Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Favorite #4 - The "Beach"

As a gal who was born in Hawaii, the beach has been part of my daily life basically since conception. We lived across the street from the beach and had plenty of other beaches close by.  We were always packing picnics and spending entire days frolicking in the waves and building sandcastles.  

This is the beach directly across the street from our old house.

This is Bellows Beach, one of our favorites.  I took this one last October when I was in Hawaii for my berfday!

When we moved here to Seattle, we obviously had to shift our view on what constitutes a "beach".  Sure, there are gorgeous beaches out on the coast like this one:

But I'd rather not go boogie boarding where a wetsuit is mandatory and the risk of hypothermia outweighs the fun.  

It's no problem, though!  If you look at a map of the Seattle area, you'll see a large body of water just to the east of the city, also known as Lake Washington.  And let me tell ya, the beaches on this lake are plentiful!  There may not be soft, white sand, turquoise water or, you know, WAVES, but there are definitely "beaches".  And come summertime?  I can't get there fast enough. 

My Favorite Lake Washington Beaches

  • Magnuson Park - Located on the northwest side of the lake, on the old Sand Point Naval Base property, this beach boasts large grassy areas for picnicking, a kite flying hill, a "Sound Garden" (yes, this is where the band got their name) and long stretches of public beach access.  It is also where I met a boy 2 summers ago, a boy I was still dating when I met The Scientist...and that is a story for another post...I usually grab my beach bag, a good book, my floaty toy and head to this beach for some serious relaxation. Unfortunately, that relaxation can sometimes be cruelly interrupted, as evidenced by this photo I took last summer:

  • Madison Park Beach - Madison Park is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Seattle.  It's full of fabulous restaurants, chic boutiques, tree-lined streets and multi-million dollar mansions (including Howard Schultz'!).  The beach in Madison Park (located directly east of downtown Seattle) doesn't disappoint, either.  There is a large grassy knoll on which everyone stakes their claim, there is a shallow roped off area for the kidlets (a lifeguard is on duty until 7 pm), and a float further out with a low-dive and high-dive diving board.  It's the closest beach to downtown Seattle and is always PACKED on a sunny day. It's also a great spot to watch the Blue Angels during SeaFair, which is a summer festival that runs every year during July and August.  Madison Park Beach is a beach I like to enjoy with a group of friends, especially when Cactus is right across the street!  BEST. MARGARITAS. EVER. (I also saw Bill Gates there a couple years ago)

  • Houghton Beach ParkThis beach is on the east side of the lake (the side on which I currently live) and has definitely become one of my very favorite summer spots in the last few years (I've always lived on the Seattle side of the lake and didn't get to know the Eastside beaches until a few years ago).  All the beaches on the lake are family friendly, but this one seems especially so.  There is a larger sandy area, a wonderful playground, and lots of shallow water for kiddos.  But there is also a large grassy area and a long dock where a lot of the high school kids and folks more my age like to spend their beach time.  The beach has a concession stand during the summer, selling ice cream treats and other snacks to hungry beachgoers.  But Kidd Valley (a local burger joint) is also right across the street!  Burgers, shakes and garlic fries, oh my!  Houghton Beach Park is also where the annual Kirkland Triathlon takes place.  One of the big benefits of beaching on the Eastside is that you get sunshine until very late in the evening.  It's not rare to see people swimming out there until 9 or 10 pm on a hot summer evening.  

Do you have a beach of any kind where you live?  If you're not the beach type, what's your favorite summer spot for cooling off?


  1. Yay for beaches (and Kidd Valley)! There are a lot of places to be near the water up here and some great lakes (Whatcom and Samish) in Bellingham. Summertime is wonderful.

  2. Oh I am definitely not a fan of the beach! I'm a mountain/cool weather girl all the way!

  3. I grew up going to the Outer Banks every summer, and loved it. However now that we live in the west, I'm looking forward to checking out some Pacific beaches. Though, I hear the Atlantic is warmer?

