The kids are out of school and you can finally pack away the lunch boxes and toss out old spelling lists. But wait…what are you going to do with them for the next two and a half months? Never fear, Seattle parents. We’ve put together a list of the 37 best parks and playgrounds in the city, on the Eastside and north and south of Seattle to keep you and your kids’ dog days of summer filled with tons of adventure and energy-zapping fun! Read on and get ready to add these righteous recreational areas to your summer bucket list.

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

1. Discovery Park
The newly redesigned Discovery Park is definitely summer list-worthy. And for a good reason! This huge 534 acre park, located in the heart of the Magnolia community, boasts brand-new playground equipment including a multi-level climbing structure, towers, slides, a ropes course, and swings. And, if that wasn’t enough, there is also a new zip line, always a crowd pleaser! Play areas are set up to accommodate both big and little monkeys (as well as ADA compliant), so there is enough adventure for everyone. Feel free to make a day of it, too. With 12 miles of paths to explore and stunning views of the Puget Sound and the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, Discovery Park is one place sure to be a uber hit with your little explorers.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, Wa 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/discovery-park

photo: Kristina Moy

2. Artists at Play
If you’ve got brave bambinos who harbor a lot of energy or even an aspiring artistic on your hands, Artists at Play, located in the heart of the Seattle Center right next to the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture (formerly known as EMP), is a must-do! The monstrous 30-foot tall climbing structure also incorporates mega long slides and suspended bridges. (Psst…it can be pretty intimidating due to the height, so parents be aware. It will definitely intrigue your older risk-taking rugrats and will most likely get your heart pumping too!) But, never fear, there is a wee bit smaller structure for the teeny ones as well as an innovative selection of interactive musical features such as chiming swings, a giant-sized rain stick, a musical note-playing letter tree, and a sound fence played with billiard balls.

Seattle Center – Next 50 Plaza
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: seattlecenter.com/news/detail.aspx?id=1932

photo: Natalia Dotto Photography 

3. Bellevue Downtown Park
Another newly redesigned park on our list has got to be Bellevue Downtown Park. Opened just last summer, this “Inspiration Park” is perfect for all ages and abilities and has just about each and every amenity your tiny park aficionados are looking for. Play structures, see-saws, spinner bowls, an in-ground trampoline, climbing walls and vine, and various swings are all present and all super cute to boot! Need we say more? Yes, we do, because it also sports a splash pad, waterfalls, and sensory water table for those upcoming hot summer days! This park has it all. It is already beckoning you for a visit, isn’t it?

10201 N.E. 4th St.
Bellevue, Wa 98004
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/planning-and-development/downtown-park

photo credit: Jennifer B. Davis

4. Luther Burbank Park – Mercer Island
Located between Seattle and Bellevue, Mercer Island serves home to the beautiful 77-acre Luther Burbank Park. Alongside Washington Lake, Luther Burbank Park has tennis courts, nature trails, beaches, and picnic areas. The playground, however, remains Luther Burbank Park’s best asset for Seattle kids. In the center of tall trees, the playground’s swings, zip line, tunnel, and climbing area will certainly satisfy your kids’ hunger for joy and excitement. For the summer months, there will be a lifeguard on duty at the swimming beach starting late June through Labor Day. So, pack those suits, throw a few towels in the bag, and plan for a day at this cool park on Mercer Island!

2040 84th Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Online: mercergov.org/Page.asp?NavID=1138

photo: Vanessa W. via Yelp

5. Lake Wilderness Park
South Sound locals or visitors, this park is calling your name! Lake Wilderness Park, located in Maple Valley about 45 minutes southeast of Seattle, is an all-year-round gem of a park, but it’s also superbly awesome come the summer months. Situated on Lake Wilderness, this recently renovated 117-acre park boasts an arboretum, a frisbee golf course, paved trails, large green spaces, a beach with swimming area and a huge fishing pier. But not only that, its playground is brand new and has loads of fun things to do for your little mischief-maker (think: swings, slides, merry-go-round, and an intricate climbing structure). Currently, the parks department is commissioning the construction of an all-new beach house to support bathrooms, concession and boat rental facilities, set to be completed soon! Psst…on a clear day, you get a breath-taking view of Mt. Rainer as you look out over the Lake.

