Golden Gardens Park is one of Seattle’s most popular beaches and summertime destinations to enjoy a beautiful Seattle day. This North Seattle park is a part of the Ballard neighborhood that has been around since the early 1900s. Originally created as an “attraction” for Seattle locals; giving them a place for a “Sunday outing” to enjoy the beach for a swim, or barbecue with the family. Golden Gardens to this day is famously known for its breathtaking views, close proximately to the Shilshole Bay Marina, and abundance of fun activities scattered along its beach.
In this complete guide to Golden Gardens, we cover general park information, parking, alternative transportation, beach fire guidelines and everything else in-between. If you have had the opportunity to enjoy Golden Gardens please give a shoutout. Sharing your own personal tips can genuinely enhance the experience of others. Use the area below to share your comments.
Don’t forget to hydrate on hot and sunny days.
Table of Contents
- General Park Information
- Alternative Transportation
- Beach Activities & Play Areas
- Nearby Restaurants, Cafes & Shops
- Off-leash Area (For Dogs)
- Beach Fire Guidelines & Rules
- Additional Information & Reservations
General Park Information
Golden Gardens Park
8498 Seaview Pl NW, Seattle, WA 98117
Golden Gardens Parking
Let’s just say, the parking situation at Golden Gardens can get pretty hectic during the summer months but if you don’t mind a little walk, there’s plenty of places to park close by. Here are some quick bullet points on where to park…
- It’s worth noting, parking directly at the beach is most popular and often times requires an early arrival time to secure a spot.
- There are two additional parking lots east of the park on Seaview PL NW but they will require a little walking down the hill to get to the park. If you choose to park at either of those locations, it’d be wise to drop off everything at the entrance of the park, then backtrack to park the car.
- There’s additional street parking just south of Golden Gardens on Seaview Ave NW but that also fills up quickly.
View the map below for a complete view of parking.
If you’re packing light and live or are staying in the area, I highly recommend using alternative methods of transportation to get to Golden Gardens Park. Especially if you’re packing light. Route 45 gets you to Loyal Way NW and NW 85th St. From there you will take the trail down to Golden Gardens, which is pretty steep and includes a lot of stairs. This route is great if you don’t mind a little fitness and a beautiful walk through the woods. It’s quite refreshing!
Another great way to get to the beach is by electric bike rentals, which can be found all over the city! Right now the most popular options are Jump (by Uber) and Lime Bike.
$1 to unlock, $.15 per minute to ride
Use the code RCMBAOP (click the invite code to download and signup) with signup you will get one free unlock.
Jump by Uber
$1 to unlock, $.25 per minute to ride
Use the code joshuas26200ue (click the invite code to download and signup) with signup you will get $2 off each of your first 3 rides.
For those who are interested in using inner-city car rental services like Car2Go or Lime Pod, it’s worth noting that they do not allow cars to be left in the zone of Golden Gardens and if you choose to, you can be subject to an additional pickup fee.
Golden Gardens Beach Activities & Play Areas
There are plenty of activities and play areas waiting for you and your friends and family at Golden Gardens. The park includes a basketball court, gigantic playground for kids, beach volleyball, picnic areas and nearby kayak and paddle board tours!
There’s some important information to know about beach volleyball at Golden Gardens. Individual courts have to be reserved by calling the volleyball scheduling office at (206) 684-4062 in advanced. The fee per court is $8/hr. Players are responsible for bringing their own net and volleyballs. Volleyball is very popular during the summer months, it is highly recommended that you schedule in advance.
One of the 5 volleyball courts is designated for free drop-in play on a first come, first served basis. The drop-in court is south of the bathhouse, near the picnic area.
Kayak & Paddle Board Tours
Paddle boards and kayaks are available to rent with Ballard Kayak, which is located just south of Golden Gardens. Here’s a brief breakdown in cost for rentals;
- Single kayak rental – $20/hour or $150/day
- Double kayak rental – $30/hour or $220/day
- Stand up paddle board rental – $20/hour or $150/day
Here’s a brief breakdown in cost for tours;
- Ballard Locks Tour – $65, length 3.5 hours
- 2-hour Sound Tour – $45, length 2 hours
- Discovery Point Kayak Tour – $70, 3.5 Hours (lunch included)
- Sunset on the Sound – $35, 1.5 Hours
- 90-Minute Beginner Paddleboard Tour – $40, 1.5 hours
Click here to learn more about Ballard Kayak and the services they offer.
Picnic Site Reservations
All picnic tables and shelters at Golden Gardens can be reserved in advance for full or half days. The pricing and schedule are listed below. Click here for more detailed information regarding picnic reservations at Golden Gardens. There may be additional fees depending on what you’re interested in reserving.
