Seattle may be rainy, but it also has some of the most amazing parks in the state. Chances are pretty good that if you enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, or any other activity that has to do with the outdoors, then a little rain does not spoil your good time. Besides, when you get deep in some of these enchanted forests, the canopy is so dense that you won’t even get wet. Although there are countless parks available to explore, below are five that really stand out for their own unique reasons.
- Discovery Park
Nearly 12 miles of trails take you over diverse terrain, in this gorgeous park. In addition to mature evergreens, you will find secret pathways to areas that are full of wildflowers as well as open grass spaces to fly a kite or have a picnic. There is a three-mile trail to an old military base, and also a trail that takes you to a beach with a charming old lighthouse. If you venture down the Loop Trail, you will be rewarded with views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. If you are a fisher, stop in the Visitor’s Center and ask where the best spots are to snag some pink salmon. If you enjoy watching birds, be on the lookout for more than 250 species in the area.
- Washington Park Arboretum
It is amazingly peaceful at this 230-acre hidden gem. It is full of plants that you won’t find elsewhere, and there is even a Japanese garden you can enter for a small fee. There are swampy waterways that flow through the entire park, so bring your kayak or stop at the Waterfront Activities Center and rent a canoe. You will want to have your camera with you every time you visit because it looks completely different with each changing season. The trails are not marked very well, so take mental snapshots of where you are so you recognize places you’ve been on your way back. Alternatively, you can always walk on the paved road.
- Volunteer Park
This gorgeous outdoor space was designed by the mastermind behind Central Park in New York City. This is a very popular place to walk your dog, have a picnic or just people watch. It is the busiest park in Seattle, so don’t expect much tranquility. There are gardens throughout, and the entire park is manicured exquisitely. There is also a conservatory, the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and water tower, and the park hosts plenty of concerts and free events year-round.
- Green Lake Park
The paved loop around the park is almost three miles, and it is dog, bike, and rollerblade-friendly. There is plenty of open space to throw a Frisbee, and there is almost always a game of volleyball going on. If you want to enjoy the water you can rent a kayak, paddleboard or peddle boat too. Be warned, if the sun comes out, this place becomes a zoo. If you are an early morning runner, you will love how empty the path is before everyone else gets out of bed.
- Seward Park
There is a beach at both the north and south points of the park, but usually a lifeguard is only on duty at the north one. There is a 2.4-mile path that travels through the park, or you can explore miles of trails and shoreline. The amphitheater often hosts free events that are nice to come out and watch too. This park is less crowded than some others in the city, so if you actually want to appreciate the sounds of nature, you will love being surrounded by this old growth forest.