from the seattletimes
1. Cottage Lake Park and Pool
18831 N.E. Woodinville-Duvall Road, Woodinville: Once known as Norm's Resort and dating to 1942, the 22-acre site is now a public park with a swimming pool, picnic facilities and dock. The lakefront area still has an aura of summers past when families spent lazy summers at the lake fishing, swimming and picnicking. A narrow road winds down to a boat launch; a few scattered logs lie along the gravel beach. On one recent sunny day, a family with three little girls sat on the logs watching a family of fuzzy ducklings, while three kids were paddling plastic canoes about 10 feet from shore and several others were diving off the dock.
Amenities: A swimming pool, with lifeguards, is open from 8 a.m. to 8:15 p.m. daily through the summer for an assortment of activities, including water exercises, lessons, rentals and public-swim sessions. The public-swim fee is $3.25. No lifeguard for lake swimmers. Launching area is for small, nonmotorized boats only.
2. Tracy Owen Station/ Logboom Park
6008 N.E. 175th St., Kenmore: Named after a former King County councilman and its previous use as a storage site for logs awaiting the sawmills, the 16-acre park is a favorite stop for bicyclists and pedestrians from the nearby Burke-Gilman Trail. There's a small beach area, lengthy concrete pier extending into Lake Washington, and good views of flight activity at the Kenmore Air Harbor seaplane base.
Amenities: Parking, restrooms, picnic tables, trail access, views of old piling left from sawmills.
3. O. O. Denny Park
Amenities: Sheltered picnic area, parking, doggy waste bags.
4. Juanita Beach
9703 Juanita Drive N.E., Kirkland: A long half-circle walking dock encloses a wide swim area, with graceful cottonwood trees offering lots of shade. Problems with high bacteria levels in the water have caused occasional closures in recent years, but the water is checked regularly and no problems have been reported so far this year. Sheltered picnic areas scattered throughout this large park are a draw for family gatherings.
Amenities: Restroom, picnic tables, benches, playground for younger children, two beach volleyball courts, snack bar.
5. Waverly Beach
633 Waverly Park Way, Kirkland: Tucked away at the bottom of a hill at the edge of a residential area, this beach offers a sweeping view from the 520 floating bridge to the north end of Lake Washington. It's a favorite spot for summer camps to bring children, as it has a large swimming area enclosed by a half-circle walking dock. Children can also play on an adjacent sandy beach, while families can spread their blankets over the large grass area.
Amenities: Restroom, benches, playground, lifejacket loaner program while lifeguard is on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
6. Marina Park
25 Lakeshore Drive, Kirkland: Located in the heart of the city's downtown, this is a favorite spot for locals to take a lunch break and enjoy the public art sculptures or a stroll along the waterfront. People can wade into the water or spread out on the lawn and catch some rays. Check out the fancy yachts moored nearby. Spectacular views of Seattle and the Olympics across the lake.
Amenities: Restroom, benches, Marina Park Pavilion provides a sheltered place to have a picnic, but bring your own chairs and tables.
7. Houghton Beach Park
5811 Lake Washington Blvd. N.E., Kirkland: A popular beach that brings out families and sunbathers on warm days. Children play on a small sandy beach with adjacent shallow swim area, while a beach volleyball net and court brings out the teens. Those seeking a tan sprawl out on the larger grassy areas. Parking may be hard to find on warm summer days.
Amenities: Restroom, benches, snack bar, large playground, walking docks for a stroll over the water, lifejacket loaner program while lifeguard is on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
8. Idylwood Beach Park
3650 West Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond: Nestled along a pricey stretch of Lake Sammamish waterfront homes, this 18-acre park is a popular spot for young children and teenagers. Dogs are allowed on the grassy area but not on the sand or in the water.
Amenities: Picnic tables, play area, restrooms and parking. Lifeguards on duty from noon to 7 p.m. daily.
9. Medina Beach Park
501 Evergreen Point Road, Medina: Tucked behind Medina's town hall and police station, a small roped-off swimming area lies next to a well-manicured lawn where sunbathers laze about while boats drift by. Parking is tight and don't expect much in the way of facilities.
Amenities: Picnic tables, water fountain. Lifeguards 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
10. Clyde Beach
2 92nd Ave. S.E., Bellevue: Right off a busy stretch of Lake Washington Boulevard, this conveniently located beach is small but great for a lazy day by the water. Ample parking, restrooms and a roped-off swimming area make this a neighborhood family pleaser. Be careful when leaving the parking lot, though, as the steep incline and sharp drop-off can mean bottoming out even a normal-size sedan.
Amenities: Picnic area, restrooms. Lifeguards on duty noon to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
11. Meydenbauer Beach
419 98th Ave. N.E., Bellevue: This bustling beach offers a bevy of activities. Kids will like the playground, volleyball area and lifeguarded swimming area. Everyone can enjoy the sandy beach for sunning and take advantage of the large picnic area. While there are two parking areas, the popularity of this park means getting a spot even during the weekdays can be a chore.
Amenities: Picnic area, restrooms, volleyball. Lifeguards on duty noon to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
12. Chism Beach
1175 96th Ave. S.E., Bellevue: It's large, close to downtown and popular with sun-seekers of all ages. Chism boasts two large picnic areas, a big beach and a large swimming area that's roped off with a shallow line, which is great for keeping kids safe. Parents and kids will also like the playground located right on the beach. There's also a dock, beautiful terraced lawns for nonswimming solace seekers and handicap parking that's convenient to all the fun.