22500 S.E. 248th St.
Maple Valley, Wa 98038
Online: maplevalleywa.gov/departments-services/parks-recreation/parks-and-trails/lake-wilderness-park

photo: Alaina Weimer

6. Carkeek Park
This one is for the slide devotees in your family! What if you were told your tiny glider could slide down a salmon and come out the other end? Because that is just what the popular Carkeek Park, located nine miles northwest of Seattle, has to offer! This park’s salmon-themed play area is boatloads of fun and, no doubt, a place your kids will get a kick out of. If you cast your net a bit wider beyond the playground, you can also adventure through the 220 acres of forest, meadows, wetlands, creeks…and (wait for it) beach! Pack a picnic for this one, folks. You get fantastic views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains for mom or dad, and lots of play room for your little maniacs.

950 N.W. Carkeek Park Rd.
Seattle, Wa 98177
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/carkeek.htm

photo: OnceAndFutureLaura via Flickr

7. Lake Sammamish State Park
Another doozy of a park on the Eastside that your small fries absolutely won’t want to miss is the new playground in the heart of Lake Sammamish State Park. Located in Issaquah, right on the shores of Lake Sammamish, is where you will find this whimsical, coal mining town-themed playground set to delight visitors with its oversized mushroom cottage, hidden woodland creatures, mining town cubbies and cabins, and even a painted stream with leaping salmon. Little spider monkeys can climb all over the amenity-filled play structures and a huge zip line is just waiting to give your tykes a whizzing ride. But your stop here is not complete unless you also plan an afternoon around the massive sandy beach! Who needs Florida when the area has its own beachy oasis? Loads of room for swimming and digging your toes in the sand. Psst…there are no trees around the beach, so bring along that beach umbrella (and some 50+ SPF sunscreen) for shade against that summer sun! Discover Pass required.

2000 N.W. Sammamish Rd.
Issaquah, Wa 98027
Online: parks.state.wa.us/Lake-Sammamish

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

8. Jefferson Park
This park on Beacon Hill has an awesome playground for kids. Climbing walls, sandbox and tons of wide open paved trails for those newbie bike riders. Plus, the views of the Olympics, Elliott Bay, Downtown, Space Needle, Duwamish River and the Cascades are incredible. It also boasts not one, but two slides that will have your dynamos climbing up and sliding down for hours. The first slide is the more traditional metal slide. What’s not traditional is the way to get to the top. From a semicircular ladder to a climbing wall. It’s possible that going up could be more fun than the sliding down. But, don’t forget the kite and an extra set of clothes or a swimsuit. This is a great place to fly a kite because the winds crest off the ridge and there’s a refreshing splash pad at the bottom of the slides!

3801 Beacon Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?id=114

photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation website 

9. Saint Edward State Park
Once a Catholic seminary, the area is now an expansive 326-acre park complete with short hiking trails (dogs are welcome if leashed) and beautiful views of Lake Washington (3,000 feet of lake shoreline!). There are plenty of open spaces to run around and play, and a picnic area with tables and restrooms. The grounds also boast a quiet Grotto, but if that seems like too much be-still time for your pumped-up posse, head over to the two play structures (one toddler, one big kid) that each have things to climb on, in, under and through. Don’t miss out on the slides, sand pits, swings and even a climbing wall. Again, bring along that handy Discover Pass to avoid the steep $10 day fee.

14445 Juanita Dr. N.E.
Kenmore, Wa 98028
Online: parks.state.wa.us/577/Saint-Edward

10. SERA Campus Playground
This newer playground in Tacoma’s south-end is worthy of a visit for both minuscule and mighty kids alike. The obstacle-like features offer some challenges for big kids, while the woodland theme and tree house inspired structure will stir little imaginations into some epic pretend play adventures. During the summer months, the minis can spend most of their day at the sprayground, while athletes eager to try out the turf will want to head over to the seven athletic fields for baseball, soccer, football or lacrosse. When the weather is the typical Northwest drizzle, score a day pass and try the campus’ Treetops Playground.

