Northwest Water Attractions

An extensive network of waterways is part of what makes the Pacific Northwest so beautiful. Here are suggestions on how to enjoy all things water-related this summer:

Carkeek Park: Overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, the views from Carkeek Park are hard to beat. If you missed our naturalist-led low tide beach walk last month, you can catch up with park naturalists who will be on the beach several mornings throughout the month. Check the web site for more information. Piper's Creek, also on the park grounds, hosts spawning salmon each fall. Carkeek Park

Center for Wooden Boats: Located at South Lake Union, the CWB puts on the annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival and Classic Speed Boat Show every Fourth of July weekend (this year from July 1-4). Year-round, visitors can stroll the CWB docks to view over 100 wooden boats and enjoy the Maritime Heritage Museum (free). With a $50 family membership, you can cast off on the weekly (free) Sunday afternoon sail around Lake Union and are able to rent CWB sailboats and rowboats. (206) 382-2628 Center for Wooden Boats

Foster Island/Arboretum Hike: Park in the lot for the Museum of History and Industry and head out the far end of the lot, as if you're going to walk into Lake Washington. What you'll find instead is the trail head for an easy hike across low-lying Foster Island, where you may spot beavers and great blue herons, as well as obligatory ducks and sea gulls. The trail ends up at a grassy park which has great viewing of boats traversing the Montlake Cut. The trail can be muddy (really muddy), so wear appropriate footwear.

Hiram M. Chittenden Locks: Commonly called the Ballard Locks, this National Historic Place has attractions on the water, under the water, and out of the water. The locks themselves are packed with boats traveling to and from Lake Washington/Lake Union and Puget Sound. The fish ladder, on the far side of the locks, assists salmon and steelhead on their way back to Washington rivers and streams to spawn. Onshore, visitors can learn about the locks at the Visitors' Center and enjoy live musical entertainment weekend afternoons at 2:00 all summer long. (206) 783-7059 Hiram M. Chittenden Locks

Northwest Outdoor Center: NWOC offers kayaking experiences for children and adults — whether you're looking for an hour-long paddle around Lake Union, whitewater or sea kayaking classes, or a multi-day whale watching kayak extravaganza. They also have a store that stocks all things kayaking-related. (206) 281-9694

Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center: Appropriately situated on Seattle's waterfront at Pier 66, the Center offers lots of hands-on activities, from learning how to operate a crane to load and unload ships to virtual kayaking through the San Juans. Learn about the fishing industry, the habitat of Puget Sound, how to navigate the waters of Puget Sound, and more. (206) 374-4000 Odyssey Maritime Discovery Center

Outdoor Swimming Pools: Seattle has two outdoor pools. Pop Mounger Pool (2535—32nd Ave. W, in Magnolia) has two pools and a 50-foot corkscrew slide. Colman Pool (8602 Fauntleroy Way SW, in West Seattle) is a salt-water pool on the beach and features a giant tube slide. For more information on these and other Seattle pools, go to City of Seattle Pools

Washington Ferries: Two reasons why you should ride a Washington State Ferry this summer: 1) It's hard to beat the views from a ferry boat, and 2) Ferries are quintessentially Pacific Northwest. Whether you get off and explore on the far side or just enjoy the round-trip ferry experience, riding the ferry is an easy way to bask in the glory of our Washington waterways. Washington Ferries