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What to See and Do With Kids in the Seattle Area’s Biggest Parks

Play all day in four huge parks that make up part of our collective big backyard

Published on: October 28, 2021

Boy on a boardwalk over Sammamish River Marymoor Park Audubon Bird loop best biggest parks around Seattle and Puget Sound
Families can play in all kinds of ways at some of our region's biggest parks. Credit: Natasha Dillinger

We like big parks — who doesn’t?

They say it’s about the journey, not the destination, but could someone please explain that to my kids when we have to drive two hours to a trailhead? To help keep the backseat peace, we often opt for a shorter commute to one of the Puget Sound area’s megaparks. These behemoths offer something for everyone: Playgrounds, trails and bike paths are surrounded by plenty of open space, making it easy to physically distance from others, yet they’re close enough to home that we can make it home by naptime.

Before you head off to the closest big park, check out these tips to make the most of your visit.

  1. Most of the parks offer paved or gravel trails that are wheel-friendly. (Discovery Park has more traditional hiking trails.) Consider a jogging stroller or carrier if you’re planning to tour the whole park and have young kids in tow. We often walk 2–5 miles on a visit, and such an item helps to give little legs a break.
  2. Strategize for your “ins and outs.” Unlike your favorite neighborhood park, these urban oases aren’t within walking distance of a café, and their restroom facilities are basic and spread out. Pack a picnic and use bathrooms when you have the opportunity.
  3. Save the best for last. I like to take my young kids for a walk first before revealing that we’ve magically parked just out of sight of the play area — sure to result in an instant energy boost!

Ready to head for the hills? Use the arrows above to page through the top things to do at four of Puget Sound’s biggest and most incredible destination parks. 

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