Visitors flock to West Seattle for its legendary beaches, but not all of its public shorelines are as well-known as Alki Beach or Lincoln Park. Small coves, hidden treasures, and local favorites line the entire edge of the peninsula—so chances are that if you’re in West Seattle and near the water, you’re surprisingly close to a beach. It might even be a sandy one.
These spots all come with decent odds of seeing some wildlife up close, from baby seals to pods of orcas, but they all bring their own thing to the table. Do you want that water view to come with drinks on a patio? Are you looking for a scuba-diving spot? A quiet place to watch the sun set?
These beaches are ordered from north to south, starting at the back of the peninsula before heading down the coast.
1660 Harbor Ave SW
If you’ve taken the water taxi, you’ve been to Seacrest Park. This park has a lot going on: There’s a fishing pier, hand-carry boat launches, and an underrated Downtown Seattle and industrial waterfront view. Marination Mai Kai set up shop here, too, with bar service. Not only can you drink in this park, but it actively furnishes alcohol for you.
The actual beach here is small, but it’s a beautiful rocky crescent along Cove 2, a popular spot for local divers. It’s set below the road, so it can feel a little intimate, despite the neighboring nautical transit station.
Alki Beach Park
2665 Alki Ave SW
You probably don’t need a guide to tell you about Alki Beach Park. It’s one of the most iconic locations in Seattle: It’s one of just a couple of large sandy beaches in the city, and its view of Downtown is legendary. There’s an entire economy built around it. Just look across the street to its collection of sidewalk cafes, ice cream shops, and fast-casual seafood. This small-scale beach town brings equal delight to locals and tourists—although locals are more likely to know which establishments are actually good.
It’s also, along with fellow big, sandy bonfire beach Golden Gardens, one of the best-known party beaches in the city. Eventually, both parks reached critical levels of rowdiness, and now the fuzz starts shutting things down at about 9:30 every night. Unlike Golden Gardens, however, it has bars across the street, so you can shake the sand out of your shoes and keep things going a little while longer.
Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint
3521 Beach Dr SW
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Just on the other side of Alki Point from Alki Beach—you can even walk between the two during low tide—is a more traditional Northwest rocky beach, lined by tall, sloped bulkheads. Above, the sidewalk features inlays of different constellations.
The fun thing about Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint, made up of Constellation Park and Constellation Park Marine Reserve, is that it draws in all its surroundings, so even as a passing pedestrian you feel like you’re at the beach. The sidewalk art helps, but it’s more about the multi-tiered layout: observation platforms drip just below the sidewalk, and the beachgoers below climb up on different points of the bulkheads to chill.
This is a popular tidepooling destination and launching spot for kayaks and paddleboards, and the driftwood is so plentiful that there’s a comfy seat for almost everyone. There’s always a non-zero chance you’ll see some marine wildlife in this general region, but Charles Richey is especially known for otters, sea lions, and harbor seals. If you’re especially lucky, you might see a pod of orcas passing through.
3701 Beach Dr SW
How do you feel about sea fowl? This park was named for the cormorants that sometimes hang out here. The upper viewing platform features an artful mosaic of its namesake bird, surrounded by tiles illustrated with multiple species of ducks, geese, and other sea birds. A path heads down to a stone patio with a bench, then down to the cove and a small, serene rocky beach.
A word of warning: This park is located directly next to a condo complex built over the water, which occasionally creates some… environmental challenges. If there’s a problem, there’s usually a very stern sign that lets you know.
4000 Beach Dr SW
To get to this private-feeling beach, you have to descend a path between two condo buildings; if not for the striped park sign just outside, you would absolutely feel like you were trespassing to get here. Honestly, once you get down to the beach, you still kind of do, since most of the beach runs just below a line of private patios. But those rows of driftwood logs belong to the public, so sit on them to your heart’s content! Just watch for a relatively subtle sign that indicates where an actual private beach starts.
Weather Watch Park
4035 Beach Dr SW
When you first pass this little park, it looks like just an unassuming piece of public art. A tall weathervane sits on a mosaic along a small viewpoint, topped with seagulls, with weather-themed features, like a small vertical sundial and an explanation of different kinds of clouds, all the way down.
