Pools are closed, but here's where you can still swim all around the Sound

If we lived in Kansas, closed pools would be a big problem. But as you may have noticed, we have a lot of water around here.

July 22, 2020
Mountain lake

Leopold von Shakeyshutter

UPDATE: Parking changes in Kirkland and at Eagle Falls off of Highway 2.

All around the state, swimming pools are closed this summer. That hurts, because let's face it -- we don't get that much summer around here, and when it gets hot and sunny we want to make the most of it.

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I don't even know for sure if little Madison Park Beach in my neighborhood near Lake Washington is technically open or closed. I do see people using it any time it's sunny, but for the most part everybody stays pretty low-key, which makes me think we're really not supposed to be swimming there. 

This page shows you a map of King County beaches and which ones are closed due to high bacteria levels (unrelated to COVID-19 -- just the regular old gross bacteria that accumulates at beaches sometimes.)

Here's the Pierce County information.

And Snohomish County.

Maybe you have a local neighborhood spot where it's possible to stay on the DL and practice social distancing and get your swimming fix.

But the real point of this post is to offer you some ideas about places you can visit that might be a little farther from home, where you can take in some of our state's natural beauty and swim in some cool, clear water, too. Just in case you don't, I found places all over the state that make great destinations for families looking for a little respite from the heat of the city and a chance to splash around in gorgeous settings.

We just had a quick family camping trip to Kachess Lake, just over the mountains off of I-90. It's a beautiful spot, and there's a beach that seemed pretty underused considering how full the campground was. I looked around for a list of some other sweet swimming spots, and although Kachess isn't on this one, the best guide I've seen lately is 14 must-visit swimming spots around Washington from the Seattle P-I.

These suggestions don't necessarily include accommodations, but you can figure that out. These are just great places to swim and frolic in our near the water.

  • For instance, close in to Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue, there's Enatai Beach Park in Bellevue, a city whose beaches are open during the pandemic. The P-I says: Partially hidden under the I-90 bridge, this waterfront park features a spacious patio with scenic views overlooking Lake Washington. Take in the wildlife during a canoe or kayak trip through nearby Mercer Slough. 
  • Farther away, up north, there's Whatcom Falls, on Whatcom Creek in Bellingham. Nothing like a waterfall to make a swimming hole extra fun or in this case, as the P-I says, four waterfalls: The park has four sets of waterfalls and several miles of well-maintained walking trails, alongside a fishing pond for teaching kids 14 and under how to bait their hooks and cast a line. 
  • If you go way south, there's Louis Rasmussen Day Use Park in the Chehalis/Lower Cowlitz area -- technically in Kalama: Hundreds of thousands of people pass Louis Rasmussen Day Use Park every day on I-5, and very few ever stop to enjoy the gem of a waterfront park  . . . kid-friendly with restroom amenities, and most importantly, a sandy beach along the Columbia River for soaking up rays. This place has lots of other amenities, too, like a tennis court, a marina, and a couple of sand volleyball courts.

You'll also find great swimming near Stevens Pass, in the San Juans near Friday Harbor, at the gorgeous Lake Crescent on the Olympic Peninsula . . . it's all on the list

Sure, there's probably someplace near you where you could sneak into the water, but if you're up for a quick road trip and a big adventure, try exploring a more remote corner of our state.

Stay safe, and don't forget the sunscreen! (And a mask, and hand sanitizer.)