There’s no better place to spend the summer than at a Seattle splash zone—from parks with water play and splash pads to family-friendly beaches
Looking for a family-friendly summer staple in Seattle? Just find a spot to splash! On a hot summer day, when kids want to play in the water, these city spots are perfect for afternoons out or quick, post-playground cool-off sessions. There’s truly no better place to splash and play than at a Seattle spray park, splash pad, wading pool, or beach. Here’s what you need to know about Seattle’s free water play areas, including what’s open and when, so you can plan your best summer ever.
Seattle Sprayparks & Splash Pads
With longer hours than wading pools and the perk of being open rain or shine (sprayparks only close in the case of thunder and lightning), sprayparks are a summer must. This year, Seattle sprayparks are open through Labor Day (read on for details). Bring the kids any time between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. to get their splash on. You can find a map and updates on Seattle’s spraypark and wading pools online.
Insider Tip: Some spayparks are activated by a push button.
International Fountain at Seattle Center
Perhaps the most well known, and certainly the largest fountain in Seattle, the International Fountain in the heart of Seattle Center is an undeniable showstopper. Built in 1961 for the World’s Fair, the fountain has choreographed musical numbers and new LED lighting with jumping jets of water that surprise even the most nimble of water lovers. Maybe this will be the summer when your kiddos (and you?) finally touch the silver dome in the center of the fountain without getting a face-full of water? For a quieter fountain experience nearby, also try out the Fountain of Creation just northeast of the International Fountain in Seattle Center or the Center Steps Plaza splash pad.
305 Harrison St.
Tukwila Spray Park
Located just a few miles outside of the city at the Tukwila Community Center, the Tukwila Spray Park is a popular place for many West Seattle and South Seattle families. Little ones will love the water dome and gentle sprayers and big kids will love the water cannons and bucket that dumps water on splashers below. The park has plenty of grassy space to throw down a blanket and enjoy a picnic and the nearby playground is an added perk.
12424 42nd Ave. S.
Beacon Mountain in Jefferson Park
If you need a park with a view and plenty of other things to do, hit up the splash park at Jefferson Park. This jewel of Beacon Hill is perfect for smaller tots and has lots of space for parents to soak up some rays and catch vistas of downtown and the Olympic Mountains. Plus, there's two zippy tube slides next to the spray park for even added fun.
3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Highland Park Playground
After closing its wading pool in 2008, this little gem in West Seattle reopened in 2013 with a new and vastly improved spray park in lieu of its old wading pool and received another face lift in 2017. If your kids stop hopping through the water spouts long enough, and can keep clear of the big bucket water dumps, they might want to take a break at the new and improved playground before heading home.
1100 S.W. Cloverdale St.
South Lake Union Park
Right on the water in the heart of South Lake Union is a downtown splash pad that is the perfect refresher after a stroll around SLU or lunch at one of the many new restaurants in this revitalized part of town. You can also cruise the nearby Museum of History and Industry, rent a free Peapod boat (Wednesdays through Sundays, year-round) at The Center for Wooden Boats or board the Queen Anne Revenge pirate ship parked at the dock next to MOHAI. Or, just splash around, enjoy the fountains, the views of the Space Needle and the sea planes flying over head.
860 Terry Ave. N.
As one of Seattle's newer splash pads, this is an oasis of fun in the middle of South Seattle. The fountain-filled water area is located near the intriguing airplane-themed playground at the north end of the park, so if your kids get tired of splashing, they can always hit the swings for a change of pace.
750 S. Homer St.
If you’re looking for a full day of summer fun, try out the North Acres Park between I-5 and Haller Lake. The playground was fully renovated in 2012 and the wooded area has gentle walking paths (perhaps the perfect spot for a game of water balloon tag?). And if Fido needs some exercise as well, bring him along; there’s an off-leash dog park. The spray park is a labyrinth, which adds new meaning to getting lost in the lazy days of summer.
12718 1st Ave. N.E.
Yesler Terrace Park
Another splash pad option that offers an outstanding playground is Yesler Terrace Park. Recently renovated, families will find fantastic views alongside plenty of play spots here. It's pretty much a spend the day kind of place when the sun is out.
