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Discovery Park.
Gary Ives/Shutterstock

Where to find sandy beaches in and around Seattle

For when you’ve had enough rocks

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Discovery Park.
| Gary Ives/Shutterstock

It’s hard to find a sandy beach in Seattle—but not impossible.

If you’re a longtime Seattleite, you’re used to making do with rocky, Puget Sound beaches. We sit on driftwood to read our books and bask in the sun, wear our waterproof sandals for swimming and wading, and keep an extra close eye out for oysters. It’s something you get used to, and at least you can make some kind of castle out of rocks.

Alternatively, sometimes park planners will opt for a grassy field leading up to banked waterfront so there’s at least somewhere to lay out a beach blanket—a slight improvement, but still not sand. (It’s harder to build a castle out of grass.)

Regardless, it’s not the same. Sometimes, there’s nothing that can replace the allure of a beautiful, soft, sandy beach, with only the smallest chance of rock-related injury or a maimed floaty—and less footwear required. You should still watch for rocks under the water in most cases, though, because there is no true escape from the rocks.

Map points are ordered north to south.

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Matthews Beach Park

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While Matthews Beach Park doesn’t have much sand, it does have a small strip right by the water.

A post shared by DANIELA MANTILLA (@danimaq) on

Golden Gardens Park

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One of the longest stretches of sand available in the city—and probably the most idyllic, traditional, sandy beach—is at Golden Gardens Park, especially around the most amenity-rich areas. It can get a little gravely farther along, but not nearly as much as other beaches.

A post shared by (@the_littlest_o) on

Houghton Beach Park

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This Kirkland beach has sand lining the water—but watching for rocks is still best practice.

Discovery Park

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While the Discovery Park costline has its share of rocky cliffs and waterfront, sand dunes around the lighthouse area make a stretch of sandy beach. Just watch out for the rocks closer to the water.

A post shared by Chad Trudgeon (@ctrudge) on

Idylwood Park

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Idylwood Park has a thicker sand strip than many Lake Washington beaches—and a large swimming area.

Madison Park Beach

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This is one of the most popular beaches once the weather gets hot in Seattle—and while much of it is grass with banked waterfront, there’s a strip of sand, too.

Myrtle Edwards Park

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This park is mostly lined with rocky banks, but a pocket of beach around a small cove is sandy—and usually not too crowded, despite being right by downtown and the waterfront.

A post shared by Squire (@squiretheaugie) on

Madrona Park

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While you still have to watch out for rocks wading into the water, this park has a sandy patch for castles and play.

A post shared by Kaitlyn Herzog (@kait_herzog) on

Alki Beach

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While some stretches of Alki can still be treacherous, the main drag of the park by the volleyball courts and the bathhouse is sandy.

A post shared by Breanna Marie (@breanna_mariee) on

Mt. Baker Park

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Much of the park has banked waterfront, but sand lines the swimming area for an extra-playful vibe.

A post shared by Jill (@jilnew10) on

Lake Sammamish State Park

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While the shallows are still rocky, there’s at least a wide swath of sand to lounge on at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

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Southenders can find plenty of sandy beach down in Renton at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. Take a lakeside nap after walking a couple of miles of trails.

Angle Lake Park

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If you’re not already in Seatac, you can take the light rail down to find sand at Angle Lake Park.

A post shared by Marie Perez (@muchacha518) on

Lake Wilderness Park

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Yes, it’s all the way down in Maple Valley, but this beach is super sandy—even in the water.

Lake Meridian Park Beach

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This lakeside beach in Kent has both sandy parts and gravelly parts—plus a lawn above for more sunbathing.

A post shared by Greg Olson (@renotramp) on

Steel Lake Park

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Play on the sand or jump off the dock at this lakeside beach in Federal Way.

Matthews Beach Park

While Matthews Beach Park doesn’t have much sand, it does have a small strip right by the water.

A post shared by DANIELA MANTILLA (@danimaq) on

Golden Gardens Park

One of the longest stretches of sand available in the city—and probably the most idyllic, traditional, sandy beach—is at Golden Gardens Park, especially around the most amenity-rich areas. It can get a little gravely farther along, but not nearly as much as other beaches.

A post shared by (@the_littlest_o) on

Houghton Beach Park

This Kirkland beach has sand lining the water—but watching for rocks is still best practice.

Discovery Park

While the Discovery Park costline has its share of rocky cliffs and waterfront, sand dunes around the lighthouse area make a stretch of sandy beach. Just watch out for the rocks closer to the water.

A post shared by Chad Trudgeon (@ctrudge) on

Idylwood Park

Idylwood Park has a thicker sand strip than many Lake Washington beaches—and a large swimming area.

Madison Park Beach

This is one of the most popular beaches once the weather gets hot in Seattle—and while much of it is grass with banked waterfront, there’s a strip of sand, too.

Myrtle Edwards Park

This park is mostly lined with rocky banks, but a pocket of beach around a small cove is sandy—and usually not too crowded, despite being right by downtown and the waterfront.

A post shared by Squire (@squiretheaugie) on

Madrona Park

While you still have to watch out for rocks wading into the water, this park has a sandy patch for castles and play.

A post shared by Kaitlyn Herzog (@kait_herzog) on

Alki Beach

While some stretches of Alki can still be treacherous, the main drag of the park by the volleyball courts and the bathhouse is sandy.

A post shared by Breanna Marie (@breanna_mariee) on

Mt. Baker Park

Much of the park has banked waterfront, but sand lines the swimming area for an extra-playful vibe.

A post shared by Jill (@jilnew10) on

Lake Sammamish State Park

While the shallows are still rocky, there’s at least a wide swath of sand to lounge on at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah.

Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park

Southenders can find plenty of sandy beach down in Renton at Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park. Take a lakeside nap after walking a couple of miles of trails.

Angle Lake Park

If you’re not already in Seatac, you can take the light rail down to find sand at Angle Lake Park.

A post shared by Marie Perez (@muchacha518) on

Lake Wilderness Park

Yes, it’s all the way down in Maple Valley, but this beach is super sandy—even in the water.

Lake Meridian Park Beach

This lakeside beach in Kent has both sandy parts and gravelly parts—plus a lawn above for more sunbathing.

A post shared by Greg Olson (@renotramp) on

Steel Lake Park

Play on the sand or jump off the dock at this lakeside beach in Federal Way.