Here’s a list of parks throughout the Puget Sound region that feature easy nature walks that are great places to take your kids. These park trails make for pleasant day trips, weekend outings, or as part of a longer summer vacation.
These kid-friendly trails are an especially nice destinations for families or anyone looking for a pleasant outing that isn’t too strenuous or time-consuming.
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We checked parking availability at these parks in early June. Many parking lots at larger parks remain closed. Street parking may be available.
Be sure to check the park links for up-to-date information on parking availability as well as other park features such as strollers, dogs, and restrooms.
Our list of parks is arranged by the name of the city or location. Scroll through the list, or jump to any location by clicking on a link in the following list:
- Anacortes Community Forest Lands
- Anacortes: Washington Park aka Fidalgo Head
- Arlington: River Meadows Park
- Bellevue: Weona Park
- Bremerton: Gold Mountain
- Camano Island: Cama Beach State Park
- Des Moines Creek Trail
- Snoqualmie Valley Trail (via Duval, Carnation, or North Bend)
- Edmonds – Lynnwood Meadowdale County Park (Lunds Gulch)
- Everett: Mcollum Pioneer Park
- Federal Way: BPA Trail
- Gig Harbor: 360 Trail
- Kenmore: Wallace Swamp Creek Park
- Kent-Covington: Soos Creek Trail
- Kirkland-Juanita: Big Finn Hill Park
- Kirkland: O O Denny Park
- Mount Vernon: Port of Skagit Trails
- Mukilteo: Japanese Gulch
- Preston-Snoqualmie Trail
- Seattle: Alki Trail
- Seattle: Chief Sealth Trail
- Seattle: Discovery Park
- Seattle: Lincoln Park
- Seattle: Washington Park Arboretum
- Sedro-Woolley/Concrete: Cascade Trail
- Silverdale: Newberry Hill Heritage Park
- Sultan: Osprey Park
- Whidbey Island: Fort Ebey State Park
- Whidbey Island: Kettles Trail System
- Woodinville: Paradise Valley Conservation Area
Anacortes Community Forest Lands (ACFL)
Covering almost 3,0 00 acres the ACFL encompass a mosaic of forests, wetlands, lakes, and meadows. Parking is available. As of June 2020, some of the parking lots in the area are open and others remain closed. Make sure to follow local laws.
Trails in the ACFL range from easy to difficult, so make sure to do a bit of research before you head out with your kiddos!
One suggested hike is Little Cranberry Lake. The walk is a gentle and easy walk that folks usually take at a leisurely pace. The full Cranberry Lake loop is 2.5 miles. There are multiple spots to stop and enjoy the water or sit down to have a picnic.
Here are a few additional suggested trails in this area:
More info: Anacortes Community Forest Lands
Anacortes: Washington Park aka Fidalgo Head
There are a plethora of options for walking trails in Anacortes Washington Park. Parking is available in different areas.
“The loop” is a 2.2 mile loop through the park that is especially popular for kids. You can drive part of it and walk part of it, especially if the kids aren’t up for a full two-mile walk yet. There are plenty of picnic areas and smaller trails jutting off from the main trail to explore.
Kids will enjoy seeing the water, the ferry, rain forest, beaches, forest areas, and wildlife. This is an excellent spot for seeing birds like herons and sometimes eagles. Orcas are occasionally reported in the area and deer are often spotted as well.
Arlington: River Meadows Park
Situated on a former homestead, this 150-acre River Meadows Park has so much for kids to enjoy! The parking lot appears to be open as of June 2020.
Stroll through the beautiful orchards, look for signs of the Indigenous heritage of the land, and take a peek at the yurts on site.
A loop trail of about two miles goes around the perimeter of the park, offering river access and plenty of spots for kids to stretch out and enjoy. The river trail has plenty of smaller trails jutting off from it where kids can skip rocks, wade in the river, or have a snack.
Bellevue: Weona Park
One of Bellevue’s oldest forests is found within Weona Park. As of June 2020, the parking lot appears to be open.
