Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Westside Beach Adventure (North)

My daughter and I created this adventure based on several waterfront parks along the north end of Beach Drive that we’ve visited over the years and some we only recently explored.

It’s an adventure you can do several different ways depending on the age of your kiddo/s and how much time you have. Do just one of the bigger parks for an hour or two, visit a couple of them that are closer together for a half day or tackle all of them for a full day by walking, riding a bike or driving for a bigger outing. For extra adventure, you could even paddleboard or kayak from spot to spot since they are all on an earlier post I did about that.

Length: 1 mile each way. If it’s a really low tide, you can create a two mile loop by walking along the sidewalk one way and then back along the beach, as long as you are below the tideline, on your way back.

Activities: We’ve listed ideas for each stop and created a beach bingo that encompasses something at each one. In addition, all are good for exploring the beach at low tide and you can read an earlier post I did about that for more info. You might also like to note that August 8 from 10AM-12PM and August 9th from 11AM-1PM are the last dates this summer that beach naturalist from the Seattle Aquarium will at Constellation Park/Charles Richey Sr. Viewpoint.

Parking: There is street parking all along Beach Drive near each of the parks. For Constellation/Charles Richey the street is currently closed but as far as I know you can still park there.

Map: Here’s a Google map I created for directions.

1) Constellation Park / Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint
3400 and 3521 Beach Drive SW
Two parks in one. Charles Richey Sr Viewpoint stretches along Beach Drive from 63rd Ave SW to Alki Point and Constellation Park is part of it. This spot has been one of our go-to places for exploring at low tides, especially since it’s one of two beaches in West Seattle that naturalists from the Seattle Aquarium visit during specific dates. In addition, it has some amazing art that includes a mural of the intertidal world with illustrations and text about what you might see on the beach, a sculpture of different sea critters and a series of constellations you can discover while walking along the sidewalk. 
Here's a good overview of the park on the Seattle Parks and Rec website. 

  • How many of the images on the mural can you find along the beach?
  • How many sea stars can you find in the tide pool sculpture?
  • How many planets can you find?
  • Walk “The Avenue of Stars” to find a constellation for the current season or one from each season—Summer, Spring, Fall/Autumn and Winter. The first marker is at 64th and Beach Drive. For older kids, visit after dark on a clear night and try to spot the constellations. 
  • Explore the beach at low tide.

2) Cormorant Cove
3701 Beach Drive SW
This is one of our favorite spots for launching paddleboards but it’s also an amazing little park with tile patio that has information about the park and images of waterfowl you may spot from here.

  • Check out the different tiles and see how many of the waterfowl you can spot.
  • Count the number of cormorants throughout the park, making sure to count the ones in the metal railing.
  • Explore the beach at low tide.

3) Andover Place
4000 Beach Drive SW
A tiny park with a sliver of beach access between two buildings but oodles to explore at low tide.

  • See how many sea critters you can find on the beach.

4) Weather Watch Park
4035 Beach Drive SW
I had heard about this park over the years but never stopped at it until the other week. Wow, what a gem of a little park. There is a weather-like structure with information about the history of the park and an interactive sundial, a bench with an outline of the Olympic Mountains and names of the different peaks and access to the beach down a set of stone steps.

  • On a sunny day, see if you can tell the time on the sundial.
  • On a clear day, use the image on the bench to try to spot the different mountain peaks.
  • Find the pictures and descriptions of different types of clouds and see how many you can spot in the sky.
  • Look up! How many metal birds can you count?
  • Learn about the history of the park.
  • Explore the beach at low tide.

5) Emma Schmitz Memorial Outlook
4503 Beach Drive SW
Another go-to of ours for low tides and paddleboarding but we’ve also spotted whales here when they're close by. You can walk along the top path as well as taking the steps down the beach. Bonus is the park across the street, Me-Kwa-Mooks, which has a few short remote trails that I wrote about last week.

  • Find a kiosk to learn about all the different marine mammals you might see in the water.
  • Explore the beach at low tide.