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Cameron Smith / Her Campus
Life > Experiences

5 Neat Nature Spots in Seattle

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SPU chapter.

While some may think that Seattle is nothing but busy streets and skyscrapers, there are actually quite a few spots where anyone can go to enjoy a bit of nature. You just need to know where to look. Here are some of my recommendations!

1. Marsh Island

Not far from the University of Washington campus is Marsh Island. The trail is a part of East Montlake Park which overlooks Union Bay. It begins at the end of a neighborhood, and starts off with a very rickety wooden bridge. A tad sketchy at first, but it is definitely worth it. Marsh Island actually has multiple sketchy wooden bridges, so it kind of resembles an abandoned boating dock.

On one side you can see the Husky stadium from across the water and on the other side you see the highway. There are many little spots that are hidden in a couple corners for photo opportunities with little sitting areas where you can dangle your feet in the water. The further you venture into the island and cross more bridges, you will find that it leads to a large picnic area where people come to relax. 

FYI: it is best to go on a Sunday. People with families tend to go on Sundays, so it is more populated and not as sketchy.

2. Kubota Garden

Officially becoming a park in 1987, Kubota Garden is a 20-acre Japanese garden near Rainier Beach and only a 20 minute drive from downtown. The garden is open everyday, and does not even require a reservation (unless it’s for weddings), or entrance fees!

Overall, the garden has a calm and tranquil vibe to it. The garden consists of colorful plants, cherry blossoms, willow trees, ponds, streams and an iconic moon bridge. The entire place looks like it was designed specifically to bring peace to whoever walked through the gate.

3. Discovery Park

Nestled on the shores of the Puget Sound, Discovery Park has over 11 miles of walking trails that lead to the water and a quaint little lighthouse. The walk there is all downhill,  so wear tennis shoes unless you want a twisted ankle. The scenery along the way is simply breathtaking, as you wander through the middle of a forest.

Once you get to the beach, I recommend finding a log to sit on, and just take it all in. If it’s a good day, there may be a few seal sightings. There are also plenty of seashells that wash up on shore, so keep your eyes peeled.

For locals, this park is really well known, but it is never too crowded so it is a perfect retreat. It’s also  just an easy 16 minutes from Downtown Seattle.

4. Alki Beach

This beach is a tad more touristy, but it doesn’t disappoint. Alki Beach is one of the few sand beaches in the Seattle area that has a perfect view of the cityscape. It is a hotspot for beach lovers, especially in the summertime.

Even though it is a popular beach, Alki Beach is an ideal place to sit down on a bench overlooking the water. If you need a breather or need to clear your head, it is only a short  drive away from the city.

5. Washington Park Arbotoreum Botanic Gardens

Jointly managed by UW and the City of Seattle, these gardens take up 230 acres of land in the Washington Park area. There are seven sections of the park: Pacific Connections Garden, Japanese Garden, Winter Garden, Woodland Garden, Rhododendron Glen, Foster Island and Azalea Way.

The Woodland garden consists of two ponds and many maple trees, perfect to visit anytime of the year. The Winter Garden offers a serene space of first and cedar trees. Since the 1930s, Azalea Way has been the most iconic of all the gardens thanks to its cherry blossoms, magnolias and dogwoods.

Those are my suggestions! Obviously, there is more to the city than meets the eye.

Hey! My name is Perris Larson and I am a sophomore at Seattle Pacific University! I am a journalism major with a minor in history. I journal on a daily basis, most of the time at one of my favorite coffee shops. I love traveling, and going on little adventures in the city with my friends (especially if it in involves grabbing a latte somewhere).