Life doesn’t get much better than summer on the Eastside, and now’s the perfect time to swap out your sweaters for your new swimsuit. While surf, sand, and sun aren’t words that normally spring to mind when thinking about the Eastside, we’ve got plenty of all three. Not sure where to go? We’ve rounded up a list of all the best places to dip your toes in the water. From warm lakes to brisk rivers, there are lots of places to get into the swim of things this summer. Make sure to wear a life jacket.
Lake Sammamish State Park
With over a mile of unobstructed waterfront, Lake Sammamish State Park is the place to be this summer. Kids will love splashing around and playing a game of beach volleyball with the fam — just make sure to bring your net! You can also take the competition to the water in a canoe, pedal boat, or stand-up paddleboard from Issaquah Paddle Sports.
Lake Wilderness Park
Just a half hour from Renton, you’ll find one of the Eastside’s best summer getaways. Tucked away in Maple Valley, Lake Wilderness Park features clean water, fresh air, and prime shoreline. Dip your toes into the water at Swim Beach and cool off afterwards with a scoop of ice cream from the concession stand.
At Newport Shores, you’ll find a boater’s paradise. This idyllic Bellevue community, nestled along the southeast shore of Lake Washington, looks like something out of a postcard. While the yacht club is open to members only, there’s a public boat launch just north of the community.
Newcastle Beach Park
With 29 acres, Newcastle Beach Park is the largest beach park in Bellevue. It’s also one of the most popular — and for good reason. It’s hard to imagine that minutes from downtown is a beach oasis, perfect for swimming and lounging under the sun. Kids, teens, and adults alike will love jumping off the 300-foot dock into the brisk, blue waters of Lake Washington. Parking is limited, so carpool.
Take a break from the beach and spend the day floating down the Sammamish River in a kayak. Perfect for both new and experienced kayakers, this 14-mile stretch of water flows through Redmond, Woodinville, Bothell, and Kenmore, offering a sea of beautiful views. Launch from Marymoor Park or the WDFW lot in Kenmore — the current is light enough that you can travel both directions easily.
Mercer Slough Nature Park
In the heart of Bellevue, Mercer Slough Nature Park offers an escape from the urban Eastside. At over 320 acres, it’s Lake Washington’s largest remaining wetland and is home to hundreds of diverse plant and animal species. Start your trip at Sweyolocken Boat Launch and explore the 2.6-mile canal via kayak or canoe. Paddle past great blue herons, bald eagles, jays, beavers, otters, and water lilies for a peaceful, nature-filled afternoon.
Enatai Beach Park
Just a stone’s throw away from Mercer Slough, Enatai Beach Park pretty much has it all. With a fishing dock, sandy beach, and swimming area, there are tons of opportunities for you to play in and out of the water. For the more adventurous folks, the Enatai boathouse also offers kayak, stand up paddleboard, and canoe rentals.
Juanita Beach Park
Jump in the warm waters of Juanita Bay or wander from the beach and stroll along Juanita Creek. You’ll find dozens of people kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding once the weather warms up. Thanks to Northwest Paddle Surfers, you can even take the whole group on the water. The Jumbo SUP rental fits up to eight people.
Saint Edward State Park
Head north to Saint Edward State Park, where the woods meet the water. To get to the secluded beach, hike one of the park’s many trails. Trust us, the walk is worth it. After walking through a century-old second-growth forest of Douglas firs, big leaf maples, and western red cedars, you’ll reach the undeveloped shoreline of Lake Washington. The beach is accessible only by foot, so you’re bound to have the sandy shores all to yourself.
Lake Stevens is the largest lake in Snohomish County, and Lundeen Park is the best place to take in the sandy beaches and balmy lake water. Kids of all ages can splash around next to ducks and geese, while eagles soar overhead.
Just minutes from the Everett waterfront, the ferry ride to Jetty Island makes it an easy day trip. This 2-mile stretch of sand and water is a must for your bucket list. Home to over 45 species of birds, this manmade island is perfect for kids to explore. Grab some beach towels and a cooler to make a day out of it. Don’t forget sunscreen. There’s little cover on the island.
Enjoy a relaxing float down the Cedar River this summer. Flowing from the Cascades to Lake Washington, Cedar River offers a wide variety of scenery. Grab life jackets, tubes, or an inflatable raft and start your journey at Habenicht Park. Most groups float about 3 miles, making for an easy trip. Just watch out for any floating wood — it’s called Cedar River for a reason!
Brackett’s Landing is a great place to walk along the jetty and explore the Edmonds waterfront. Stroll from the marina to the Underwater Park and take in the sights. From ferries to the Cascades, you’ll be treated to a whole panorama of beautiful scenery.
Make Waves in Kirkland
This summer experience Kirkland the best way – by water.
- Dock + Shop: You can dock your boat at one of the year-round moorage slips open to the public for free for three hours! Then you can walk and shop the boutiques or enjoy a meal at an area restaurant.
- Boat + Board: Rent either one through Northwest Paddle Surfers, Perfect Wave, or Woodmark Waterfront Adventures.
- Sail + Feel Like a Pirate: Feel like Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean on Labor Day weekend as the Historical Tall Ships return to Carillon Point.