Alki Beach. Photo by Alabastro Photography

Seattle’s Top Five Transit-Accessible Summer Spots

Just because you don’t have a car doesn’t mean summer is lost.

In the summer, the city can feel claustrophobic. If you don’t have a car, how can you get out and experience the great outdoors? Turns out there’s plenty you can do via public transit and your bike. Set aside some time in your summer plans to check out these noteworthy, heatwave-certified locales.

Fremont Rope Swing

What Is It? Even if you’ve never jumped off one in your life, the rope swing has been immortalized for you by numerous coming-of-age films and camp recruitment videos. Relive this feeling by biking down to the Fremont rope swing off the Burke-Gilman trail near Phinney Avenue and 34th Street. Keep your youthful sense of reckless abandon somewhat in check before you jump in the canal; there will be passing boats.

How to Get There Being on the Burke makes this the perfect destination for biking or walking. For those who don’t live near the trail, take your usual Fremont bus route.

Juanita Beach Park

What Is It? In 2011 the city of Kirkland began a massive renovation of Juanita Beach Park, and it paid off. The park now boasts sandy beaches, volleyball courts, pathways with cedar bridges, sculptures, and grassy fields prime for frolicking. It’s an ideal hotspot for families with kids, but the laid-back vibe will mesh well with most anyone.

How to Get There The easiest means of travel is taking the 255 bus. It’s an hour-long journey so bring a book or podcast to catch-up on and pass the time.

Golden Gardens

What Is It? Bonfires, buns, and bros. Golden Gardens is a popular sunny-day destination for a reason. Plan ahead by getting there early and staking claim to your spot. Bring some food to grill, books to read, and friends to share the view with. The nearby food stands give the waterfront a Coney Island feel, creating the whole beach experience.

How to Get There The Burke-Gilman trail just keeps coming up, doesn’t it? With good reason. This trail is your gateway to much of Seattle’s outdoor wonders. Biking down the trail is your best bet. A bus will get you there as well, but be prepared to make a few transfers.

Pritchard Park on Bainbridge Island

What Is It? If Seattle’s beaches and parks are a little too crowded for you, maybe it’s time to get further out of town. Bainbridge Island is home to many peaceful refuges, including the majestic Pritchard Park. The 50-acre park, formerly a wood-treatment plant, now hosts a variety of trails, beaches, and historical artifacts. You’re also right next to Eagle Harbor, giving you a view of the docks.

How to Get There Oddly enough, public transit will delay you only slightly compared to driving. Walk on to the Seattle-Bainbridge Ferry and enjoy the scene views from the observation decks. Bring some change with you to hop on Kitsap Transit’s #99 bus.

Alki Beach

What Is It?Alki is like a fever-dream vision of what a summer beach should be. In the Northwest, it truly is hard to beat the vibrant atmosphere with the Seattle skyline just across the water. Fruit stands and restaurants line your pathways as you traverse the waterfront.

How to Get There West Seattle sometimes can seem like an eternity away, but it’s remarkably easy to get there. Metro 56 or 37 will both take you right to the sandy boulevard from downtown. For the more adventurous, try taking the water taxi at Pier 50. From there you can hop on either the Metro 775, 773, or 37 to the beach. But first, stop by the Marination Ma Kai right after you dock and stock up on delicious Hawaiian-Korean fusion cuisine to fuel your travels.

CORRECTION An earlier version of this story did not present the most direct routes for reaching Alki Beach or Juanita Beach Park. Thank you to reader Jeff Hickey for setting us straight.

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