Amenities

Art in the Park Restrooms Drinking fountains Fire Pits Grills Hand Carry Boat Launches Views

About

Picture a perfect summer day, and chances are your thoughts will take you to Alki Beach Park, a long beach strip that runs from Alki Point to Duwamish Head on Elliott Bay. It's a great spot for a 2.5 mile walk any time of year, and in the summer draws joggers, rollerbladers, volleyball players, beachcombers, sunbathers, bicyclists and strollers out to enjoy the sun. The water temperature ranges from 46 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit depending on season.

The widened path accommodates a lot of folks, and there's plenty of parking along Alki Ave. SW. There are picnic tables, a bathhouse housing an art studio, and a restroom at the south (Alki Point) end of the beach, and there you'll find the monument to the arrival of the first white settlers on November 13, 1851. 
The north end of the beach is protected by a bulkhead, and flanked by cottages. The whole beach offers spectacular views of Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountains, and the flotilla of ferries, sailboats, steamships and other craft that ply Puget Sound waters.

At a small seawall surrounded square that used to be the site of Luna Park, an amusement park, be sure to stop and see the old 2.5-ton anchor dredged up by the Nor'West Divers Club and secured at the site.

Hand carry boat access is on the east beach shoreline between 53rd Ave. SW and 55th Ave. SW and on the west beach shoreline at the western property line and extending northwest for 200'.

History

Alki Beach is the site of the landing of the first white settlers in Seattle on a cold, stormy day in November of 1851. Chief Seattle and his tribe greeted them and helped them build their cabin to stave off the cold, wet winter.

The beach enjoys minus tides that reveal a wide expanse of sandy beach. Partly protected by a seawall, Alki Beach is a summer park destination. The park begins at Alki Point and extends 2.5 miles to Duwamish Head, the mouth of the Duwamish River. ("Duwamish" comes from a Chinook word "duwampsh," meaning "many-colored river," and was one of the first names proposed for the city that is now Seattle.)

By 1902 the beach was so popular that it became the destination of the new electric street railway line, "all the way from Seattle."

To add attraction to the beach, Chas. Looff built an elaborate amusement park on pilings at Duwamish Head (you can still see the pilings at low tide!), and called it Luna Park after its Coney Island, NY namesake. The park, completed in 1907, included the "Powers Natatorium and Bathhouse" with several heated saltwater pools, a huge German carousel, a Ferris wheel, a roller coaster, a restaurant, and a boat chute into a "tub" of water.

In 1910 this section of beach became the first part of the park, and was also the first municipal saltwater beach on the west coast. The Alki Bathhouse, built in 1911, was the first of its kind.

In 1908 L. G. Mecklem flew Seattle's first flight: an air balloon ride from Luna Park to the Meadows Race Track in Georgetown. A fire razed Luna Park in 1931. In 1945 the City acquired the site, and in 1954 filled it in.

The Statue of Liberty, a small replica of the original "Liberty Enlightening the World" in New York City, was a gift from Reginald H. Parsons and the Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America in 1952. The statue has become such a symbol of liberty and courage that it became a place to mourn, to reflect, and to leave mementos after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Since 1973, a marker has commemorated the 45 lives lost when in 1906 the steamer Dix collided with the steamer Jeanie off Duwamish Head, a somber reminder of the power of the sea.

Beach Fire Rules

Enjoy a campfire on the beach at Alki Beach Park or Golden Gardens!

In Seattle parks, bonfires are an activity people have enjoyed year round for decades, whether it's to watch a sunset in the summer or to stargaze in the winter. Because of air pollution and other issues, we must limit them to two sites, Golden Gardens Park in Ballard and Alki Park in West Seattle, both of which are long and narrow and can accommodate multiple fire pits (structures that keep fires contained).

Please light a fire ONLY in the designated fire pits, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Burn only clean firewood (NO pallets please!), and douse your fire completely before you leave. Acceptable firewood is natural, bare, clean, dry cord-wood. It's against the law and it's unhealthy to burn yard waste, wood with nails or paint, refined lumber of any kind (whether treated or not), construction debris, or anything else one would burn just to dispose of it. Fire pits at Golden Gardens are unlocked at 4 p.m. each day.

Beach Fire Rules

Beach fire rules are outlined in detail in the Seattle Municipal Code section 18.12.270 and in our our Beach Fires Policy.

  • Light a fire ONLY in one of the installed fire containers
  • Use only clean, dry firewood
  • Please douse your fire with water, not sand
  • Fires are not allowed during air pollution alerts; we will post sign
  • Please don't remove any materials from the park, beach or dunes
  • Please dispose of trash and ashes in the containers provided for each. (SMC 18.12.260)
  • Be considerate of others--please, no loud or amplified music! (SMC 18.12.170)
  • Remember, no alcohol or smoking are allowed, and parks are drug-free zones.

If you see an illegal fire, call 911. For current burn ban and air quality questions, contact Puget Sound Clean Air Agency.