Seattle kids will take their water play all day, any day. Whether it’s a cool, cloudy day or a scorcher, grab your suits and towels and head out to one of our city’s many water play areas to splash around. The best part? These splash pads, spraygrounds and water play areas will keep your pint-sized posse cool all summer long and they won’t cost you a dime!

Splash Pads & Spray Parks

With longer hours than wading pools and the perk of being open rain or shine (spray parks only close in the case of thunder and lightning), your summer fun with the kids doesn’t have to wait. All Seattle spray parks and splash pads are open from 11 a.m.–8 p.m. through Labor Day. Check here to view the Seattle spray park and wading pool map.

Ballard Commons Park
For an urban splash experience, try out the not-too-big splash pad at the Ballard Commons Park, complete with enormous spraying shells and undersea-themed squirters. It’s also right across from the library, so you can retreat to a cool book-filled corner if it gets a little too hot.

5701 22nd Ave. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98107
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/ballard-commons-park

Beacon Mountain Spray Park at Jefferson Park
If you need a park with a view, hit up the splash park at Jefferson Park. Only five years old, 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.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/jefferson-park

Highland Park
After closing its wading pool in 2008, this lovely park reopened in 2013 with a new and vastly improved spray park in lieu of its old wading pool. If your kids stop hopping through the water spouts long enough, they’ll note the fun (and scientifically accurate) planetary theme. Note: the playground is currently receiving improvements, so you may encounter construction equipment. The new play area is scheduled to open on July 25 and some areas of grass will remain fenced until the grass is established (roughly early August).

1100 S.W. Cloverdale St.
Seattle, Wa 98106
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/highland-park-playground

photo: Kristina Moy

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 is home to the Peanut Butter & Jam Concert Series. This popular noontime concert takes place on Wednesdays in August and features your fave kindie rockers, so you can splash, dance and relax! Note: The spray park is open from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. through Sept. 4, 2017.

12424 42nd Ave. S.
Tukwila, Wa 98168
206-768-2822
Online: tukwilawa.gov/recreation/rectcc.html

International Fountain at Seattle Center 
Perhaps the most famous, and certainly the largest, fountain in Seattle, the International Fountain in the heart of Seattle Center (right next to Key Arena) is a showstopper for sure. Built in 1961 for the World’s Fair, the fountain has five choreographed musical numbers 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. Both are open from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. through September 4, 2017.

305 Harrison St.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: seattlecenter.com/locations/detail.aspx?id=8

photo: Kristina Moy

Georgetown Playfield
As one of the four sparkling newer splash pads in Seattle, this is an oasis of fun in the middle of South Seattle. The fountain-filled water area is located near the 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.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/georgetown-playfield

Pratt Park
This spray park is currently closed for renovation, but when it does open take a trip to the Central District for your best bet on a park that isn’t too crowded, but is still tons of fun. Pratt Park has a spray area with whimsical animal-shaped sprayers, lots of sun and play equipment nearby. Find the spray park next to the Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center.

1800 S. Main St.
Seattle, Wa 98108
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/pratt-park

Lake Union Park
Right on the water in the heart of South Lake Union is a lovely little splash pad that is the perfect refresher after a stroll downtown 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, take an introductory sail at The Center for Wooden Boats or board the new 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.
Seattle, Wa 98109
Online: atlakeunionpark.org

Miller Playfield
Miller Playfield hosts a cozy fountain with high spouts for brave kids and ground level sprayers for the more cautious. You can find the spray park southeast of the main entrance to Miller Community Center.

330 19th Ave. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/miller-playfield

Northacres Park
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.
Seattle, Wa 98125
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/northacres-park

Note: Additional spray parks within the city limits can be found at Judkins Park and John C. Little, Sr. Park.

Wading Pools

Once the mercury hits 70 degrees, the floodgates open and wading pools in almost every Seattle neighborhood are open for business. If you want to see your kiddos wade and wallow around like lazy hippos (or more likely… hyperactive hippos), check out our favorite wading pools around the Emerald City.