6002 S. Adams St.
Tacoma, Wa 98409
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/sera-campus-south-end-recreation

photo: Rachael Brandon

11. Maple Leaf Park and Kids Playground
Perhaps Seattle’s most overlooked play area, this peaceful, sunny Maple Leaf neighborhood park has plenty of street parking and was actually opened not too many years ago. So the equipment—though not the fanciest in town—is good quality. Bigger kids particularly love the zip line, and tinier ones dig the sandpit in the corner. Bring along the bikes and balls: there’s a circular track just north of the playground, plus pickle ball and basketball courts. The one flaw is that there’s only a few picnic tables (split between lower and upper parks), so if you’re planning to get your lunch to-go, you may want to pack a picnic blanket. But one of the perks…a viewpoint highlighting Mt. Rainier and Lake Washington!

1020 N.E. 82nd St.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=3881

photo: Amy H. via Yelp 

12. Kelsey Creek Farm
If your tiny ones are into nature’s creatures, then head on over to Kelsey Creek Farm. Sure, there is a playground ideal for wiggly toddlers and two miles worth of trails that wind through pastures and a creek, but this park really comes to mind for its plethora of farm animals to interact with!  On any given day, you can visit with the horses, bunnies, chickens, sheep, goats, rabbits, waterfowl and pigs that call Kelsey Creek Farm their home. If you’re planning on spending a good part of your day at the farm, pack along some snacks and a picnic lunch. There’s plenty of grass to throw down a blanket as well as picnic tables and a picnic shelter!

410 130th Pl. S.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98005
Online: farmerjayne.com

photo: Kristina Moy

13. Cal Anderson Park
This huge park, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, has just about everything for whatever kind of mood your kiddos are in. If they feel like sprinting around, they can tear through the meadow and play Frisbee or catch. For play time, head to the impressive play area and monkey around the climbing structure. Need a cool down? Cal Anderson Park has you covered. Splash in the wading pool this summer (open from June 29 through Aug. 19, 2018 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 6:30 p.m.), check out the fountain, or laze around on the grassy knolls. They even have a few over-sized chess boards to play on. So cool!

1635 11th Ave.
Seattle, Wa 98122
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/cal-anderson-park

photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation website

14. Miner’s Corner County Park
A first look at this awesome playground will have everyone in your crew excited to play, even mom and dad! There’s a variety of slides, some thrilling enough for bigger kids and some more suited for the tiny fellas, as well as two climbing walls, a lookout tower, and a modern merry-go-round for tots who love to get dizzy. In fact, upon closer inspection, every nook and cranny is jam-packed with things to spin, climb, swing, and explore! Park Extra: If your tykes love to get their hands (and feet) dirty, grab your buckets and shovels and hit the cool sandbox to find a dino fossil or work the pint-sized sand construction equipment, then take a leisurely stroll along the winding trails to the water habitat.

22903 45th Ave. S.E.
Bothell, Wa 98021
Online: snohomishcountywa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Miners-Corner-57

photo: Angela Alanis

15. Alki Playground & Whale Tail Park
Next to Alki Elementary and close to Alki beach, Whale Tail Park is a favorite hangout for West Seattleites. Kids love climbing on the “whale tail” sculpture that flanks one end of the park and taking make-believe voyages on the playground’s very own boat. But it’s the two slides that make this playground a hit with the minis. Park Extra: The playground is just a short stroll to Alki Beach Park, where a picnic on the beach, a wade in the water or fish ‘n chips are in order.

5817 S.W. Lander St.
Seattle, Wa 98116
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/alki-playground

photo: Kristina Moy

16. Newcastle Beach Park
Newcastle Beach Park is the largest beach park in Bellevue and perfect for the entire fam. In addition to a large open field (perfect for a game of Frisbee, throwing around a football and even slip-and-slide baseball!) and a large sandy swimming beach, this beach park has a nature trail and train-themed playground equipment, ideal for your little cherubs who love a good choo-choo. A 300-foot dock and convenient picnic facilities make this park a popular family destination during the summer months.