Locals often hide painted rocks around the park and it’s a great area for geocaching…both good options to help keep kids from getting cranky while on a walk!
As an old-growth forest, children will love seeing the massive trees along this trail. They’ll also enjoy the bridges and the occasional peeks at Lake Sammamish through the forest.
Note that parts of the trail become steep, so young children might need to be carried for a while. Also, the trail gets quite muddy in the rain, which may make it difficult even for older kids.
Bremerton: Gold Mountain
On a clear day, your family will enjoy some of the best views in the Pacific Northwest from Gold Mountain Park. The parking lot is open and hikers suggest making sure you bring a map of the area.
Gold Mountain is best for older kids or more experienced hikers. There are multiple trails available to take. Most of the trails pass in and out of logging roads.
Kids will be delighted with views of the Olympics, Mt. Rainer, Bremerton, the Hood Canal, and even Seattle. There are plenty of wildflowers to enjoy and spots to rest if needed.
More info: WTA Seabeck Gold Mountain hiking guide
Camano Island: Cama Beach Historical State Park
Just a short drive out of the city leads you to this beautiful Puget Sound island park. Technically, it’s on an inland water known as Saratoga Passage.
This is a prime destination for enjoying the beach and the forest. Parking is available within the park; a Discover Pass is required. As of June 2020, the Shellfish Beaches & The Center for Wooden Boats remain closed.
There are over 15 miles of trails available and most of the trails go along easy terrain. Kids will also enjoy the variety of wildlife seen within the park and may even catch a glimpse of a frog on a lillypad if you go during the right time of year!
This is also a popular destination for geocaching. There are plenty of caches to be found if you want a fun activity the whole family can enjoy.
Des Moines Creek Trail
The Des Moines Creek Trail is a beautiful paved trail along the picturesque Des Moines Creek. As of June 2020, it is unclear if main parking lots are open or not. The trail can be accessed through several different access points through the main entrances or in the neighborhoods along the way. Parking is available within the neighborhoods, but please be courteous and obey local laws.
Starting near Seattle-Tacoma airport, kids will get a kick out of seeing planes taking off and landing while out on your stroll! Also along the path are blackberry bushes for kids to enjoy a little mid-walk snack during mid-summer when the berries are ripe.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail
Accessed from the cities of Duval, Carnation, and North Bend.
Snoqualmie Valley Trail trail is 18.4 miles long. There are parking spots and access in various places along the trail. As of June 2020 some of the parking lots are open and others are not.
The entire trail is nice and easy for all ages. Along the main trail are smaller trails that jut off into the forest or along the river for more exploration.
You will also have the chance to walk past several working farms! Farmers may even be available to chat with folks and sometimes have produce to sell to those who are walking past. So bring cash (small bills) and a reusable grocery bag or backpack if this is something you are inclined to do.
Kids will enjoy seeing lots of birds and the evidence of a former railroad that ran along what is now a walking path.
Edmonds – Lynnwood: Meadowdale County Park (Lunds Gulch)
This is a beautiful walk through the forest that lands you on a Puget Sound beach. Parking can be crowded but some street parking is available. Get there early for your best options. Please pay attention to local parking signs if you try for street parking.
Kids will love going under the railroad track to get to a nice open beach on the other side. There’s also an open field area with a covered picnic table and sinks available before you get to the beach.
You can relax in the shade, have a bite to eat, or burn off some steam. The hill is a bit steep coming back up and smaller children might need to be carried; it is not a stroller friendly path!
Everett: Mcollum Pioneer Park
McCollum Park in the city of Everett’s backyard is a convenient retreat away from city bustle. The peaceful and beautiful park sits in the midst of a forest. Parking is available within the park, as well as nearby in the neighborhood.
There’s shorter trails around the sports fields or over small bridges and along a creek, plus a longer loop trail through the forest. It’s the perfect spot for the family to get their “forest bathing” fix. The entire path is stroller-friendly as well (though there are a few steeper sections). It tends to be a path less-traveled making it a a nice private getaway as well.
Kids will enjoy exploring the side trails that branch off from the main trail. There are also several groves of trees to serve as a forest playground and a few spots near the creek to dip toes into the water.
