Whether you are ready or not, it’s time to start embracing the crisp mornings, the colorful leaves falling from the trees and the breezes that beckon us to cook soup in the crock pot. And speaking of breezes, it’s also time to dig out your kites for some good, clean, fun on a fall afternoon. Whether your kids prefer speeding along the sand or galloping through the grass, we’ve rounded up 10 picture perfect spots to throw caution (and a kite) to the wind.

kite seattle view Karyn Christner on Flickr

Photo credit: Karyn Christner via Flickr

Gas Works Park
This 19-acre former coal gasification plant turned historic landmark is the epitome of a Seattle park—lots of grass, interesting history, quirky-but-cool architecture turned into playground equipment, and the one of the best views in Seattle. The park’s artificial (and ideal) kite-flying hill—called the “Grand Mound”, or more affectionately “Kite Hill”–is covered in kites on a windy day; the breezes coming off Lake Union make it Seattle’s go-to kite soaring destination.

Good to Know: Kite Hill will be closed until May 2015 for soil repair, so you best bet for kite flying will be below the hill along the shore. Get there early to avoid the crowds (no problem when you have Littles who wake with the birds), and don’t forget your boots if it’s been raining—all that grass means one giant mud puddle after a Seattle shower!

2101 N. Northlake Way
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=293
Park hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m., daily

Discovery Park
With almost 12 miles of walking trails throughout this giant gem of a park, you’re sure to find a place for your kite to take flight no matter where you wander. However, we suggest entering the park at the south parking lot on Emerson (at 43rd); take the wooden staircase from the middle of the lot or walk along the Loop Trail headed west and make your way to the “Parade Grounds” or meadow, situated in the center of the park, in front of the pretty and historic turn-of-the-century military housing and the large FAA radar “golf ball.” There’s a wide hill perfect for catching a breeze and gazing on the Sound; we recommend bringing a picnic to dine on under the old madrona trees after a full day of swooping and gliding.

Flying Fun Bonus: At the east entrance to the park, check out the Environmental Learning Center for fun events and nature-inspired classes throughout the year (plus a fun playground). Register online or call to sign up for classes like Tree Houses and Bird Tours.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, Wa  98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/discovery.htm
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

Environmental Learning Center
Hours: Tues.–Sun., 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

kites with kites USFWS Mountain-Prairie on Flickr

Photo credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie via Flickr

Magnuson Park
Another feather in the cap of Seattle parks, Magnuson Park is 350 acres of hiking and biking trails, swimming beaches, a great dog park and open spaces just waiting for little feet to find them. The epitome of an open space, “Kite Hill” is the cherry on top of Magnuson, a 35 foot, kite-beckoning hilltop overlooking Lake Washington, Mount Rainier and beyond on a clear day; a perfect, treeless spot to unfurl your kite’s wings. To get to Kite Hill, enter the park at N.E. 65th St. off Sand Point Way. Go straight ahead to the lake, then left (north) along the shoreline. Park next to Kite Hill and the Fin Art Project, near the swimming beach.

Flying Fun Bonus: Check out the Seattle Parks website under Nature and the Environment to sign up for the Magnuson Junior Nature Club for kids 2-10 years through October 2014.

7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa  98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/magnuson/default.htm
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

Lincoln Park
This park can get downright blustery even on a late summer day, but the bonus views of the Fauntleroy ferry or an occasional harbor seal certainly don’t hurt. Park in the south lot for the easiest trip down to the beach; bring your bikes and pedal north along the water to the viewpoint in front of Colman Pool, where the wind is the strongest and the views are the best. We recommend bringing snacks and a blanket to spread out on the driftwood for a bite after your kite adventure.

8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, Wa  98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=460
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

Edited Russell

Photo credit: Allison Sutcliffe

Seward Park
Centered by an old growth forest and home to eagles, osprey, owls and many more feathered friends, Seward Park has multiple spots for you and the kidlets to spread your wings and fly. The grassy field next to the swimming beach at the park’s west entrance, the sandy beach along the north end of the paved trail overlooking the I-90 Floating Bridge, or the meadow in front of the amphitheater at the top of the park’s loop drive (enter to the north of the Audubon Center) are all great locations for a loop-de-loop with your kite. The playground’s zip line is also a super cool spot to get some air.

