Posts Tagged ‘the 30 parks of summer’

being actively northwest. a {30 parks of summer} partnership.




I hope those two cuties on the swings look familiar!

I’ve teamed up with the area’s newest online magazine, Actively Northwest, to spread the word about all of our favorite Seattle parks through The 30 Parks of Summer.

Their team took photos of the kids a few weeks ago at one of our fave neighborhood parks, Ella Bailey, and to say that Janie, Meg and Ev gave them a run for their money would be an understatement. I’ve never seen them run so fast or scooter so furiously… all with the photographer keeping up at every step. Seriously impressive. I asked if he babysits.

Head over the Actively Northwest for their introduction to the series (with more to come!). I’ll be the first to admit that I was skeptical, considering Actively Northwest is under the umbrella of a health insurance company, but they have won me over with content that is relevant, interesting and well-curated. Check them out on Facebook too for easy-clicking!

Now… we’re off to check some more Seattle parks off of our to-do list before we leave Seattle next week! Get out and do the same!

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #3} golden gardens.



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Neighborhood: Ballard

Finding it: 8498 Seaview Place NW, Seattle, WA 98107 // If you know how to get to Market Street in Ballard, you can easily find Golden Gardens. Basically, keep going west. Follow Market all the way past the Locks, Ray’s and the marina and you’ll essentially dead end yourself into the park. There are signs along the way, in case you need some hand holding.

Parking Situation: Let’s have an honest moment here. Parking at Golden Gardens is horrible. Really, really awfully horrible. There are physically dozens of spots, but it just isn’t enough. Here’s the good news — with so many people at Golden Gardens at any time of day, there is high turnaround. Slow down and look for people who are headed to their cars from the beach… then follow them. Turn on your blinker and hold your ground. It might take them 15-minutes to get all of the sand off their feet and their gear in the car, but it’s worth it for that spot. If you have more than on adult in the car, unload the kiddos with one of the grownups, and some of the gear, in the little pull-off section before the playground, while the other grownup goes parking spot hunting.

What the kids loved: The playground is super cool and shouldn’t be passed up — we recommend hitting the playground right when you get there and again on the way back to the car (it will help get some of the sand off of their little bodies!). Our kids loved just being on the beach — we were close enough to the water that they could go explore on their own and of course, being able to have a bonfire, right there in the sand, was such a hit. 

What I loved: For me, it was just such a moment. Despite the fact that Golden Gardens is packed to the gills with people most of the time, there’s something undeniable about it. People were friendly, kids were enjoying themselves and the sunset in the background was beyond gorgeous. Sure, you have to overlook some of Golden Garden’s less than desirable qualities to truly enjoy yourself, but it’s worth it. I’m pretty sure the last time I’d been to Golden Gardens was in college and I think that I enjoyed it even more last weekend, even despite the fact that I had three disgustingly dirty children to wash when we got home.

Bring it: Planning on doing an entire beach day? Here’s what you’ll need at Golden Gardens: Food, drinks (um, no alcohol allowed, ahem, wink, wink, WINK.), lots of extra water, at least one blanket to sit on (two is better), stuff to dig in the sand, a paper bag for garbage, BABY WIPES for cleaning gross hands, firewood (one of those bundles from the grocery store is the perfect amount), something to light the fire with, and more food. Wear: Clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty/wet, flipflops that everyone can easily shake the sand out of, sunglasses for that pretty sunset, SUNSCREEN.

Leave it: Don’t bother with a stroller, unless you have a little one who might take a snooze in it as the day goes by. Otherwise, it’s just a hassle to push in the sand when your arms are already loaded with gear. It’s likely that you’re going to have to park pretty far away from where you set up camp, so if you can’t carry it all in one trip, don’t bother bringing it. And, don’t count on your kids to help — they’re going to be beat by the time you leave.

The verdict: Spending the day at Golden Gardens is like a right of passage for Seattle families in the summer. It must be done. Sure, it takes some prep, some planning and leaving your OCD tendencies at the door, but it’s so completely worth it. A couple of notes… Your kids are going to be really really filthy when you leave the beach and so are you. The firewood ashes have mixed with the sand for so long at Golden Gardens, that it’s practically black (not in that amazing, black sand beach in Hawaii way) and your skin is going to covered the instant you set foot on the beach. Let your kids know that baths are mandatory when you get home… hose showers in the backyard would really be best.