Federal Way: BPA Trail
The BPA trail is a 3.83 mile paved path along the Bonneville Power Administration overhead electric utility corridor. It connects several parks in Federal Way: Celebration Park, Madrona Park, and Panther Lake Park. There are multiple spots to access the trail. Parking is available at the parks as well as within the neighborhood.
Kids will enjoy all of the activity on the path and watching bikers speed by. There are a few smaller dirt and gravel trails that jut off from the main trail. This is an easy walk for folks in the Federal Way area who want some movement in nature without going out of town.
Gig Harbor: 360 Trail
360 Trail is named for the 360 acres that make up the path. As of May 2020 visitors to the trail should park at Gateway park, unless they are accessing the trail from the neighborhood.
There are miles and miles of trails here for walks. A handful of trails allow mountain bikers.
The mountain bike trails are well labeled for mountain bike use only. From the nearby walking trails, kids will love watching the mountain bikers zoom by!
The main trail is an easy one-mile hike through the forest. It’s a beautiful spot with wildlife such as deer and many birds often spotted.
More info: https://www.keypenparks.com/360-trails.html
Kenmore: Wallace Swamp Creek Park
This is a nice, easy walk in the city where kids can explore and stretch their legs. Note that this is an extremely popular spot for dog walkers, so if your child is afraid of dogs, this isn’t the best park to be.
There’s a large parking lot available for access to the park as well as some street parking. You can hear the running water from the parking lot and kids will love seeing the creek and swamp.
It’s a smaller park, but there is lots to see. Wander along the boardwalk or venture into the forest. During salmon spawning season you can watch the salmon in the creek.
More info: Wallace Creek Swamp Creek park
Kent-Covington: Soos Creek Trail
On this paved trail your family can explore everything from farm areas to forests to wetlands. Parking is available at several intersections along the trail.
The entire route is almost 6 miles long but there are multiple access points so you can make your trip as long or as short as you’d like. The trail also goes right along wetlands making it a great spot for bird watching, but be aware that sometimes the trail does get covered with water in some places!
It’s a stroller-friendly trail and is popular with parents looking to get out with their children. Children will enjoy seeing horses and mountain bikers as you explore this beautiful area. There’s a slight incline but overall it is a fairly easy path to explore on.
Kirkland-Juanita: Big Finn Hill Park
Most Seattle area folks know St. Edwards Park on the northeast side of Lake Washington–the 300-plus-acre park is the site of a former Catholic seminary.
However, many aren’t aware of Finn Hill Park, also in the same area. Parking is available in two lots. Street parking is also available.
A popular family-friendly park, Finn Hill Park contains almost 10 miles of trails you and the kiddos can explore. The loop around the park passes by wetlands, which often have ducks enjoying the water. There have been owl sightings–so keep a keen eye out an don’t rush too much!
Some families hike into St. Edward’s from Finn Hill, or head over to Bastyr University to explore their herb gardens.
Kirkland: O. O. Denny Park
O. O. Denny Park is a popular getaway to help you forget you’re in an urban area. Parking is available in two parking lots and plenty of street parking.
There are two different hiking loops, each under a mile and both great trails for families with children. Kids–and adults–will be impressed by the number of TALL trees while hiking through the Denny forest, including one of King County’s oldest and largest, a Douglas fir named “Sylvia”. She is over 600 years old and has a diameter of 26 feet!
There’s also a spot along a gently flowing creek where kids can wade. Plus, O. O. Denny edges Lake Washington, so there is also a swim beach and picnic area.
Mount Vernon: Port of Skagit Trails
There are over 10 miles of trails here available to explore and one section that kids especially love. Parking is available in the lot on-site and at the port.
Near the wetlands is a kid-friendly interpretive trail. Kids follow the trail and read a story along the way. It’s a great way to keep kids moving when they might be getting tired and to avoid dragging their feet! Plus, they’ll enjoy seeing wetland creatures and picking fresh blackberries alongside the trail.
