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A College Guide to the Seattle Outdoors

Six cheap and convenient places to enjoy the outdoors without leaving Seattle.

June 2, 2016
This blog post was created by KCTS 9 marketing and communications intern Xavier G. in collaboration with KCTS 9 staff.
With homework and test preparation at the forefront of a student’s busy schedule, it can be difficult to get in as much time outside as one would like. Seattle is a place full of discovery and scenic spots, and whether you go to school in the city or just outside it, there are a plethora of places for you to explore without breaking the bank or traveling hours away. 
Take a break from the books and explore some of the city’s prime spots to enjoy the outdoors:
8498 Seaview Pl. NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Located in Ballard, Golden Gardens is home to numerous hiking trails, a long sandy beach, and extraordinary views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Whether you’re into beach volleyball, fishing from the pier, or just relaxing in the sand, Golden Gardens is the perfect place to kick back on a sunny day!
Seattle Pacific University (SPU): 15 mins. via car | 45 mins. via bus
Seattle University (SU): 30 mins. via car | 1 hr. via bus
University of Washington (UW): 20 mins. via car | 1 hr. via bus
860 Terry Ave N, Seattle, WA 98109
Located along the Lake Union Bay and just blocks from the center of downtown Seattle, Lake Union Park flaunts acres of clean, scenic atmosphere. The park is host to the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), as well as numerous events, festivals, markets and restaurants that promise an enjoyable time. 
Additionally, you can enjoy a day on the water via paddleboard or kayak, thanks to Moss Bay Paddleboard & Kayak Rentals! Moss Bay provides an easy-going experience for all outdoor enthusiasts. With kayaks and paddle boards for all skill levels, you can explore the local waterways from the University of Washington to the Ballard Locks, and even to the Washington Park Arboretum -– all for an affordable rate.
To top it all off, the area even has its own streetcar that will take you straight from the park to the heart of the city in just minutes!
Moss Bay Cost: $15/hour [Kayak], $16/hour [Paddleboard]
SPU: 10 mins. via car | 25 mins. via bus
SU: 10 mins. via car | 30 mins. via bus
UW: 15 mins. via car | 45 mins. via bus
5520 Ravenna Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105
Just north of the University District, Ravenna Park features miles of trails that wind through its wooded environment. As you make your way under giant fir trees and across bridges that look down on running creeks, you’ll quickly come to realize why this park is a popular spot for hiking, jogging and picnics.
SPU: 20 mins. via car | 45 mins. via bus
SU: 15 mins. via car | 1 hr. via bus
UW: 5 mins. via car | 20 mins. via bus
1702 Alki Ave SW, 98116
Located along the water in West Seattle, Alki Beach features picture-perfect views of the Olympic Mountains, the Puget Sound, and the passing ferries and sailboats. One side of the 2.5 mile path is a long beach that draws volleyball players, beachcombers and sunbathers; the opposite side features blocks of small shops, restaurants and cafes. Additionally, you can cruise down Alki Avenue on one of Wheel Fun’s Cruiser Bikes, taking in the beautiful scenery and fun atmosphere!
Wheel Fun’s Cost: $12/hour [Cruiser Bike]
SPU: 25 mins. via car | 1 hr. 20 mins. via bus
SU: 20 mins. via car | 1 hr. via bus
UW: 20 mins. via car | 1 hr. 15 mins via bus
Photo by Quantum Guru.
Lying on one side of West Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps, Poo Poo Point offers tremendous views of the valley below. The trail, which is a little over 7 miles to the point and back down, provides a relaxing outdoor atmosphere as you make your way through the forest, over creeks, and past decaying stumps, remnants from the area’s logging days. Once you reach the point, you can sit back and take in the scenery below, and if you time the hike right, you may even catch a paraglider or two taking off from the face of the point.
SPU: 40 mins. via car
SU: 30 mins. via car
UW: 30 mins. via car
7201 E Greenlake Dr N, 98104
One of the most popular spots in Seattle, Green Lake Park is a beautiful outdoor getaway situated in the center of an urban neighborhood. With a newly reconstructed 2.8-mile pathway around the lake itself, the park is a perfect spot for bikers, skaters and runners. One side of Green Lake features recreational fields, picnic areas and a small beach; another boasts small restaurants and cafes where you can grab a bite. 
SPU: 10 mins. via car | 45 mins. via bus
SU: 15 mins. via car | 50 mins. via bus
UW: 10 mins. via car | 40 mins. via bus




KCTS 9 staff consists of experienced journalists and videographers, producing local stories on the issues that shape the greater Seattle area. More stories by KCTS 9