Amenities: Two picnic areas, restrooms, playground, multiple parking lots, accessible for disabled. Lifeguards on duty noon to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
13. Chesterfield Beach
2501 100th Ave. S.E., Bellevue: Don't be surprised if you have trouble finding this tiny beach just north of Beaux Arts Village; the park sign is missing and local streets aren't easy to navigate. But if you're lucky enough to find it and snag one of five parking spots, enjoy the small swimming area and dock, great for a day on the lake. Lifeguard hours are limited and the only facility is a portable toilet at the top of a hill. The views and serenity may be worth the trade-off, though.
Amenities: Portable toilet, seclusion. Lifeguards on duty 2 to 5 p.m. daily through Labor Day except during inclement weather.
14. Enatai Beach
108th Avenue Southeast and Southeast Lake Road, Bellevue: This beach, partially hidden under the I-90 bridge, is definitely worth looking for. Enatai boasts more activities than some of its Bellevue counterparts and it's got an abundance of parking, too. There's a life-guarded swimming area, plus canoe and kayak rentals.
Amenities: Picnic tables, restrooms, canoe and kayak rentals. Lifeguards on duty noon to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
15. Newcastle Beach
11206 S.E. 50th St., Bellevue: Tucked behind I-405 and some railroad tracks, this big, beautiful park has volleyball nets, an enormous picnic area, a popular playground and a loop trail that winds through a wetlands area. Parking is easy and there's more than enough room for everyone to spread out.
Amenities: Picnic areas, restrooms, playground, wilderness trail. Lifeguards on duty noon to 7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.
16. Pine Lake
2616 226th Ave. S.E., Sammamish: When you have a city with the highest per-capita youth population in the state, a place like Pine Lake becomes prime beach area when summer hits. Come early because it gets crowded by afternoon. This 16-acre park offers a boat launch, fishing pier and two new play areas.
Amenities: A basketball court and several picnic facilities can be reserved. Lifeguards on duty from noon to 7 p.m. daily.
17. Luther Burbank Park
2040 84th Ave. S.E., Mercer Island: Popular family park with two beach areas. If you have small kids in tow or want a traditional beach experience, go to the south parking lot (also marked overflow parking). A short trail leads to the beach. Lots of toddlers and families. Older youth frequent the north tip of the park where a grassy area includes picnic tables and a couple of trails into the water. Warning: Wear water shoes. Rocks, rocks, rocks, particularly at the north beach.
Amenities: Restrooms at the south beach area. Also tennis courts and play area. Lifeguards on duty at south beach daily 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Swimming area roped off into shallow and deep sections.
18. Groveland Beach
5800 W. Mercer Way, Mercer Island: Watch for the small sign. Route to the parking lot winds a couple of blocks on narrow residential streets. Walk down a steep paved roadway to the awesome beach. Volleyball court, sandy beach, grass and shade trees. Several picnic tables at beach level and several in a shady tree nook near the parking-lot level. A big playground about halfway down to the beach bakes in the afternoon sun but is popular in the morning. Nice mix of teenagers and young families.
A few drawbacks to note, though. A quirk of the water and wind currents traps debris next to the southern end of the dock. Rocky bottom in swimming area despite the sandy areas. Limited parking lot fills rapidly during swim-lesson time and on hot afternoons. A rat watched people go up and down the path to the park so be careful where you stash your picnic lunch.
Amenities: Restrooms at beach level with changing area. Lifeguard on duty daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Roped off swimming areas, dock, diving board. View of Seward Park in Seattle and the I-90 bridge.
19. Clarke Beach
7700 E. Mercer Way, Mercer Island: Don't let the steep walk to this Lake Washington beach and park keep you from enjoying a sparsely crowded spot with an unparalleled view. On a clear day, you can almost touch Mount Rainier. While lazing on the grass that goes to the water's edge, you'll see the southern shores of Bellevue and parts of Renton as well as the hills going up to The Golf Course at Newcastle. A grassy picnic area offers several tables and a barbecue grill. (Bring your own charcoal.) More picnic tables and another grill are near the water. Fans include a mix of retirees, young families and a few older teenagers. Clean water, clean grounds. Unfortunately, some dog owners ignore the "dogs not allowed May to September" signs. Steep walkway down and back up to the parking area will challenge how much stuff you carry. Rocky swim areas.
Amenities: Restrooms at the beach level with changing area. Several docks around the roped-off swimming areas. Ample parking. Drinking fountains. Large fire-pit area but bring your own chairs.
20. Lake Sammamish State Park
Among the largest Eastside recreation spots, this 512-acre park, located on the south end of Lake Sammamish, features more than 700 feet of swimming beach, sandy volleyball courts and kayak rental. But don't count on sunbathing in seclusion. Ever since the Washington Legislature did away with a mandatory $5 parking fee at state parks this year, the shores of Lake Sammamish have become even more dense.
Amenities: Two bathhouses with dressing rooms and showers; dozens of barbecue grills and picnic tables, sports fields and play areas.
21. Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park
1201 Lake Washington Blvd. N., Renton: Cited in national listings as one of the best parks in the country, this beach park has nearly everything. Dedicated in 1982, the park forms a 1 ½-mile-long, 53-acre swath along the southeast end of Lake Washington, just west of Interstate 405. There are picnic tables, a paved walking trail, a guarded swimming beach, an eight-lane boat-launching ramp, piers stretching out over the water, an Ivar's restaurant for seafood and a Kidd Valley for hamburgers and even views of under-construction jets at the Boeing plant next door.
Amenities: Play equipment, picnic shelters, boat launch, tennis courts and an interpretive botanical walk. The park is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer, with lifeguards on duty from noon to 8 p.m. daily.