The trail is also near the Skagit Regional Airport, so there are opportunities to watch planes flying in and out.
Mukilteo: Japanese Gulch
This beautiful area in Mukilteo started out as part of the lumber industry. Paid parking is available.
Japanese Gulch is nearly 100 acres of protected park land with plenty to explore. There is a trail map available and the trails are well labeled with signage.
While walking through the many trails in this park, kids will enjoy Puget Sound, watching planes take off and land, and seeing nearby train tracks. Be aware some of the trails have steep drop-offs on the sides, so make sure to keep kids close by.
A paved 6.5 mile trail that’s perfect for a family-friendly stroll through the woods and near Snoqualmie River. the drive to the trail is particularly beautiful. Parking is available in lots at the trailhead.
With plenty of benches and spots to pull of the trail for a rest, this is a good spot to let the kids walk and explore. Depending on which route you take, you may get to view Little Si and Snoqualmie falls.
There have been abundant wildlife sightings in this area and it’s a nice, easy place to visit for a quick getaway. This trail is also a popular spot for horseback riding so kiddos may get to see a horse!
Seattle: Alki Trail
The Alki Trail is a popular Seattle running trail along Puget Sound. Parking is available on the street and in multiple parking lots. Joe Block park is a popular free parking option to access this trail from the eastern leg, which is generally less populated than the western stretch along Alki Beach.
Alki Trail is often busy, making it a fun people-watching trail for kids. There separate trails for bikers and walkers to help keep the kiddos from getting “underfoot” of the bikers.
With multiple access points you can “choose your own adventure” on this trail. Check out the lighthouse at Alki point in the west, wander along Puget Sound, enjoy the city views to the east, go off the paved path, and more.
Seattle: Chief Sealth Trail
The four-mile Chief Sealth Trail offers an easy stroll along a greenway corridor through urban neighborhoods. Parking is available in parking lots or street parking along multiple access points. The trail is also within walking distance of Link Light rail.
This paved trail was made with recycled materials. Most of the route is quite wide, with plenty of space for kids to romp, even when the trail is busy. You’ll pass by urban neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and community gardens. At various places along the trail you can also enjoy views of Mount Rainier, the Cascades, the Olympics, and Lake Washington.
You can pick up the northern end from the south end of Jefferson Park, or the southern end from Kubota Park in Rainier Beach. When getting there by Link light rail, use either the Othello or the Rainier Beach station.
Seattle: Discovery Park
Seattle’s largest park at over 500 acres, Discovery Park includes miles of trails to explore. As of June 2020, the parking lots are still closed but street parking is available in the neighborhood.
Kids especially enjoy heading to the lighthouse. Start in the relatively uncrowded southeast corner of the park, head up to the South Meadow for the views, then get down to the beaches and enjoy a close-up view of the West Point Lighthouse. Along the way, there are lots of spots to rest, berries to pick in summer, and incredible views. Another popular walk is the Discovery Park Loop Trail.
Many folks head to this park to walk for a bit and then enjoy the beach. But you can also walk through old-growth forests and wide-open meadows. Bald eagles are frequently spotted as well as many other birds.
Seattle: Lincoln Park
Lincoln Park offers several miles of trails. Most of the trails are paved and stroller-friendly. The trail from the beach is steep and can be strenuous for young tots or a stroller. As of June 2020, the parking lots are closed, but street parking in the neighborhood is available.
Two popular trails are the main loop that goes around the park and the beach trail, both with stunning views of Puget Sound. Kids will enjoy seeing ferries and cargo ships on the Sound, as well as forest and marine wildlife.
Seattle: Washington Park Arboretum
Washington Park Arboretum is one of the largest gardens in the United States. Most of the paths are paved but there are some smaller side trails which are unpaved. All are easy for kids to enjoy. As of June 2020, the parking lots are closed. Street parking is available throughout the neighborhood.
The Arboretum is an excellent spot not only to enjoy a walk but also to see beautiful trees, flowers, seasonal color and interest, and much more. Kids will especially enjoy looking for turtles in the pond, walking up to the gazebo, and counting the different colors of flowers. Be aware that children are not allowed to climb trees, though there are many tempting spots!