917 Yesler Way
Seattle Wading Pools
Once the mercury hits 70 degrees, the floodgates open and the city’s wading pools are filled. If you want to see your kids wallow around like lazy hippos (or more likely … hyperactive hippos), check out our favorite wading pools around the Emerald City.
Insider Tip: Seattle wading pools will stay open until anywhere between mid-August 16 and Labor Day, depending on the location, with various hours when the conditions are right (no rain in the forecast and a prediction of 70 degree temps or higher). If the weather is questionable, call the Wading Pool Hotline (206-684-7796). It’s updated at 9:30 a.m. daily with open and closure information. You can also check the city’s wading pool Facebook page. To find the wading pool closest to you, check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website.
Green Lake Park Wading Pool
Located on the north side of Green Lake, this is the largest of Seattle’s "Big Three" wading pools, and probably the most popular. Cool your heels here after a spin around the lake and you’ll be an instant part of the very large fan club for this summer time hot spot. Psst! After you splash, hit the Ben & Jerry's scoop shop across the street.
Hours: Daily, noon-7 p.m.
7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Lincoln Park Wading Pool
Although it’s the smallest of the “Big Three” wading pools, the prime location of Lincoln Park along the lovely beaches of West Seattle make it a one of the most beautiful spots around for a quick dip. If you’re looking for a late afternoon or evening wade, this is your wading pool, as it catches lots of late afternoon sunshine. And if you need total immersion, Colman Pool is right down the hill. Note: the wading pool is located next to the north play area.
Hours: Daily, noon-7 p.m.
8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Magnuson Park Wading Pool
Technically not one of the “Big Three” wading pools, it is one of the wading pools that will be open daily throughout the summer. Magnuson is in the second largest park in Seattle and therefore boasts tons of other stuff to do (beaches, playground, butterfly garden, off-leash dog park) in addition to having a super-sweet wading pool.
Hours: Daily, 12:15-6:30 p.m.
7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Volunteer Park Wading Pool
This historic grassy park in Capital Hill is a bastion of green space in the city. In fact, if it weren’t for the amazing views of downtown and the Space Needle, this pastoral spot might have you forgetting you were in the city at all. Bring a picnic and plan on staying a while, even after you’ve had your fill with splashing through the nice big wading pool. And yes, this wading pool is one of the city's "Big Three."
Hours: Daily, noon-7 p.m.
1247 15th Ave. E.
Bitter Lake Wading Pool
Located on the north end of the city, this wading pool doesn't disappoint, and neither do the park amenities that come along with it. In addition to a spot for kids to play hippo or Jaws, you'll find a playground and lighted tennis courts (sounds like a great after swim activity to us!) all right next to the large community center. Picnic, swim and play is the trifecta play at Bitter Lake.
Hours: Wed.-Fri., noon-7 p.m.
13035 Linden Ave. N.
Wallingford Playfield Wading Pool
Super centrally located (just blocks from Molly Moon's ice cream and Fainting Goat Gelato if you need a sweet summer treat), Wallingford’s wading pool is that “just right” size for a mid-week romp in the water. The pool is right next to the playground which has both a sandbox and “easy” slide area for tiny tots and a great climbing area and bigger slides for more advanced adventurers.
Hours: Thu.-Sat., noon-7 p.m.
4219 Wallingford Ave. N.
Dahl Playfield Wading Pool
Located between the Ravenna and Wedgewood neighborhoods you'll find this picturesque park and wading pool. We love the funky rock sculptures that are as intriguing to kids as they are as parents, as much as we love the park's clean playground. Our suggestion? Grab your favorite donut from nearby Top Pot for an after-swim treat the kids will thank you for.
Hours: Tue.-Thu., noon-7 p.m.
7700 25th Ave. N.E.
Delridge Wading Pool
With so many ways to play at Delridge, the shady wading pool might be a second thought. The park's highlight has got to be the skatepark that boasts both easy runs for beginners and huge bowls for seasoned skaters and hard core BMX bikers. Watch them land sweet tricks from your grassy spot by the "watering hole." There's also a playground for after swim activity and a grassy field that practically screams "kite!" on a sunny summer day.
Hours: Wed.-Fri., noon-5:30 p.m.
