Family Friendly Water Activities in Seattle

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Summer is here! The recent heat wave we experienced in Seattle has got me thinking of water activities in Seattle to help my kids and me stay cool during the day. Most Seattle homes, like ours, are not equipped with air conditioning. So the next best thing to do on a hot day is some good old-fashioned water play.

Water activities in Seattle to keep you cool this summer

We love all the many options there are to play in the water in Seattle. If you live in the city, or just visiting, here are my top ten picks for family friendly water activities in Seattle:

International Fountain at Seattle Center

In the middle of the Seattle Center is the International Fountain. Consisting of a giant metal dome bedecked with an assortment of water-spraying nozzles, the fountain sprays are synchronized to music, and run on a regularly scheduled program. This International Fountain is one of the favorite water activities in Seattle among local families.

Kids looking at the International Fountain at the Seattle Center
Hanging out by the International Fountain during Folklife Festival (May 2015)

Madison Park

For freshwater beaches, nothing beats Madison Park Beach. The water can get a bit cool, but my kids love playing in the water. There’s also a playground across the street from the beach, if you’re in the mood for land-based play.

Playing at Madison Park Beach (September 2011)

Volunteer Park Wading Pool

Volunteer Park is one of the oldest parks in Seattle, and their wading pool is nice because it’s mostly shaded by trees, making it a nice oasis on one of those 90 degree summer days. Since it’s a wading pool, this park is especially great for younger kids, but you can sometimes find grown ups wading in the water as well.

Wading at Volunteer Park (September 2011)

Rainier Beach Community Center Pool

We love hitting up the community pools. They’re a great option for water activities in Seattle at any time of the year. Not only is it relatively cheap (under $5 a person), but it’s a great way to get our kids comfortable with being in the water. Our favorite community pool is the Rainier Beach Community Center Pool, which features a baby pool with sprinklers, a whirl pool, and a lazy river.

Waiting to swim at the Rainier Beach Community Pool (January 2015)

Ballard Commons Park

Probably due to its close proximity to our house, we like to go to Ballard Commons Park on hot summer days. I like the urban feel of the park, and the use of stone sculptures rather than the standard plastic splash park structures, gives the park a little edgy appeal.

Playing with water at Ballard Commons Park (May 2015)

South Lake Union Park

Another park we like to go to is South Lake Union Park. Located near the Museum of History and Industry, the park has docks where you can dive into the lake for a swim. If swimming in the lake is a bit unnerving for you (especially if you’re a parent of young kids, like me), then you can have the kids play in the splash park. This is a fun way for your little ones to enjoy water activities in Seattle, without having to swim.

Getting sprayed at South Lake Union Park (August 2015)

Kayaking on Lake Union

Another option for enjoying Lake Union is to go kayaking. Several companies along the lake offer kayaks for rent, usually for $17-$20 an hour. For a much cheaper option, head over to the University of Washington Waterfront Activities Center and rent one of their canoes. Rentals are hourly, and a two hour rental gives you enough time to check out the surrounding area at a leisurely pace.

A view of South Lake Union in Seattle
South Lake Union (May 2015)

Alki Beach

For beaches and water of the saltwater variety, we enjoy visiting Alki Beach. This is a great place to check out views of the downtown Seattle skyline, and the salty sea breeze makes it seem like I’m walking through a beach town.

Statue of Liberty replica overlooking Alki Beach in Seattle
Alki Beach (September 2011)

Golden Gardens Park

Another beach we love visiting is Golden Gardens Park. On sunny days, this beach is packed with locals looking to take advantage of the sun. Golden Gardens offers some great views of the Puget Sound, and even if you’re not planning on taking a dip in the water, you can just sit on the beach and watch the sailboats go by.

Sunbathers on the sand at Golden Gardens in Seattle
Golden Gardens on a sunny day (June 2015)

Backyard sprinkler play

When all else fails, our favorite activity to beat the heat is to simply turn on the sprinklers in our backyard and let our kids run through them. This has the added bonus of watering our yellowing lawn!

Playing with a slip and slide (July 2015)

Seattle is a great place for families. And if you and your kids are looking for fun water activities in Seattle, then your options are virtually limitless. What are your favorite ways to beat the heat in Seattle? Let me know in the comments!

Family Friendly Water Activities in Seattle | The Wandering Daughter

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3 Responses

  1. It’s so hard to imagine it being hot in Seattle – even though the sunshine we’ve had the last few weeks has been great! But these are great tips for summer!

    1. I love South Lake Union too. It’s really been built up over the years, and now there are so many shops and restaurants in that area!

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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