Golden Gardens Park is located next to Puget Sound in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and to the south lies Shilshole Bay and Marina. The name "Shilshole" derives from the Duwamish Indian word meaning "threading a needle," perhaps referring to the narrow opening through which Salmon Bay, part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal to the east, empties into Shilshole Bay.
The park includes wetlands, beaches, hiking trails, the Golden Gardens Bathhouse for event rental, and picnic and playground areas, with views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Sailing, kayaking and canoeing are popular pasttimes. Many birds migrate and live in the park's wetlands.