Second, it’s so crowded at Golden Gardens that keeping an eye on your little ones as the sun goes down can get tricky. Give them boundaries. When we were there, a mom had lost her three-year old and it was very scary,to say the least, considering the parking lot is so close, as is the water. My hero of a neighbor, Sara, found him, after scouring the beach for what seemed like the longest time. Also, can we chat about how we should help others look when they’ve lost their child? Just do it, please.

When was the last time you went to Golden Gardens with your kids? 

Find more on The 30 Parks of Summer on the Being5 homepage by clicking on the 30 Parks logo.
Park #1. Park #2.

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #2} magnolia park.




Neighborhood: Magnolia

Finding it: 1461 Magnolia Boulevard West, Seattle, WA 98199 // Take the Magnolia Bridge into Magnolia, then follow the road past the first curve to the right. You’ll see the park first, parking lot next.

Parking Situation: Another park with a great parking lot! It’s a city mom’s dream come true! The parking lot entrance on your left, near the intersection of Magnolia Boulevard West and West Howe Street. There are typically plenty of spots open, although they do hold events here on the weekends, causing the long, skinny lot to fill up. Don’t be afraid to park opposite of the nose-in spots, parallel parking style… just don’t block access to the mailbox!

Park stats: This is not a park with a lot of bells and whistles… and we like it that way. Magnolia Park is meant for chilling out. There’s a huge picnic area with a covered place to entertain, if you’re looking for a birthday party locale. Otherwise, the star attractions at Magnolia Park are the huge madrona trees that offer plenty of shade on hot days, the old school swings, the lush grass that was made for laying in and the perfect summer breeze.

What the kids loved: Even though there were only two of them and they were likely installed in 1983, the kids loved the swings and even climbing on the legs of the swing set itself and using the border as a balance beam. There was a ton of space for them to run around and play whatever crazy imaginary game they had come up with that afternoon (I think there were ninjas involved?) and since there were only two other people in the entire park, they practically had the place to themselves!

What I loved: This is truly one of my favorite little hidden gems in the entire city and I love popping down in the late afternoon when it’s too hot to be in the house, but not quite time for dinner yet. The park is far off of the street, so I don’t feel like I need to have my eagle mama eyes on the kids at every moment and I am always so amused with what their imagination comes up with when there is just grass, a couple of swings and the smell of the ocean to fuel it.

Bring it: There’s a ton of room at Magnolia Park for throwing the Frisbee around and even a cool, long, paved hill to ride scooters down, if you’re feeling like you need a bit more to do while you’re here. Otherwise, bring a big, soft blanket to lay on, books to read (we stopped by the library first, for this trip!) and some snacks to keep you fueled. Even on warm days, it can be pretty breezy at Magnolia Park, so it wouldn’t hurt to throw an extra layer in the car for everyone.

Leave it: With so much space at Magnolia Park, you could literally bring your entire house, kitchen sink included, and still have plenty of room to roam. There isn’t much by way of facilities nearby, so if you feel like you’ll need it, bring it.

The verdict: While this certainly isn’t the park that you’re going to pack it up and spend hours exploring, it’s the perfect in-between park for when you need to get the kids out of the house pre-nap time or bed time to burn off some energy, or if you have some time to kill between play dates or appointments. Keep it simple. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Make your kids put their creativity to work to have a good time. Bring your book or that stack of magazines that have been collecting since January or that girlfriend that you can’t quite seem to catch for a phone call and soak up the Seattle sun through those pretty, pretty trees.

Have you ever been to Magnolia Park? 

Find more on The 30 Parks of Summer on the Being5 homepage by clicking on the 30 Parks logo.

being the 30 parks of summer. {park #1} carkeek park.



psst! click on the first image above to get to the gallery!


Neighborhood: North Ballard

Finding it: 950 NW Carkeek Park Road, Seattle, WA 98177 // It is quite the windy road down to Carkeek, so take it slow… Follow the signs down to the park from the main street.