4400 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E.
Bellevue, Wa 98006
Online: parks.bellevuewa.gov/parks-and-trails/parks/newcastle-beach-park

photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation website

17. Lincoln Park
Located in West Seattle, this fab park not only has two playgrounds (with an awesome zip line!), several ball fields, four miles of biking trails, and a paved trail along it’s beautiful beach, but the city’s only outdoor heated saltwater pool. Pack a picnic lunch and your binoculars (the park is home to several pairs of bald eagles and owls) and plan to make a day of it.

8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/lincoln-park

photo: Kristina Moy

18. Lake Meridian Park
Arrr! Shiver me timbers! Good pirate ships are hard to come by these days, so if you’ve got a Jake or Izzy in your crew they’re sure to be on board with playing at this Kent park for the day. A pirate vessel, complete with sails and canons, is docked near a lake-side beach used for fishing, swimming and sand play during the summer months. There’s also a ginormous webbed climbing structure, swings, and a merry-go-round, plus an ADA compliant play structure with some awesome slides. The large grass area is perfect for throwing around a football or flying a kite, while the picnic shelters come with lake views and BBQs. Score!

14800 S.E. 272nd St.
Kent, Wa 98030
Online: kentwa.gov/Home/Components/FacilityDirectory/FacilityDirectory/238/318

photo: Michelle G. via Yelp

19. Seward Park
Seward Park is home to an old growth forest, a bike and walking path (with an amazing waterfront view), an amphitheater and miles of hiking trails. Check out the children’s play area, renovated with a “naturalistic” flavor. When your kid tires of playing with the interactive art, you might want to try explore the beautiful native plant gardens. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Grab the stroller or jogger and tool around the park’s 2.4 mile loop, which boasts one of the prettiest waterfront views in Seattle. Who doesn’t love a park with a great view, right?

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, Wa 98118
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/seward-park

photo: Kristina Moy

20. Steel Lake Park & Family Funland
Calling all knights and princesses! If castles and fort play are at the forefront of your kiddo’s imagination, then you’ll want to saddle-up their war-horse and invade this Federal Way playground. Called Family Funland, the enormous playground will keep mini dragon slayers busy for hours with multiple climbing walls, monkey bars, a toddler area, swings and much more. As the name suggests, there is also a swimming lake with lifeguards on duty during the summer, plus grass areas and picnic tables to spread out on for some lunch when it’s time to feed your mini royals.

2410 S. 312th St.
Federal Way, Wa 98003
Online: visitfw.org/directory/things-to-see/steel-lake-park-47

photo credit: Christy H. via Yelp

21. Wallingford Playfield
This mega play structure at Wallingford Playfield leads to one thing: substantial summertime merriment. The super fly tube slide at this park is where it’s at, perfect for bigger tykes but also your most itsy-bitsy babes (think: no falling off for the wee ones, while the older set can try to zip down as fast as they can!). But, maybe most intriguing at the moment, this play area also has a wading pool (open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 7 p.m. and it’s wheelchair accessible) to prevent your kiddos from becoming sweaty-teddies in the summer months. Thanks Wallingford Playfield! Just what Dr. Mom ordered!

4219 Wallingford Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/wallingford-playfield

photo credit: Natalia Dotto Photography

22. Marymoor
You may have attended a concert here, but Marymoor also features an amazing park for the munchkins on the north side of the sprawling grounds. Complete with a three-kid wide teeter-totter, a special 2-5 year old section, a rockin’ dinosaur, a few unique whirl-i-gigs and a large-scale climbing piece, this park really delivers. Bring your bikes and ride the loop, or cruise over to the woof-tastic dog park filled with great trails and open space for Junior to run free along with Fido. There’s also a huge climbing wall (for bigger kids), remote control airplane field and acres and acres of play fields. A second kid’s play area is also tucked within the Willowmoor Farm area.

