Things to Do in the Seattle Area: Public Parks

The Seattle area’s wealth of parks makes for some rich escapes into nature.

Seattle’s clean and green appearance doesn’t come by accident. Seattle Parks and Recreation owns 11 percent of the city’s total acreage, and more than 500 parks infuse the Puget Sound region with places to play. Here’s a sampling of the area’s best parks.

  • Discovery Park Seattle’s largest park is a wild mix of habitats. More than 11 miles of hiking trails wind through 550 acres of wildflower meadows, arching bluffs, and tidepool-lined beach.
  • Washington Park Arboretum With more than 150 types of trees and 500 kinds of plants, the 230-acre arboretum shines on the shores of Lake Washington.
  • Hiram M. Chittenden Locks Seattle’s maritime pleasures are on full display in the Ballard neighborhood. See a roaring spillway dam, salmon fish-ladder windows, and maybe even a sea lion or two.
  • Jetty Island, Everett This two-mile-long, man-made island owned by the Port of Everett is a favorite for families who are looking for sandy beaches and shallow, warm waters for swimming. Steady winds also make it one of the state’s premier spots for kiteboarding.
  • Priest Point, Olympia Nestled around Ellis Cove, in the Budd Inlet, the 314-acre park is a haven for dozens of species of birds including kingfishers, great blue herons, and screech owls.
  • Cougar Mountain Regional Park, Issaquah Boasting more than 35 miles of trails, Cougar Mountain is laced with hiking opportunities. Four separate trailheads, all accessed from I-90, make it easy to get your boots up the mountain—and to take in stunning views of the Cascades and downtown Bellevue and Seattle.

Fine more parks in Seattle.

-Lora Shinn