Half or Full Day Options
- AM Half Day 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. *
- PM Half Day 3:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. *
- Whole Day 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Picnic Tables & Shelter Pricing
- Shelter Half Day – $70
- Shelter Full Day – $120
- Picnic Table Half Day – $15
- Picnic Table Full Day – $25
I’m not necessarily sure this small forest has a name but I consider it the “Hammock Forest”. It’s a great place to setup a hammock, slack-line and catch some cool shade. The sun breaks through the trees just enough to keep you warm while a nice cool breeze sweeps through. It’s secluded from more lively parts on the beach and is also near the restroom (which is super convenient)!
Nearby Restaurants, Cafes & Shops
There aren’t many options for food or restaurants at Golden Gardens, but there are quite a few gems within walking distance that’ll satisfy your hunger.
Miri’s Snack Shack
Miri’s Snack Shack is the only place to grab a quick bite and beverage at Golden Gardens. Conveniently located at the south-end of the bathhouse, Miri’s offers a delicious menu of tasty treats, outdoor and indoor seating (just in case you need to escape the sun and of course, their famously known mini dutch pancakes. They also provide catering for parties at the bathhouse for special events and parties.
Little Coney (American Restaurant)
Little Coney is a small restaurant located at the south end of Golden Gardens near the boat dock. They offer seafood classics like fish n’ chips, clam strips ‘n chips and comfort food such as burgers and chicken strips. Espresso, ice cream and salads are also available. There is limited indoor and outdoor seating, with a great view of the waterfront.
Price: $25-30 (approximately) for two people.
Caffe Fiore is a great place to get a delicious cup of coffee or tasty treat. This delightful caffe serves organic coffee and is one of the most popular coffee shops around. It’s easily accessible being at the top of the hill off of 32nd Ave NW and NW 85th St.
Price: $10-15 (approximately) for two people.
Ray’s Boathouse is an iconic classic but it comes at a price. Enjoy a fine dining experience on the water right down the street from Golden Gardens. You’ll find fresh, locally sourced seafood, a large selection of wine and other delicious meal options. Ray’s is an exceptional choice after a fun and long day at the beach.
Price: $75-100 (approximately) for two people.
Un Bien is a very highly rated Caribbean sandwich shop right down the street from Golden Gardens. The sandwiches are fairly priced and likely some of the best you will ever have. You can’t take my word for it though, you’ll have to experience this gem for yourself. My personal recommendation is the fire roasted corn and sautéed prawns sandwich (f*cking amazing).
Price: $25-30 (approximately) for two people.
You’re probably asking yourself why this 7-Eleven is listed? it is one of the closest places to buy a 6-pack of cold ones and grab some snacks. It is a short 3-4 minute car drive or a 10 minute bike ride from the park.
Golden Gardens Park Off-Leash Area
There’s a off-leash park located up the hill on Golden Gardens Drive NW. This is a popular destination for pet owners and dogs. You will find a fenced in acre of play area that your dog will truly enjoy. There are picnic tables, nearby parking and restrooms in this area of the park. If you don’t feel like driving, there’s a great trail you can take to get to the park which is located off of 32nd Ave Northwest (beware, there are many stairs if you take the trail).
It’s important to note that dogs are not allowed on beaches, or children’s play areas in Seattle parks, per the Seattle Municipal Code.
Beach Fire Guidelines & Rules
There are beach fires allowed at Golden Gardens. The city asks that you use the designated fire pits only, which are available at first come, first served-basis.
Fire pits at Golden Gardens Park are unlocked at 4 p.m. daily. The city asks that all fires be extinguished by water around 10:30 pm to ensure all fires are put out by park closure which is 11:30 pm. Click here to read the full beach fire policy.
Learn about upcoming volunteering opportunities as well as hiking/trails in the area. Below you will find detailed information for each option.
Golden Gardens Reservations
Some areas and activities at Golden Gardens require reservations including picnic areas, the bathhouse and volleyball courts. Check below for more detailed reservation information for each option.
What People Have To Say About Golden Gardens
View this post on Instagram
Always find the time to play. Even if it’s at 9pm. 😊 . . 📷 iPhone . . . . . . . . . . . . . #findbeautyandmagic #neverstopplaying #lifeisshort #saltwatertherapy #ballard #ohsoballard #sup #tahoesup #seattlesummer #pugetsound #pugetsoundsunset #goldengardens #dirtbagdarling #adventurevan #seeyououtthere #wildernessculture #optoutside #lifeofadventure #alifealive #keepitwild #roamtheplanet #forgeyourownpath #exploretocreate #awakethesoul #herwanderfullife #radgirlscollective #seattle #rei1440project #neverstopexploring #sweatydirtyhappy
Affiliate Ad Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links from partners we work with. At no additional cost to you, if a purchase is made through one of our affiliate links we make a small commission. Commissions received go to supporting our organization and projects around the world. Click here to learn more about our affiliate and ad disclosure.