For families visiting Seattle in the summer time, finding ways to keep cool can be a challenge. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for water activities in Seattle to help your kids stay cool. Water play is a great family bonding experience, whether you’re at home or you’re traveling.
The city of Seattle is surrounded by water. To the west is the Puget Sound. And to the east of Seattle is Lake Washington. There is also Lake Union, which is located in the middle of the city. And Greenlake, in the north, is also an option for staying cool.
This post was updated on November 29, 2019.
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Water activities in Seattle to keep you cool this summer
Besides the large bodies of water, there are also pools and fountains throughout the city to keep you cool in the summer. As a Seattle family, we’re always on the look out for family friendly water activities to do with our kids. This helps our family stay active and healthy, and also allows us to explore the city like a local.
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:
Explore more outdoor activities you can do with your kids while you’re traveling.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
Remember to practice water safety! Both places have life vests available. But if your kids are little, the centers may not have life vests for their size. You may want to bring your own life vests, like this Classic Life Vest.
8. 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. On nice days, people like to walk along the boardwalk. And you can rent quadbikes to ride along the beach.
9. 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.
10. 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!
Check out all the other fun things you can do with kids in Seattle here.
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!
If you’re looking for more fun water activities near Seattle, take a look at this post:
And if you’re hoping to visit Seattle as part of an epic family gap year, use my ebook, Hey Kids, Let’s Go Travel! as your guide to start planning your trip today!
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