6046 W. Lake Sammamish Pkwy. N.E.
Redmond, Wa 98052
Online: redmond.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=4121

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

23. Forest Park Playground
Situated a few miles from the Imagine Children’s Museum (something to check out in and of itself!) and about 30 minutes or so north of Seattle, Everett’s Forest Park remains one of the Seattle metropolitan area’s funnest outdoor locations. Forest Park provides kids with a bevy of kid-friendly activities including a sprayground where kids can splash the day away (it also has an area perfect for toddlers). In addition to visiting the splash pad, don’t forget to explore the park further to find a free animal farm featuring goats, calves, rabbits and other farm animals.

800 E Mukilteo Blvd.
Everett, Wa 98203
Online: everettwa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Forest-Park-23

photo credit: Kristina Moy

24. Seattle’s Washington Park Arboretum
Overlooked and managed by the University of Washington and the City of Seattle, Washington Park Arboretum stands as the perfect place for Seattle kids to dive in and experience nature. Visiting Washington Park’s Japanese Garden ($8 for adults, $6 for Seattle residents with ID, $4 for youth and kids under 5 are free and the first Thursday of the month admission is free from 3 p.m. to closing), Wilcox footbridge, ponds and nature trails will undoubtedly quench your kids’ thirst for the great outdoors. For families with aspiring mini sea captains, you can explore this area by canoe or rowboat. Rentals are available at the UW Waterfront Activities Center, where they also provide lifejackets and advice on how to safely cross the boat traffic at Montlake Cut.

2300 Arboretum Dr. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: botanicgardens.uw.edu/washington-park-arboretum

photo: Ed Ogle via Flickr

25. Point Ruston Waterwalk
The three things we love best about this park are its location, location, location! Less than two miles away from Point Defiance Park and Zoo, a visit to this seaside playground would be a stellar choice after a morning spent animal watching with your teeny zoologists. The ferry-boat play structure, swings and newer splash pad are at the far end of Point Ruston Waterwalk—a mile-long stretch of pavement along Commencement Bay that’s perfect for strollers and littles on new sets of wheels. While on the Waterwalk, look out for the tiled sea creatures and a 30-foot wide octopus mosaic!

5115 Grand Loop
Tacoma, Wa 98407
Online: pointruston.com/lifestyle/tacoma-waterfront-things-to-do/fun-for-kids-on-the-point-ruston-waterwalk

photo: Rachael Brandon

26. Grand View Park and Central Park
What better way to get your tot’s imagination revved up, than with an amazing “roof top” view. Situated in the northern section of Issaquah Highlands, this park features stunning views of the Cascade mountains, as well as Mt. Baker and the Seattle skyline on a clear day. Of course, it’s the sweet play structure with four slides, swings, tons of grassy free space and monkey bars that are the true showstoppers for your youngsters at this park. Insider Tip: There is also a smaller park connected right up the hill from Grand View that offers additional play equipment perfect for your more petite sprouts.

Additional stop off: If your energetic offspring still have wiggles to get out, think about checking out Central Park, another colossal park right off the main Highlands drag. It has just been reopened after renovations and offers tons of play equipment, a zip line, various types of swings and seesaws and lots of covered picnic tables. If the weather is nice, it’s a great park to watch the paragliders sailing down from Tiger Mountain.

Grand View
29th Ave. N.E.
Issaquah, Wa 98029
Online: ci.issaquah.wa.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/Grand-View-Park-26

Central Park
1907 N.E. Park Dr.
Issaquah, Wa 98029
Online: ci.issaquah.wa.us/Facilities/Facility/Details/Central-Park-21

photo: Jennifer B. Davis

27. Grass Lawn Park
No Eastside adventure is complete without a trip to the sprawling Grasslawn Park in Redmond. With two distinct “sides” to this behemoth, there’s fun for any age group – especially in the warmer months when the east side water feature is on and it’s sunny enough to splash. The west side of the park features a multitude of climbing gyms, a merry-go-round/spinning tree, large sand area for castles or a game of pretend store in the “Happy Clam Club.” Swings, a huge slide and many other unique elements, make Grasslawn a true Eastside destination. Psst…there’s a large-scale climbing piece tucked behind the trees in the northwest corner, if your adventurer needs more space to roam and climb.

