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Beaches, Seattle, Washington

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Seattle , Washington's insider take:

In the summer, Seattle's meandering shorelines are full of sunbathers. People come in droves to Alki Beach Park to swim in relatively warm, shallow salt water. On evenings and cool days, fire pits draw groups to roast marshmallows while watching ferries roll out from Fauntleroy Terminal. Just above the two-and-a-half-mile beach is a bustling bike path and narrow Alki Avenue, lined with restaurants and cafés that open onto the street (702 Alki Ave. S.W.; 206-684-4075). To the north, Ballard's Golden Gardens is 88 acres of forest, fields, and restored wetlands, lined by a rugged shore with both rocky and sandy beaches. Brisk winds off the sound lure kite-flyers, sailors, and windsurfers (8498 Seaview Pl. N.W.; 206-684-4075). For swimming, most people prefer freshwater Lake Washington, which warms considerably in the summer while Puget Sound stays cold. Many of the nicest beaches are in Bellevue and Mercer Island, across the lake from Seattle. Among them, Newcastle Beach offers a 300-foot dock, grass playfield, and shallow swimming areas that extend far into the lake (4400 Lake Washington Blvd. S.E., Bellevue; 425-452-6881).

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