Edmonds’ many scenic parks and open spaces — 47 at last count — are rife with interesting sights, sounds, and stories.
Nature at play, inspiring creatives to leave lasting impressions through sculptures, totems, and grounded mosaics, reflecting a moment in time and marking history, back when Indigenous Peoples, homesteaders, and loggers arrived with their bounty and their dreams.
"We acknowledge the original inhabitants of this place, the Sdohobsh (Snohomish) people and their successors the Tulalip Tribes, who since time immemorial have hunted, fished, gathered, and taken care of these lands. We respect their sovereignty, their right to self-determination, and we honor their sacred spiritual connection with the land and water.” — Edmonds City Council land acknowledgment
Apple-cheeked children climb monkey bars to the moon, happy-go-lucky dogs and their devoted owners scamper happily about in sand and surf, ferries and orcas floating by…like a Currier & Ives etching in tempered glass.
It’s all quite, quite lovely. Come, stay, bask.
From forested trails and sun-dappled beaches, to inclusive jungle gyms, skateparks, and nook-and-cranny pocket parks where wild, native gardens grow around every neighborhood corner, there’s a perfect, open space for everyone.
Beach parks offer up million-dollar views of Puget Sound, west of walkable downtown Edmonds: Brackett’s Landing North and South and its world-renowned, 27-acre Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Dive Park, past the paved, mile-plus Edmonds Marine Walkway, Haines Wharf Park, Fishing Pier, and 650-slip Edmonds Marina, and on down to Olympic Beach, Marina Beach, Off-Leash Area Edmonds (O.L.A.E.) dog park, and the breathtaking bluffs of Point Edwards.
Here, you’ll find Bubble Man, aka comedian Gary Larson/Elliot Maxx, enchanting children of all ages with his iridescent show…sand castles, driftwood forts, and low tide treasures…the friendly smiling, waving Mermaids of Brackett's Landing, neck-and-shoulder-deep in sea-foam, encountering, forging myths of their own…
…Fishers and crabbers pulling lines and pots full of the day’s fresh catch…bronzed seals and salt-and-pepper orcas ferry-gazing — frozen in time, award-winning Ocean Annie’s youth dive team out studying the underwater world for preservation and posterity…
…And lots more. Oh, so much more.
Closer to shore is a much bigger playground, where all your friends go in their free time. Edmonds City Park, located on 600 3rd Ave. S., features the Hazel Miller Spray Park, open 10 a.m.-8 p.m., from Memorial Day to Labor Day, horseshoe and fire pits, picnic tables, picnic shelters and a gazebo for rent, nook-and-tuck trails, a grand pavilion, summer concerts and family movie nights. Leashed dogs are free to roam the southeast wooded area.
Just as popular, the 5.5-acre Hickman Park, 23700 104th Ave. W., sits on the grounds of the old Woodway Elementary School, and opened not so long ago, in August 2009.
Children are welcome to play a game of tag, hide ‘n seek, and hoops, climb and slide on J.P. Patches playground, maybe get a work-out at one of several exercise stations, practice pitching or shooting goals, or simply explore pathways and trails, one wheelchair-accessible.
Marked by an immense cherry tree spreading its leafy, blossoming wings, and a sprawling, well-kept, emerald-green lawn, Hickman Park is fast becoming a neighborhood favorite, and was the site of this past summer’s performance of Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf,” a part of the City of Edmonds’ 2022 Summer Concert Series. Leashed dogs on pathways okay.
Birders flock to Yost Park, centered around Shell Creek (9535 Bowdoin Way), for the best vantage points. In fact, you might catch master birder Bev Bowe leading a field tour for the Puget Sound Bird Fest; it’s one of her favorite spots.
Gardeners and naturalists come to admire the foliage of red alder and fir, flora, and fauna. Hardcore, recreational hikers and pet owners take full advantage of the intricate, dog-friendly trails. Kids have a blast running around in the playground and cooling off at the Yost swimming pool. Tennis, too.
Mathay-Ballinger Park, 24100 78th Pl. W., may be small, but it’s a great little getaway, with lots of picturesque greenery, shady trees to lay your head down under, a compact playground for the kids, and a basketball half-court, as well as picnic tables to linger awhile. You may even learn more about neighborhood birds from Edmonds’ ranger-naturalists when they host a Discovery Interpretive Table here, like they did Aug. 17, 2022.
A top-rated Edmonds attraction, Pine Ridge Park, 20330 83rd Ave. W., explodes with life. A 24-acre urban forest with windy trails and Goodhope Pond with ducks galore await intrepid, weekend explorers, avid birders, and harried moms and dads toting leashed dogs (on inner trails) and little ones — all seeking nature’s soft, healing touch.
Seaview Park’s playground, 8030 185th St. SW., underwent an important renovation with all children in mind, re-opening in July 2019. It’s Edmonds’ first inclusive playground, but not the last. The plan for the City of Edmonds is to move onto other existing playgrounds, to make them more inclusive, too.
Features include soft-spongy, forgiving rubber flooring instead of wood chips to walk or fall on, smaller structures for little ones, like a fort and a rope gym, stepping stones with toddlers’ feet in mind, and “a swiveling egg and a little tunnel for kids who need a quiet space. The old playground had four swings total; the new one features four regular belt swings — plus a toddler swing, an adaptive swing and a disc swing [‘Seaview Park: Explore Edmonds’ First Inclusive Playground’ by Jiaying Grygiel, Parent Map, Aug. 8, 2019].”
Grygiel took her son to the park a few days after the reopening to detail some of the finer points of the inclusive playground.
“One nice thing I noticed about this playground is that it appears geared toward the 5 and under set. The stepping stones are just a little closer together, the climbing ramp a little less steep. Many new playgrounds seem to cater mostly to bigger kids, incorporating some risk-taking play elements. Smaller-scale structures for younger kids can seem like an afterthought. At Seaview, the main play fort is designed for ages 2–5…”
In historic Edmonds Marsh (180 W. Dayton St.), the Great Blue Heron forages for food in saltwater splendor, a Cooper’s Hawk dive-bombs at a murder of protesting, protective crows, and one special welcoming committee — an Anna’s Hummingbird by the name of Wesley — greets visitors by performing a series of spectacular jay-pops.
Up to 90-200 species of birds call on this 22.5-acre wetland, the last of what remains of a wildlife sanctuary the Coast Salish Native Peoples once called home. Deer, coyote, and river otter also pass through.
Edmonds hosts a bounty of parks, big and small. Somewhere out there, one is calling you.
Check out this map of all them.
Feature photo: ferry and eagle.
Crabbing, Hickman Park, Yost Park Woodpecker, Olympic Beach finds, Edmonds Marsh’s feathered residents, Windsurfing Marina Beach, Bubble Man at Edmonds Fishing Pier, Brackett’s Landing, Pine Ridge Park, O.L.A.E. Dog Park, City Park
Photography by Janine Harles