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Get Your Nature On in the City at These Seattle-Area Parks

Spark Public

Get Your Nature On in the City at These Seattle-Area Parks

Eight awesome local parks to explore without leaving Greater Seattle

August 24, 2016

This week is the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration. But for us broke, carless, city-dwelling young’uns, actually getting to a national park is only slightly less difficult than getting to the Moon. Luckily, Seattle is jam-packed with plenty of nature-y experiences that don’t require you to miss days of work. Depending on where you live — and your degree of appreciation for the great outdoors — here are eight accessible local parks for you to explore!

Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park

319 2nd Ave. S. Seattle, WA 98104

For the truly nature-phobic, here’s good news: Seattle boasts its own national park, the Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park, situated in the heart of Pioneer Square! So put the bug spray away, because this is a miniature museum, not a real park in the "grass and trees" sense of a park. The museum commemorates the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s in the Yukon Valley. As part of the centennial celebration, August 25–28 are free-entry days at all 413 national parks, so head on down to P Square and pick up a nugget or two of Seattle history.

Llandover Woods Greenspace

14499 3rd Ave. NW Seattle, WA 98177

Quiet and secluded, this best-kept secret is the perfect spot for a jog or walking your pooch. The forested trails pop with color — super-pretty! Plus, the trails are fairly short, which is great if you’re like me and you hate exercising for long periods of time. One tip: Plan ahead because there is no access to water or bathrooms.

Carkeek Park

950 NW Carkeek Park Rd. Seattle, WA 98117

Located in Seattle’s Broadview neighborhood, Carkeek Park is fully equipped with trails, picnic areas, beaches, forests, creeks, a fruit orchard, an environmental learning center and plenty of creepy crawly things. And I don’t just mean all the kids at the playground! You’ll be taking selfies all day long against the backdrop of beautiful territorial views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains

Camp Long

5200 35th Ave. SW, Seattle, WA 98126

Camp Long has all the nature-ish stuff like hiking, camping and rock climbing. But the best part? It is so very conveniently close to the Alaska Junction! I don’t know about you, but I’m way more likely to get my nature on if a trip to the bar is in my foreseeable future.

Discovery Park

3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199

You’ve probably been to Discovery Park over in Magnolia, given that it’s the largest city park in Seattle (534 acres!). But have you ever gone during sundown? So gorgeous! Amazing views of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges. Plus it’s got everything else you could want in a park: beaches, meadows, sea cliffs, forests, sand dunes, streams, birdwatching, a plethora of adorable dogs and a lighthouse!

The Washington Park Arboretum

2300 Arboretum Dr E. Seattle, WA 98122

The Washington Park Arboretum has an epic amount of amazing scenery. You’ll feel as if you’ve stumbled into a fairy tale walking through the botanic gardens. If you’re a plant freak, you might enjoy taking one of their tours, or if you’re feeling more active, rent a canoe and paddle around the arboretum. Many cute turtle sightings! See more here

Interlaken Park

2451 Delmar Dr. E., Seattle, WA 98102

Conveniently located in the north end of Capitol Hill, Interlaken Park offers densely wooded trails which provide the illusion of escape from the city. Unfortunately, it does not provide escape from the hipsters who frequent this park. You can’t always choose your wildlife.

Mercer Slough

1625 118th Ave SE, Bellevue, WA 98004

For you Eastsiders, Mercer Slough abounds with recreational activities. Plenty of areas for hiking, biking, canoeing and BLUEBERRY PICKING! The park is also home to plenty of wildlife and slimy critters, if you’re into that sort of thing. Did I mention blueberry picking? Or, if the actual picking of the blueberries is too much nature for you, just hit the farm stand and claim you picked them yourself. All you really need is a selfie in the blueberry field and who’s going to question your foraging prowess?

Photo credit: Jean Bragassa on Flickr Creative Commons


Jen Germain

Jen Germain is a media producer with the Creative Services team at Cascade Public Media, helping to drive brand and programming initiatives. Previously, Jen worked as a producer with Spark Public, where she helped lead digital strategy and mentor a team of millennial multimedia journalists. Find her on Twitter @jengermain. 

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