  4. i have a special fondness for Madison, but I've never been to the other ones... maybe I'll break out the ol swimsuit in the lovely weather we've been having?

  5. I was born in Hawaii too!!

    I enjoy the beach but only at night. I prefer to go to the Smokie Mountains for my summer vacation - its always gorgeous there (and slightly cooler).

  6. Like Ari, I am more of a fan of heading into the mountains than to a beach, but I certainly won't turn down a beach vacation! That just screams delicious fruity drinks. :-)

    BTW, loved the bathing suit fail pic. HA!

  7. We do have beaches where I live ... it's kind of wild to have a beach in the middle of the city, but we have 'em. That said, they're Lake Michigan beaches. And I'm much more accustomed to ocean beaches ... like the ones found on Cape Cod where my family has a vacation house.

  8. I love the beach at Houghton! It's in super close walking distance from M's place and it's a great people watching spot.

    My fav is this little park over by Marina Park which takes you down this small street w/all these fancy houses. The park is TINY but perfect for a picnic. Unfortunately those paddle board people have picked up on it and use it as a jumping off point so it's not really empty anymore. :-(

  9. Um... I think I work down the street from you. Hazards of revealing too much in blogland. Wait! I just did too! SHOOT! Don't worry, I'm not too crazy.

    I've finally, after 27 years, decided I don't mind wearing a fleece at the beach instead of a swimsuit. Especially after I'm spending time and money on age defying sunscreen. Who needs a tan anyway.

  10. @E - I LOVE both Lake Whatcom and Samish. A friend of mine's grandma lives on Lake Samish!

    @Becky - I love the mountains, too. Especially if there's a lake where I can swim! ;-)

    @Jess - The Outer Banks! So beautiful! The Atlantic is definitely warmer than the Pacific, unless you're in Mexico, Hawaii or some place like that. The beaches in San Diego and LA can get to a nice temperature, but definitely not like the Atlantic. I LOOOOVED the beaches in Rhode Island when my pops was stationed there.

    @Sarah - Madison is so great, but I like Magnuson a lot because it's huge and much less crowded. I'll be there this weekend!

    @Ari - Where in Hawaii were you born? I love going up to the mountains, too. There are plenty of 'em around here!

    @NSC - I love hot weather, but only if I can cool myself off, which is why I'm at the beach almost daily in the summer! The mountains are definitely a nice escape, though.

    @Nilsa - I've always wanted to go to a Great Lakes beach but have never had the chance. I've been to Cape Cod, though! How nice to have a family cabin in such a beautiful spot!

    @Cass - My brother and sis-in-law live pretty close, too. And I think I know the tiny park you're talking about. It's nice to have those hidden secrets.

    @Nikki - Really?! Where do you work? Shoot me an e-mail if you want. :-) If I'm out at the coast like Westport or Cannon Beach, I definitely don't mind being in a fleece, but if I'm at the lake, I'm definitely jumping in the water!

  11. I spent a good 24 hours in Seattle once! I might just have to visit again to head to Lake Washington :) It looks gorgeous with the mountains in the background!

  12. There's a beach close to here but we stopped going two years ago. Basically, they had one sign that was partially covered by a tree about it being a no alcohol beach. We'd always brought drinks before so my hubby had a few beers. When UNDERCOVER COPS (I am not kidding!) started strolling around the beach handing out tickets. It was horrible and we haven't been back since =-(

  13. Thanks for the beach list! I've never really gone to the beaches around Seattle, though there is this adorable little (and I mean little!) patch of public beach between a condo building and a sailing club across the street from the Ballard Paseo's. Really quiet, it's the beach that Surf Ballard launches off of.

  14. I'm from NYC so the beaches around these parts are NOTHING like the ones in the Caribbean. My family would spend summers down to the Dominican Republic to see our family and the water there was wonderful. Plus the water here is just too cold.