4501 Delridge Way S.W.
These are just a few of our favorites, but families can also wade in at a nearby Seattle wading pool in your neighborhood.
One of the best parts of living in Seattle is that there is no shortage of family-friendly beaches. Some are great for sand castles, while others have interesting critters awaiting you under every rock. Our advice? When you play at a beach this summer, remember to bring your buckets!
The City of Seattle is posting lifeguards at a selection of Seattle beaches. Lifeguards will be on duty from noon to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on the weekends at these beaches. In addition to those on our list of favorites, lifeguards will also be at Magnuson Beach, Pritchard Beach and West Green Lake Beach. There are three beaches that will be closed for the summer in 2023: Matthews Beach, Seward Park and East Green Lake Beach.
The city encourages families to swim only when and where lifeguards are present so everyone can have a safe summer.
Golden Gardens Park
On a sunny day in Seattle, everyone seems to have the same idea: Get to Golden Gardens immediately! This park has a fabulous updated kids play area behind the community building, but even more alluring is the sandy beach with gently lapping waves and fire pits for epic beach fires. Get here early to reserve a picnic spot. It's truly packed on sunny days and for good reason.
No lifeguard on duty.
8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Being the largest park in the city means you'll have to hoof it to get to the beach if you park at the Visitor’s Center or other lots up on the bluff (you can get a beach parking permit at the Environmental Learning Center if you have kids under 8 or seniors in your crew), but the wooded walk (not for strollers) is lovely and drops you off in a whole new world of beach-y wonder. The beach is jam-packed with lots of driftwood for fort-making and the perfect spot for kite flying and beach combing. Psst! Don't forget to plan a stop at the playground near the Visitor's Center.
No lifeguard on duty.
3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Madrona Park Beach
If your tots like to dig in the sand while splashing, head down to Madrona Beach, just south of Leschi, where kids can turn on a spigot to fill a tile-lined river bed running through the beach into Lake Washington. Build dams, reservoirs or a moat for your sand castle and then take a dip in the lake.
853 Lake Washington Blvd.
Madison Park Beach
This smaller beach is all about location, location, location. And while you're not buying a house here, you can set down roots, at least for the day. The beach can be crowded on the sunniest of days, but don't let that stop you from taking up real estate on the sandy shores. When the kids are waterlogged, head to the park just up the hill. Don't forget to stop by the Madison Park Bakery for a cookie or at Scoop Du Jour for a drippy waffle cone before heading home. Nothing tastes better on a hot day.
4201 E. Madison St.
Alki Beach Park
Head to Alki if you’re looking for a beach walk that just keeps going and going and going. (Hint: If a certain small someone needs to take a stroller nap and you’d like your walk to last more than 10 minutes, head to Alki.) With 2.5 miles of paved sidewalks right along the beach, you’re all set. And, if you’re up for some beach volleyball, you can usually find that too! Psst...if you don't want to pack a lunch, there are plenty of kid-friendly eateries along Alki Avenue.
No lifeguard on duty.
1702 Alki Ave. S.W.
Mount Baker Park Beach
Although small in comparison to some of the other parks and beaches listed here, this spot in South Seattle is perfect for your little beach bums. There’s a diving board for those who just have to cannon ball and calmer waters for ones who want to wade. All this, and easy parking right next to the beach as well as a playground for more serious running around.
2521 Lake Park Dr. S.
1. Sprayparks are chemically treated and filtered much like a swimming pool (water is re-circulated, which makes them a “greener” choice than wading pools) and will automatically shut off and rebalance themselves back to public health standards. Seattle Parks and Recreation would like to remind us all, "not to wear our street clothes in the spraypark, and please do not use it as a shower.” ‘Nuf said!
2. Wading pools are filled and drained daily. They are chemically treated but not filtered throughout the day. They are hand-checked hourly to make sure the water meets health code, but there’s a whole lotta bodies in those pools, so best not to drink the water there either.
3. Remember to call the wading pool hotline at 206-684-7796 to find out what's open and what's not throughout the summer.
4. Please follow all state and local health and safety guidelines when visiting these sprayparks and wading pools so everyone can play safely this summer.
Additional reporting by Kristina Moy & Katie Gruver