Parking Situation: There is a parking lot next to the playgrounds, which had plenty of spots on the day we visited, but I’m pretty sure that on a sunny weekend or summer afternoon, would get packed quickly. There does seem to be overflow parking closer to the trails, but it would be a trek back to the playground with little ones. Long story short, don’t be afraid to stalk people who are leaving to secure a good spot. All is fair in love and parking, after all.

Park stats: Carkeek Park has a little bit of everything… and plenty of room for it all. There are a few different play areas, including a tall play structure with slides, a separate area with swings, a cool little hideout that reminds me of the play area near the meerkats at the zoo and, of course, the famous salmon slide. Add in a huge grassy playfield, plenty of tables for picnics and the beach and Carkeek was certainly a sweet spot to kick off this project.

What the kids loved: Um, the salmon slide. And, then, the salmon slide. Did I mention the salmon slide? I had heard of this slide before and featured it in various Red Tricycle articles over the past few years, but I had no idea how epic it really was. The kids loved it — it was fast, semi-spooky and perfectly positioned in the shade. The beach was also a favorite for Janie, Meg and Ev, and we could have easily spent all afternoon throwing rocks in the water and building sand castles.

What I loved: Carkeek got major mama points from me for having so much to do, but having everything close enough together that I could keep an eye on all three kids, even if they were all doing something different at the park. I dread playgrounds where the swings are so far away from the play structure, because Meg always wants to swing and it’s impossible to make sure Ev isn’t launching himself off of the slide at the same time. The beach was pure heaven too — I wish that I’d planned better and brought the hard-core beach supplies (like, um, sunscreen, maybe?) so that we could have stayed through the afternoon.

Bring it: If you’re going to head down to the beach and plan on staying for a while, bring all of your beach goodies, including sand toys and a place for you to sit (blanket, beach towel, folding chair, whatever…) while your kiddos explore. This is totally a Crocs moment — the walk down the stairs to the beach is kind of treacherous and that sand is h-o-t. If you’re simply looking for some playground fun, bring the usuals — snacks for them, an iced coffee for you.

Leave it: No need for a stroller at Carkeek, so don’t bother. The stairs to the beach are way to insane to carry or even to bump one down and unless you have an infant along, you won’t need one at the playground area.

The verdict: This is likely our new favorite place to play in Seattle and I’m feeling insanely jealous of Ballard-ites for getting to call it their own! We were there late-morning and I suspect that during the weekend it turns into Golden Gardens-esque craziness, which I’d tend to shy away from. My best advice — don’t plan on making a quick visit to Carkeek Park. You’ll need at least a couple of hours to enjoy it and if you try to zip in and out, you’ll likely be carrying a screaming three-year old to the car at the end of your visit. Your own three-year old, I mean. Not someone else’s. Obviously.

Share what you love about Carkeek Park and your little tips for making the best of it! We hear that there are awesome kid-friendly trails and a little stream as well? Dish it, Ballard friends!

being the 30 parks of summer. {an introduction.}



Summer vacation is less than a week away and in between work and hanging out with big time celebs, I’ve been planning out our summer because, when it comes down to it, popsicles and backyard sprinkler sessions will only get you so far.

I’m excited to introduce The 30 Parks of Summer, a project that will live on Being5.

3 kids. 10 weeks of summer. 30 seattle area parks.

Despite all of the kid-friend exploring that I do for work, there are so so so many parks and playgrounds that we have yet to visit in this city that we love so much… and what better time to get out there and discover them than in Seattle’s most gorgeous months!

What’s in it for you, my dear readers? A real life guide to Seattle’s parks and playgrounds — the things we loved and the things we didn’t (trust me, these kids don’t sugarcoat it!), what to bring and what to leave at home, and of course, the exact location of the closest place to grab a coffee on the way to each park, for obvious reasons.

Keep an eye on the Being5 Facebook page for pictures and updates on where we’re visiting each week, as well as on Instagram and Twitter where I’ll be using #30parksofsummer.

Now, here’s where I need your help… tell me the parks we need to add to our list! Tell me your favorites! Park suggestions outside of the city and on the Eastside welcome too.

Playdate, anyone?

(psst! are you a seattle blogger who’d like to guest post to cover your favorite seattle park? are you a business who would like to sponsor a 30 parks post? let’s chat! email me at


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