    I've actually never been to any of the Jersey beaches, but should be going this weekend so I can't to see what that's like!

    By the way, you won this week's Spare Soles giveaway so send me your info so you can receive a pair :)

  15. Hi! Wow, you and I couldn't have been raised more opposite. Although, I would definitely love to have lived your life. I got to go to Honolulu last year and loved it so much. Luckily I have plenty of family-like friends there so I will be coming back asap.

    I was born in norcal and had only been experienced with the beach once when I was 4 and it was on the way to Iowa (hadn't been to a real beach until Honolulu). My favorite Summer spot is basically at any clothing store right now hahaha. I'm a shopaholic at the moment XD

    This blog is awesome! Thanks!

  16. Oh so glad I found your blog! I'm from Bellevue, and we frquent Madison Park, love it! There are so many fun places to go around here in the summer:-)

  17. @Erin - You should definitely return! 24 hours isn't nearly enough time to spend here :-)

    @Krysten - LAME! Any other beaches around?

    @Carrie - I like small little places like that. Although it's a little cold to swim in Puget Sound! Only on a VERY hot day ;-)

    @Dorkys - I'm sure nothing compares to the Caribbean! I'd love to check those beaches out. The beaches in Jersey are really nice, though. Have fun! And YAY for winning your giveaway!

    @Elissa - Thanks for stopping by! I LOVE Honolulu. It's such a vibrant, beautiful city with a really rich history. Plus, it's right on the beach! ;-)

    @Tamara Nicole - Yay for locals! I just added your blog to my reader. I love "meeting" new Seattle folks. Madison Park is fabulous. Do you go to any beaches on the Eastside? There's a nice beach on Mercer Island that I forgot to mention.

  18. How lucky that you get to live close to the beach again. There are no ocean side beaches where I live, only lake beaches about 20min away.

    I found you browsing the Rosebuds list. Hope you had a great weekend :)

  19. As you know from my last post, I LOVE the beach! It's one of my favorite summer activities. I actually don't mind the ice cold water, but only on blazing hot days. Days when it's so hot outside that the cold water is simply refreshing. Love it! <3

  20. Love it!!! Us Pacific NW girls gotta take what we can get and I do believe, like you show, that there is a lot to explore in our area!!! Beautiful pics and great descriptions!

  21. Thanks so much for your comment and I hope you enjoy wine country. Road trips are the best, there's nothing like it!
    That must have been incredible to live right near that picturesque Hawaiian beach. I want to go to Hawaii someday!

  22. @OneCraftyFox - Yeah, the ocean beaches are a couple hours away from here, but there are plenty of lake beaches! I'll take the beach any way I can :-)

    @Lisa - The ice cold water on a REALLY hot day is definitely refreshing. Lake Washington can be chilly, but in late July and August it's the perfect, refreshing temperature!

    @Caitlin - Thanks! We're definitely lucky gals to have so much beauty to explore, just outside our doorstep!

    @Kinsey - You should definitely go to Hawaii if you get a chance! It is beautiful, exotic and the beaches are fabulous.

  23. I am a beach girl too!

    The beaches of your childhood are so beautiful. I've always wanted to go to Hawaii. sigh.

    There are so many beautiful beaches in Victoria, BC (where I grew up) and all over the Pacific Northwest really. Although Toronto has a lake and "beaches" they don't compare the ocean.

  24. PS. That bathing suit FAIL is amaaaazing (and kind of disturbing).

  25. Oh, boy ... yes, we have beaches here, but they're cold, rocky, NORTHERN beaches! And you have to pay to use them!

    Nothing beats a Pacific beach, with my favorite being Sunset Beach and Kailua Beach. I'll also take Venice Beach (CA), Mexico Beach (FL), and Siesta Beach (FL).

  26. Oh, P.S. I LOVE the Austin Powers reference in your blog name!

  27. Nothing like the outer banks


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