Flying Fun Bonus: Seward Park’s Environmental and Audubon Center hosts a variety of events centered around our feathered and winged friends. From Bat Quests and Mother Goose Story Time to Owl Prowls, find out what makes things fly (besides your awesome kite).

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, Wa  98118
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/seward.htm
Park hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m., daily

Environmental and Audubon Center
5902 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Online: sewardpark.audubon.org

Carkeek Park
If your child loves kites AND trains, Carkeek Park is the place for you. To get to the ideal kite flying area at this park, you have to walk over the train tracks on a very tall pedestrian bridge, and if a train happens to be coming right as you get to the top—watch out! Those trains don’t slow down and their speed and the fact that you’re looking right down onto them is exhilarating for you and the kiddos. The beach below is an awesome place to let the string out on your kite (and do some beach exploring), or stay in the green space adjacent to the parking lot and playground for your kite-tastic adventures.

Flying Fun Bonus: Sign up on the Seattle Parks’ website under “Nature and the Environment” for fall family fun like Forest Walks and Family Forest Adventures through November.

950 N.W. Carkeek Park Rd.
Seattle, Wa  98177
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/carkeek.htm
Park hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m., daily

gasworks kite 2 hobvias sudoneighm on Flickr

Photo credit: hobvias sudoneighm via Flickr

Jefferson Park
One of the more recent Seattle park overhauls, Jefferson Park boasts an awesome playground, two fast and furious slides, climbing areas, solar picnic shelters, a skate park, lawn bowling, two zippy ziplines and more flat, open green space than one kid and kite combo can cover! Check out the awesome views from the lookout on top of “Beacon Mountain” or just run your kiddos ragged along the paved paths or deep green grass, and watch their eyes sparkle as their kite soars into the blue.

3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=114
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

Golden Gardens
This 87 acre park is another favorite for those little train engineers in your family, but the wide, sandy beach is what beckons the kite flyers. The great news at Golden Gardens is that the beach is a short, easy walk from the parking lot; the bad news is the parking lot will be full on nice days. Get there before lunch to float that kite. If you need a break, the pirate ship-themed playground will definitely please the mateys in your crew.Golden Gardens

8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98117
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=243
Park hours: 6 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

kites golden gardens Wonderlane on Flickr

Photo credit: Wonderlane via Flickr

Alki Beach
In 1908, Seattle’s first flight happened just south of Alki Beach – a hot air balloon ride from Luna Park to Georgetown. What better place for your kiddo’s first kite flight then Alki? The wind’s always blowing along that part of the Sound, the sandy beach is ideal for little feet to run with their kite aloft, and the grassy area north of Salty’s (not to mention the stunning city view) is a picture perfect place to get the wind in their little sails.

1702 Alki Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa  98116
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=445
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

Ella Bailey Park
Although the smallest park on the list, Ella Bailey has much to make up for what it lacks in size. You may be distracted by the jaw dropping views of downtown Seattle, the Sound and Mount Rainier, but try to focus as your tot’s kite catches what’s sure to be a perfect breeze at this Magnolia Bluff park. We think this spot is perfect for the under 5 kite enthusiasts in your crew. And if they get tired of running that kite, the new playground is sure to be a hit while you take a seat on the grassy hill and enjoy the scenery.

2601 W. Smith St.
Seattle, Wa 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=318
Park hours: 4 a.m.-11:30 p.m., daily

little boy with kite Erik Przekop on Flickr

Photo credit: Erik Przekop via Flickr

No Wind? No Problem!
If calm skies (or drizzly ones) are keeping your kite flyers grounded, never fear – Crossroads Community Center has indoor (yes, we said indoor) kite flying! Check it out on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month, 6 p.m.-7:45 p.m., year round. BYOK (bring your own kite), anyone under 18 must come with an adult. Call ahead for details: 425-452-4874.

Go Buy a Kite
Although Seattle’s last kite shop closed two years ago, we’ve found a few toy stores in the area that can supply you with an awesome kite, from beginner breeze catcher to stunt pilot. Call ahead to make sure they have what you need.

Top Ten Toys
120 N. 85th St.
Seattle, Wa 98103

Magic Mouse Toys
603 1st Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98104

Curious Kidstuff
4740 California Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa  98116

Where’s your favorite spot to fly a kite? Let us know in the Comments below!

–Erin Cranston