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Where to Swim Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound in Summer 2020

Cool off and social-distance at these awesome lake beaches

Kate Missine
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Published on: August 07, 2020

Where to Swim Around Seattle, the Eastside and South Sound in Summer 2020

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

City of Seattle beaches

Update Aug. 16, 2020: Some swimming beaches around King County remain closed due to high bacteria levels. These are: Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park and Madrona Beach (on Lake Washington) and Lake Wilderness Beach in Maple Valley. Enatai and Newcastle have reopened.

Update Aug. 6, 2020: The City of Seattle has opened four Seattle beaches — with lifeguards! These are: Madison Park Beach, Magnuson Park Beach, Pritchard Island Beach (all on Lake Washington) and West Green Lake (by the Bathhouse Theater, not the community center.) Check lifeguard hours on the swimming beaches page. All other Seattle Parks and Recreation beaches will remain closed for the remainder of the season.

Other swimming beaches around King County remain closed due to high bacteria levels. These are: Enatai Beach, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Newcastle Beach (all on Lake Washington) and Lake Wilderness Beach in Maple Valley.

Update Aug. 2, 2020: King County has closed six Lake Washington beaches due to high bacteria levels. It's not safe for humans or pets to swim in these areas: Enatai Beach, Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park, Madrona Beach, Matthews Beach, Mount Baker Beach and Newcastle Beach.

Original article July 17, 2020: 

Seattle Parks and Recreation initially planned to open five swimming beaches with lifeguards on July 1, then the date was postponed to July 16. 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

Update Aug. 6: Matthews Beach will not open for summer 2020 after allThe 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 a fun playground awaits reopening. 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.

Mount Baker Beach

Update Aug. 6: Mount Baker Beach will not open for summer 2020 after all. 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 (once it opens).

Magnuson Park

Not originally among the swimming beaches the city planned to open, as of Aug. 6, 2020, lifeguards are stationed at Magnuson Park's swimming beach.

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.  

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