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Places to get in touch with nature in or around Seattle

I've been to Seattle bunches of times and have for the most part just stayed within the city proper and mostly around downtown, but I'd like to branch out more and see what makes Seattle "emerald" on my next trip.  Open to surfing (is that a thing in Seattle?), hiking, boating, etc.

3 Answers

answered by
Tony from Seattle
If you want emerald, you won't do any better than  Schmitz Preserve Park in West Seattle (  It's the best example of old growth forest in the city and is a fabulous walk (about 1 mile) down to Alki Beach, which is also pretty neat.  For a totally off the beaten track trailhead, go to 5302 SW Manning St and look for the trailhead next to the house (there are half a dozen large carved wooden bears there).  Just keep heading downhill and you'll walk most of the way to the beach...  Alki can be windswept and quiet (in the winter months) or a slightly-hipster reflection of SoCal with beach volleyball and rollerbladers in the summer (when it's nice).  Note: there is no surfing in/near Seattle.  Pro-tip: eat at Ma Kai (two miles down Alki) - one of two restaurants that are actually on the beach side of the road, they serve up Hawaiian/Korean Fusion food cheap (it's the brick and mortar place for the  Marination Food Truck, which was named best food truck in America at one point).

When you walk back up the hill, take the side streets (look for Spokane on google maps-- don't take Admiral) and you'll get 270 degree views of the Puget Sound and will see the big ferries lumbering back and forth.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Alki Beach (attraction)
  2. Marination Food Truck (restaurant)
  3. Schmitz Preserve Park (attraction)
7 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Debbie from San Francisco

Have you considered visiting the surrounding island and will you have a car?  If not, rent a car and go!  The one that I spent the most time in was Whidbey Island and with drive and boat ride, it's about an hour'ish away from Seattle.  It's so beautiful and green up there.  Totally chill and tranquil with a ton of trees surrounded by a ton of beaches on the borders.  I don't know about surfing up there and didn't notice any surf shops or anything, but it looked surfable (just FYI, I'm no surfer though!). 

Somebody posted earlier about getting to Whidbey Island from Seattle, but I'll repost some of the suggestions here :)

I'll break down the trip there to two steps and this is pretty much the best way to go about this trip:

  1. Drive north to the Mukilteo Ferry Terminal, about 35 minutes from Seattle
  2. Take the ferry over to Clinton in South Whidbey Island, also about another 35 minutes

A few notes about the ferry:

  • You can drive your car onto it
  • You're charged by vehicle and how many people are coming aboard -- it's currently $4.65 a person and $7.85 for a standard car
  • It runs pretty often, about every half an hour, starting at 5 AM'ish to midnight'ish

If you're unsure of where to go on the island, I have a few suggestions:

  • Walk around Langley and check out the little restaurants and stores.  Great town to do brunch in
  • Drive up to Coupeville because the ride is gorgeous, and while there, check out one of my favorite restaurants ever -- Oystercatcher
  • Check out the beautiful views at Deception Pass State Park and look out for banana slugs
  • For beaches, simply drive along the perimeter and you're bound to hit a nice one.  It's an island, after all!

Should you get hungry at the ferry terminals on either side:

  • There's a can't-miss-it diner right at the terminal at Clinton
  • On the Mukilteo side, there's Sakuma Japanese Restaurant.  Don't be put off by the fact that they're in a strip mall (there's not much else in Mukilteo), they serve legit sushi
  • If anything, there's also a little cafe on the actual ferry

Have fun! :)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Oystercatcher (restaurant)
  2. Deception Pass State Park (attraction)
  3. Seattle (city)
  4. Whidbey Island (attraction)
  5. Sakuma Japanese Restaurant (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (2)

answered first by
Tiffany from Corvallis

Seattle's uniqueness comes, in part, from the tiny neighborhoods that make up the city.  Each one has that luscious green in the form of a park somewhere.  My favorites are Greenlake and Ravenna Park.  Greenlake is a cute little area with nice restaurants, bookstores, and coffeeshops encircling a nice lake with a jogging/walking trail and a lake for paddleboats.  Ravenna Park is ravine north of  University of Washington that offers beautiful jogging trails.  There are kitchy restaurants in that area as well.   Gas Works Park is really cool too.  It's a green space on the water, but built around an old industrial site that is just fun to see.

You should also take to the water.  I used to kayak around the Washington Park Arboretum.  It's a beautiful area and also includes a running/walking trails. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Washington Park Arboretum (attraction)
  2. Gas Works Park (attraction)
  3. Ravenna Park (attraction)
  4. Greenlake (attraction)
  5. University of Washington (attraction)
5 thankscomments (1)

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