By Beth Whitman, on July 8, 2013

Seattle’s best beach – Alki

I know. You’re thinking Seattle is not known for its beaches so what could Beth possibly be writing about?

Well, we actually have a few beaches that, as it turns out, are incredibly popular in the summertime. You see, Seattle is the kind of place that when the sun’s out, everyone drops what they’re doing and goes outside because they’re not sure when they’re going to see that bright orb again.

When it is out, all the better if you can make it to a beach. And it just so happens I live near what’s arguably the best in Seattle – Alki Beach. OK – it’s a small beach area, but it’s ours. And the fact that it is small makes it manageable. Spend a day here and you should be able to squeeze in pretty much all my favorites…

Kayak at Alki Kayak Tours in West Seattle

Best Fish and Chips

Any long-time Seattleite will tell you that you haven’t tasted fish and chips until you’ve eaten at Spud’s. With three locations in the city, the Alki Beach restaurant is the original, opened in 1934. Their standard fish and chips are made of cod but they’ve also got salmon or the ever-popular halibut. For a little something different, try a side of Breaded Artichoke Hearts, Breaded Zucchini, or mozzarella sticks. Note that there’s an additional charge for ketchup and tarter. (Charging extra is a tradition that dates back to 1935 and I kind of love that.)

Best Ice Cream

There’s not a lot of competition for this category, likely because of our short summer season. But what there is, is good, and also popular (expect a line on sunny days). While you can get a burger and fries at Pepperdock’s Restaurant, many people pop in here solely for the Cascade Glacier Ice Cream. Who could resist flavors that include Denali Caramel Caribou, Maui Waui Sherbert, and Wild Mountain Blackberry?

Best Family Fun

Families can stop by Wheel Fun Rentals and load into a Double Surrey (a four-wheeled, peddle-powered bike with two benches for seats) to slowly make their way on the 2.5-mile stretch of Alki. Though it’s more common to see a family of four to six in one of these, they can carry up to four adults and four kids (though that’s tight). Passengers on the front and back benches are able to peddle while toddlers can sit forward above the front wheels for the best view.

Viewfinder tip: From the West Seattle Bridge, cruise Harbor and Alki Avenues for the views but take Admiral Way to get there more quickly.

Best Coffee

It wouldn’t be Seattle without a few coffee shops and of course there are many places to buy your cuppa (hot or iced) joe on Alki. Though I usually don’t recommend chain shops, my favorite coffee destination in the area is Tully’s. Not only is it conveniently located, but it’s got outdoor seating for sunny days and a fireplace for cool summer nights or winter days.

Best Kayaking

There’s only one spot on Alki for kayak rentals but you might miss it if you didn’t know where it was since it’s located on the Harbor Avenue side of Alki Peninsula. Alki Kayak Tours rents not only kayaks but also stand up paddleboards, skateboards, rollerblades, and even fishing boats.

Where to Stay

West Seattle doesn’t have any hotels to speak of so consider a downtown Seattle hotel instead (it’s just a 12-minute drive).

What’s your favorite beach activity?