When it comes to beach spots I favor anywhere with a picnic table and accessible swimming. Of course, around Seattle that rarely means water warmer than 50 degrees. Five favorites:

Alki Beach: There aren’t many places in Seattle as quintessentially beachy. Seemingly miles of sand, with tables and fire pits. Alki is like a slice of California beach, with colder water and fresher views. (1702 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle; seattle.gov/parks/listall.asp)

Seward Park: For those who need a little green in their beachfront, Seward is a solid choice. The highlight for me is the beach area, with a nice inlet in which to wade and dive on warm days. There are also bike paths and walking trails, with ample picnic shelters for large parties. (5895 Lake Washington Blvd. S, Seattle; seattle.gov/parks/listall.asp)

Golden Gardens: A classic with a view. Perhaps more suited to the younger crowd, or anyone who loves tide pools during the day and bonfires at night. If you’re lucky, you may witness a performance by a talented fire spinner. (8498 Seaview Place N.W., Seattle; seattle.gov/parks/listall.asp)

Newcastle Beach: It’s one of the most popular beach parks in Bellevue, so this might seem like a no-brainer. But with a swimming area and three spaces you can rent out for extremely large parties, this is exactly the kind of beach you’d want for your giant family reunion. (4400 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E., Bellevue; ci.bellevue.wa.us/bellevue_parks.htm
)

Idylwood Beach Park: Whether you want to launch small boats, play on playgrounds, explore nature or just swim, Idylwood really has it all. While it’s not as big as Marymoor Park, it still has wide, open spaces to throw the Frisbee around or play catch without worrying about being accosted by geese (or their remnants). (3650 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; ci.redmond.wa.us/ParksRecreation/Parks/
)