ll find beloved Teri’s Toybox, which is crammed full of colorful toys and puzzles. Artistic kids will want to spend their whole allowance on supplies from Artspot Edmonds, and the creative window displays at Edmonds Bookshop always inspire a book purchase or two.

"Five cups of Taiwanese Fruit Tea"
Taiwan fruit tea

Eats + treats

Edmonds is chock-full of tasty treats. Get caffeinated at Walnut Street Coffee or Waterfront Coffee Company (perfect stops prior to a walk-on ferry ride or beach visit) before indulging in a weekend waffle feast at Rusty Pelican Cafe. If you’re planning a beach picnic, head to Ono Authentic Hawaiian Poke for its daily poke specials, or drop in at Market Edmonds to catch an East Coast–style lobster roll. Anthony’s Beach Cafe brings the beach to you with a sandbox located out back for lunchtime kid entertainment. Find your frozen sweet treat of choice at Revelations Yogurt or Canarino Gelato. On Saturdays between May and October, head downtown for the Edmonds Museum Summer Market to pick up fruit and veggies for the week.

According to the residents …

Locals are as enthusiastic about Edmonds’ cultural riches as visitors are. Christy Olsen Field and her husband, Carl, think Edmonds is the perfect place to raise their two sons. She says, “One of the best parts about living here is the incredible diversity of restaurants and shops along Highway 99 — it’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Asian restaurants, in particular! We are big fans of Yifang Taiwanese Fruit Tea and Pho 84.”

The natural beauty is a huge perk, too. She adds, “I was at the beach last week for a low-tide field trip with my son’s co-op preschool class, and I remarked to my friend who grew up here, ‘I cannot believe that our kids get to call this place home.’ Edmonds is such a special place to be, as a visitor or a resident.”

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