Before you go, download a trail map or plan to use the Basic Arboretum Map on your cellphone, both available on their website. You can also pick up a printed map at the Graham Visitors Center.
Sedro-Woolley/Concrete Cascade Trail
A total of 22.5 miles long, this trail offers a wide variety of options for family-friendly walks. Parking lot parking is available as well as neighborhood spots at multiple locations along the trail.
Kids will enjoy knowing they’re walking along a former rail line. Along the trail are benches to pause and enjoy the river as well as spots to pull off and have a quick snack. You can also walk alongside working farms and enjoy seeing the animals grazing in the fields.
Silverdale: Newberry Hill Heritage Park
Over 13 miles of trails are available in Newberry Hill Park. Parking is available on the street. During non-school hours you can also park in the nearby school parking lot. Note that as of June 2020 there are some closures of this trail for maintenance so it may not always be open.
Be aware that some of the trails are heavy with bike traffic. So, you may want to stick to the “foot traffic only” trails when exploring with kids in tow. WTA recommends the Wildlife or Foot Traffic Only trail to see the wetland preserve–a well kept secret that even locals don’t all know about.
Sultan: Osprey Park
A hidden-gem in Sultan, 76-acre Osprey Park is a place you’ll often have to yourself. Most of the trails are stroller friendly. Parking is available in a parking lot and on the street.
There’s an easy kid-friendly trail that goes along the perimeter of the park with plenty of smaller trails and patches of trees to explore along the way. Kids will enjoy planning their trip with the colorful map created by local boy scout troops.
There’s easy access to the river with lots of spots to stop wade. In odd years, salmon can be seen during spawning season in late September.
Whidbey Island: Fort Ebey State Park
There are over 25 miles of trails available to explore in Fort Ebey State Park. Check out possible routes online before you go, some are not kid-friendly. A Discover Pass is available for parking which can be purchased on-site at an automated pay station if needed.
Kids will enjoy incredible views of Puget Sound, or heading to the beach itself if you so choose. It’s also near the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station and flyovers are frequent in this area, delighting kids of all ages!
Whidbey Island: Kettles Trail System
The Kettles Trail System is full of options for kids. A Discover Pass is required to park within the park. Free parking is available along Highway 20.
There are many family-friendly trails along the way offering views of the sound as well as a stroll through the woods.
Kids will get a kick out of the names of trails which include “Humpty Dump” and “Confusion.” The names of the trails often give a bit of a clue as to the trail itself. Kids will enjoy deciding which route to take based on the name.
Woodinville: Paradise Valley Conservation Area
Offering nearly 800 acres of protected land and miles of hiking make this an easy getaway not far from Seattle. Limited parking is available in the parking lot and street parking is available as well. There are multiple access points in neighborhoods with smaller trails taking you into the park from there.
Some trails are for foot traffic only while others also allow bikes and horses. These trails take you through dense forests and you may even forget you’re in a city still!
Kids will enjoy picking berries along the way and seeing birds. Take one of the less-busy trails to find spots to pull off and let the kids run around. There are also plenty of areas available for a picnic.
We are fortunate to have so many destinations throughout the Puget Sound region with easy nature walks suitable for kids of all ages. These family-friendly park trails make for a pleasant outing almost any time of year.
But wait, there’s more!
- 10 best free outdoor activities year-round.
- 16 Puget Sound lighthouses you can visit for free.
- 13 free park entrance days in Washington State.
- 7 affordable winter sports on ice and snow.
- Popular King County parks for day hikes.
- Bird Watching in the Puget Sound region.
- And here’s a list of 101+ always free things to do for fun.
- More free and cheap things to do every day: Greater Seattle on the Cheap event calendar.
- Still more ideas for frugal fun: Greater Seattle on the Cheap home page.
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Upcoming free things to do
Here are the free events on our calendar for the next 30 days. The items listed first each day in GRAY are FEATURED EVENTS. Featured events are often one-time events or those that don’t occur annually, such as festivals.
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