Just to the north, however, a small path unveils a serene, rocky beach with a wide-open view of the water and the Kitsap Peninsula beyond. Beachgoers often make art out of the driftwood—last time I went, there was a large fort built around an especially large log. Despite being just off the street, the park feels incredibly intimate, and it’s a great place to watch the sunset whether you’re with a group of friends or alone with your thoughts.
4503 Beach Dr SW
This beautiful, somewhat brutalist linear park is a network of waterfront paths, some through the grass above and others running up and down along a sea wall. You can get right up against the water without getting your feet dirty, or you can find a little break in the fence that leads to a small corner of rocky beach. Another way down to the water is through the Alaska Shoreline Street End, a wall of weathered-down step seating with a longer stretch of shoreline below.
The beach along this park is a marine reserve, so it’s a popular spot for watching seals, otters, sea lions, porpoises, and the occasional gray whale.
Lowman Beach Park
7017 Beach Dr SW
This park is well-known to local islanders but otherwise kind of a hidden gem. It packs a lot of function into a relatively small park: A path through a tree-lined lawn above winds around swings, tennis courts, and open space for lounging and sunbathing—or I guess playing frisbee or whatever, as long as you’re courteous to those that do not prefer movement. The expansive rocky-sandy beach is just past a small concrete bulkhead, and it’s typically abuzz on nicer days. Beachgoers sit around on the driftwood or use it as a launching point for kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming. Because of its location just off a quiet street behind some trees, it always feels surprisingly secluded, even if the whole neighborhood’s there.
8011 Fauntleroy Way SW
This West Seattle icon contains multitudes. Above, there’s a wooded park with trails, grassy fields, sports courts, and playground. To get to the beach below, you can either take an easy, paved road from the south end of the park or head down one of a few secluded hillside trails. Lincoln Park has about a mile of Puget Sound shoreline with a rocky beach and a gentle tide. Piles of driftwood make for both fun climbing and comfortable seating. A wide, multi-use paved path cuts between the beach and a series of lawns and picnic shelters—potential hazards include cyclists with Bluetooth speakers and tangled leashes from butt-sniffing dogs. It’s also home to Coleman Pool if you’re looking for a saltwater swimming experience that’s a little more contained.
4807 SW Barton St
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This rocky-sandy pocket of beach sits along the edge of the Fauntleroy Ferry Dock, and is surprisingly stacked with wildlife, including some vibrant tidepools. It’s pretty convenient to have around during long, boring ferry waits, but don’t sleep on it as an everyday destination. If you’re looking for a slightly different speed than its big brother Lincoln Park to the north, pop down here for a quieter experience without the big promenade vibes. Plus, you can watch the ferries sail in and out, which is an extremely fun pastime for both small children and adult nerds. (In case this appeals to you: identical twin vessels Issaquah and Cathlamet serve this route.)
Brace Point Shoreline Street End
Fauntleroy Way SW
The path to this park starts in an upscale residential neighborhood, marked by a sign announcing a public shoreline. You might start wondering whether you accidentally ended up trespassing into a wealthy person’s private alley, but it’ll be short-lived. Past a concrete curb at the end of the road is a luxurious section of sandy beach, wedged right between two private ones; there are giant signs and, occasionally, driftwood barriers to let you know where they start. It’s still big enough to laze around in the sun with your buddies and maybe even build some sand castles. Because of tidal land rights, the public area is just 75 feet past the curb, and technically you can only go in the water at high tide. Don’t let this bother you too much—just enjoy this private-public beach as much as you can. You’re worth it.
1600 SW Seahurst Park Rd, Burien
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Yes, it’s in Burien, but it deserves special mention. This deep, expansive rocky beach looks straightforward from the outside, but it’s worth exploring the little nooks and crannies for tree-lined oases, interesting creeks, and the occasional tidepool. Finding a place to post up is part of the fun.
The park is along a wide divot in the coastline, giving it a more remote feeling than some of its northern neighbors. A well-maintained path runs alongside grassy spots and a playground and, over a bridge to the south, takes on a more trail-like aesthetic. The Environmental Science Center is within the park bounds, and offers guided walks, too.
Because it’s run by the city of Burien and not Seattle, leashed dogs are actually allowed on the shoreline. It’s not like folks generally feel deterred from bringing their dogs along, but no reason to worry about the fuzz here.