7031 148th Ave. N.E.
Redmond, Wa 98052
Online: redmond.gov/cms/one.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=4010

photo: Vanessa W. via Yelp

28. Westcrest Park
Located on the lid of the West Seattle Reservoir, and next to the Westcrest off-leash area, is where you will find the newly expanded Westcrest Park. In addition to a new playground, dueling zip lines, walking paths and panoramic views of the city, this park has five different slides designed to fit every type of daredevil. Walk past the climbing structure and discover the two “secret” slides set in the rocky hillside. Westcrest Park also has a huge lawn for playing or picnicking and winding paths and native prairie just waiting to be explored. Little monkeys will love conquering the Explorer Dome which contains a rope ladder, nets, loop bridge, tippy slide and other challenges. Plus, the park’s two speedy zip lines have disc-shaped seats and zip from a cushy elevated platform, making it easy for little ones to get on and off.

8th Ave. S.W. (between S.W. Cloverdale St. and S.W. Trenton St.)
Seattle Wa 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/projects/west_seattle_reservoir

photo: Helen Walker Green

29. Kirkland Waterfront – Houghton Beach Park
The many parks along the Kirkland Waterfront offer a variety of pleasures for little revelers. But, the largest and most kid-friendly park happens to be Houghton Beach Park. With a large-scale climbing structure, a huge sandy beach and associated pedestrian dock, Houghton Beach Park is a hot spot when the weather’s hot or cool. If walking or biking is more your game, head three blocks east from Houghton Beach Park (up the steep hill) to the Kirkland Corridor. This old train track has been converted into a level walking/biking path and provides a long trail running from the south to north end of Kirkland, with kid-friendly stops along the way!

5811 Lake Washington Blvd.
Kirkland, Wa 98033
Online: parksofkirkland.com/houghton-beach-park

photo: Jennifer B. Davis 

30. Green Lake Park Playground
Green Lake Park is one of Seattle’s biggest and best recreational parks. Surrounding a gorgeous lake (when can that ever be a wrong decision!), Green Lake Park is a great place to enjoy a sunny day. Sit by the lake and watch rowers, kayakers and paddle boarders. Or, check out The Path (the 2.8 mile loop around the lake) if your mini minions are on the move. Then, head on over to the park’s playground, located close to the Green Lake Community Center, that caters to both toddler and bigger-kid play (don’t forget to check out the indoor play space for infants and toddlers within the Community Center; it’s open Monday to Saturday!) If you have some free time, don’t hesitate to take your kids to this fab park. They’ll love it!

7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N,
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/green-lake-park

31. Norpoint Park
Psst…have you heard about the playground behind the Norpoint Community Center? If not, were letting you in on one of Tacoma’s best kept secrets. To start, you’ll want to give that zip line a few tries – you know, to make sure it’s sturdy enough (wink, wink), because there’s no telling how long your tiny Tarzan will be on it for. When it’s warm, the teetering splash buckets at the sprayground will draw your kiddos in for a cooldown and after that they’ll hit the webbed jungle gym, toddler area or swings. There’s also a large grass area, perfect for kicking a ball or playing Frisbee with a view of Mount Rainier in the background!

4818 Nassau Ave. N.E.
Tacoma, Wa 98422
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/norpoint-park

photo: Rachael Brandon

32. Mercerdale Park Playground
Located in the center of Seattle’s Mercer Island, Mercerdale Park playground is a wonderful play area for Seattle kids. For the tiny conductors who are chomping at the bit for a good choo choo, this playground’s train theme sets the stage for hours of fun. If you feel like strolling the youngsters around, take advantage of the playground’s paved walkways. Or, visit the nearby skate park for the Tony Hawk enthusiast in your life or bring the scooter along for your pocket-sized peewees. Something to keep in mind: on Sundays in the summer, this park is the site of the Mercer Island Farmer’s Market and also home to various music festivals. Oh summer, how we love you!

