Fodor's Expert Review Golden Gardens Park
The waters of Puget Sound may be bone-chillingly cold, but that doesn't stop folks from jumping in to cool off. Besides brave swimmers, who congregate on the small strip of sand between the parking lot and the canteen, this Ballard-area park is packed with sunbathers and walkers in summer. In other seasons, beachcombers explore during low tide, and groups gather around bonfires to socialize and watch the glorious Seattle sunsets. The park has drinking water, grills, picnic tables, phones, and restrooms. It also has two wetlands, a short loop trail, and unbelievable views of the Olympic Mountains. From Downtown, take Elliott Avenue North, which becomes 15th Avenue West, and cross the Ballard Bridge. Turn left to head west on Market Street and follow signs to the Ballard Locks; continue about another mile via Seaview Avenue NW to the park. Note that even though the park has two dedicated parking lots, these quickly fill up on weekends.