Note: The 2017 wading pool season runs from June 24 to September 4. On most days, the wading pools will be filled half full, which is a 50% water savings, but on the busiest days they will be filled to the top! To find the wading pool closest to you, check the Seattle Parks and Recreation website. Wading pools open when the temperature is forecasted to be 70 degrees or above. If the weather is questionable, call the Wading Pool Hotline (206-684-7796); the hotline is updated at 9:30 a.m. daily with open and closure information. Or check the city’s wading pool Facebook page.

greenlake wading pool

photo: Kalyn Gustafson

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.

7201 E. Greenlake Dr. N.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/green-lake-park
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

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/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.

8011 Fauntleroy Way S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98136
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/lincoln-park
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

lincoln park wading pool

photo: Kristina Moy

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 sploshing through the nice big wading pool. Psst… this wading pool is one of the city’s “Big Three.”

1247 15th Ave. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/volunteer-park
Open: Daily, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Warren G. Magnuson Park Wading Pool
Technically not one of the “Big Three” wading pools, it is one of the few other wading pools to 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.

7400 Sand Point Way N.E.
Seattle, Wa 98115
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/magnuson-park
Open: Daily, noon-6:30 p.m. through Aug. 27, 2017

photo: Seattle Parks and Recreation Wading Pools Facebook page 

Wallingford Playfield
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.

4219 Wallingford Ave. N.
Seattle, Wa 98103
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/wallingford-playfield
Open: Wed.-Fri., noon-7 p.m. from June 28-Aug. 18, 2017

Note: As of this writing, Beacon Hill, Gilman Playground, Peppi’s Playground, Magnuson Park and View Ridge Playfield wading pools are currently receiving maintenance, but the city hopes to have them up and running in time for summer.

Beaches

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 galore awaiting you under every rock. So grab your buckets and shovels and get to the beach!

Note: The City of Seattle has nine life-guarded beaches during the summer (open June 24-Sept. 4, 2017) and offers free swim lessons from 12:15 p.m.-12:45 p.m. and evening lessons from 6 p.m.-6:30 p.m. daily for kids ages 6-16. Lifeguards will be on duty at East Green Lake beach and Madrona beach starting May 27, 2017. Lifeguard hour vary at each beach, so consult the city’s 2017 summer beach schedule before you head out.

When the day is done

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

Discovery Park
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.

3801 Discovery Park Blvd.
Seattle, Wa 98199
Online: seattle.gov/parks/environment/discovery.htm

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.

1702 Alki Ave. S.W.
Seattle, Wa 98116
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/alki-beach-park

photo: Allison Sutcliffe

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.
Seattle, Wa 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/park_detail

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 beaches with gently lapping waves and fire pits for epic beach fires. Get here early to reserve a picnic spot. It is truly packed on sunny days and with good reason. Psst! Be sure to hit the snack bar for an ice cream bar or grab a sweet treat for the car ride home.

8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.
Seattle, Wa 98117
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/golden-gardens-park

photo: Kristina Moy

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.
Seattle, Wa 98144
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/mount-baker-park

Seward Park Beach
Though a bit of a drive from the city center, Seward Park offers some of the best (and warmest) swimming in Seattle. Beach amenities include a swimming raft, a play area for children and lifeguards on duty in the summer. In case you stay longer than planned and the Littles are in need of a pick-me-up, there’s a snack bar close by for ice cream and hot dogs. And if you still need to burn off the crazies, hit the newly improved playground and zippy zip line.

5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S.
Seattle, Wa 98114
Online: seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/seward-park

photo: Kristina Moy

A few notes in case your little ones happen to think the pools and splash pads are their very own drinking fountains:

Spray parks: 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. Bill Dougherty of Seattle Parks and Recreation would like remind us all, “not to wear our street clothes in the spray park, and to please not use it as a shower.” ‘Nuf said, Bill!

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.

Where is your family’s favorite outdoor spot to splash around on a hot summer day? Tell us in the comments below!

— Kristina Moy & Katie Gruver

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