3249 78th Ave. S.E.
Mercer Island, Wa 98040
Online: mercergov.org/page.asp?navid=406

photo: mymercerisland.net

33. George B. Kandle Park
The big draw to this park isn’t the playground (which is nice too, don’t get us wrong!), it’s the rockin’ wave pool that’s gonna grab your crew’s attention. Kandle Park is an awesome summertime hangout and a terrific alternative to the more intense outdoor water parks in the area. The pool features a zero-depth entry that makes it easy for the minis to get in on the fun, plus complimentary life vests, a toddler pool with several spraypark features and a grass lawn to have a picnic on. Located just outside of the pool is a really great playground where you’ll find a little something for everyone, including both a toddler and a super-tall play structure, slides, swings and a small skate park, plus another mini splash pad.

Kandle Pool Hours: Daily, June 18-Sept. 3, 2018. Full session: noon-5 p.m.; half session 2:30 p.m.-5 p.m.; evenings 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Cost: $10/Adults for full session; $8/Adults for half or evening session; $8/Youth (5-17) for full session; $6/Youth for half or evening session; 4 & under Free

2323 N. Shirley St.
Tacoma, Wa 98406
Online: metroparkstacoma.org/kandlepark

photo: Andrea B. via Yelp

34. Junior League Playground at Magnuson Park
Junior League of Seattle’s Playground is the city’s largest playground for young kids. The play area has 20,000 square feet of climbing, a sandbox and swinging and sliding fun. After taking a stroll with Fido and the kids (off-leash park and Small Dog Play Area included!) around beautiful Magnuson Park, don’t miss out on one of Seattle’s most famous playgrounds. It’s an experience your kids will never forget. Soak up the Lake Washington views along the paved path, and as you do, keep your eyes peeled for a strange collection of steel sculptures protruding from the ground. If the kiddos are into airplanes or whales then The Fin Project is a must see. Then, head uphill until you reach a big patch of green grass better know as Kite Hill. The lawn is ideal for kicking a ball while enjoying the panoramic views, or, as the name implies, flying a kite!

7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/magnuson-park/park-features

35. Willis Tucker Community Park
Located in Mill Creek near Snohomish, Willis Tucker Park is a huge, 84-acre area with lots of room to play and spread out. The main highlight of this park is the awesome water spray area. While it’s mostly dominated by 5 year olds during the summer months, little ones can still play around—just be careful of the wet cement! This park also features an amphitheater were you can catch movies in the park this summer!

6705 Puget Park Dr.
Snohomish, Wa 98296
Online: snohomishcountywa.gov/Facilities/Facility/Details/Willis-D-Tucker-Community-Park-37

photo: Willis Tucker Community Park

36. Madison Park 
Madison Park’s eponymous park is worthy of having a ‘hood built around it—eight grassy acres that house a stellar playground and summertime swimming beach (complete with lifeguards) on the shore of Lake Washington. There are climbing structures galore, with plentiful bench seating for mom or dad to keep an eye on little daredevils. The very walkable little strip of shops and restaurants nearby makes grabbing lunch a cinch, too.

4201 E. Madison St.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail.asp?ID=369

photo: Anne D. via Yelp

37. Fort Steilacoom Park
This castle park in Lakewood can best be described using one word—huge! The historic Fort Steilacoom Park spans 340 acres and includes a dog park, playground and miles of trails through fields, woods and around the small Waughop lake. The play area offers two large sets of swings, big kid and toddler play structures with bridges, hidden nooks and slides to play on.

Bonus: Bordering the west end of the park is the Pierce College campus and Science Dome  which offers kid-friendly, Saturday planetarium shows for just $6 per child.

8714 87th Ave. S.W.
Lakewood, Wa 98498
Online: cityoflakewood.us/parks-and-recreation/parks/fort-steilacoom-park

photo: Jennifer B via Flickr

—Alaina Weimer, Kristina Moy & Katie Kavulla

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