Are you looking for a gorgeous location to take your family photos? After exploring all over the Greater Seattle Area, I have compiled a list of my best photo locations for you, and details for each so you have plenty of options to choose from when deciding where to do your photo shoot! Enjoy!!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Discovery Park
- Bellevue Botanical Gardens
- Madison Park
- Volunteer Park
- Carkeek Park
- Washington Park Arboretum
- Gold Creek Pond
- Cove Park
- Lowman Beach
- Magnuson Park
- Kubota Garden
- Seattle Chinese Garden
- Juanita Beach Park
- Golden Gardens Park
- Seward Park
- Alki Beach
- Meadowbrook Farm Preserve
- Seacrest Park
- Lincoln Park
- Gas Works Park
- Gene Coulon Beach Park
- Pioneer Square
- Rattlesnake Lake
- Seahurst Park
- University of Washington
Located in Ballard
There is a reason why Discovery Park in Northwest Seattle is one of the most popular photo spots for family photography sessions. Getting to work with such a huge park with plenty of versatility makes it a photographer’s playground! There are gorgeous fields, beaches, woodsy trails, some old white buildings, as well as a beach with the cutest lighthouse. Because of the size of the park, it is quite the trek to get down to the beach on foot. There is a parking lot, but in order to not get towed, you need to get a pass from the visitors center. The only way you can qualify for a pass is if you have young or elderly people in your car, or you have a physical restriction (like pregnancy) that prevents you from being able to walk down there. If you meet the qualifications, a beach parking pass is free and getting down there is easy-peasy!
All parking lots are closed in Discovery Park, but the park itself is open to visitors. Getting down to the beach would be about a 1.75 mile walk downhill, and there are some steep hills to walk back up.
Located in Wilburton Hill Park
12001 Main St, Bellevue, WA 98005
These beautiful botanical gardens are the perfect backdrop for family photos if you love color and gorgeous foliage. It is beautifully well-kept, and is a great family-friendly size. It isn’t so big that you’ll be trekking for miles to get to different spots, but it isn’t too small that it feels crowded with limited backdrops.
The parking lot is open as well as the gardens, but the front office is closed until further notice.
Located in Broadview | Open 6am-10pm
950 NW Carkeek Park Rd., Seattle, WA 98177
No lifeguards are on duty at the beach until further notice.
Carkeek Park is a beautiful park with walking trails and a beautiful sandy waterfront beach. There is a large metal staircase to get down to the beach though, because of the railroad tracks that run through the park, so it isn’t stroller friendly. Otherwise, this location has lots of beautiful options!
Located in Madison Park | Open 4 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
4201 E Madison St., Seattle, WA 98112
Madison Park is right on Lake Washington and has several cute little corners to take photos in. The streets around the park are also very charming, so this would be a great location if you wanted to have both city and nature backdrops.
Located in the University District | Open from dawn-8pm
2300 Arboretum Drive E Seattle, WA 98112
The ultimate park in Seattle is the washington park arboretum. This stunning, ginormous park offers privacy, beautiful walking paths, streams, and it is incredibly maintained. I love taking family photos here because it is simply gorgeous.
The Park and Botanical Gardens are open to the public, however the visitors center and some parking lots are closed. A port-a-potty and limited ADA parking is now available in the Birch Parking Lot (Lot #19 at 1450 Lake Washington Boulevard East).
Located in the Snoqualmie Region | Always Open
Getting There: Drive Interstate 90 east to Exit 54, 2 miles east of the Snoqualmie Pass summit. Exit I-90, turn north, crossing under the freeway. A few hundred feet north of the highway interchange, turn right onto a narrow paved road (FR 4832) and drive east parallel to the freeway for 1 mile. Turn left on Gold Creek Road (142). Watch out for a few potholes on the unimproved forest road. Turn left in 0.3 mile onto the paved road and into the Gold Creek Pond parking lot.
Gold Creek Pond is becoming quite the popular photo spot for families in the Seattle area. And for good reason! It has a beautiful Pacific Northwest-esque look to it without having to drive too far out of Seattle. It is also very easy to access the pond, which makes it ADA accessible and very family-friendly. You do need a Northwest Forest Pass to park there, and there are different pass requirements during the snowy season.
Located in West Seattle | Open dawn – dusk
4807 SW Barton St, Seattle, WA 98136
This tiny park is a hidden gem. While very small, most people don’t know that it is there right next to the Fauntleroy Ferry. I love photographing kids playing in the water and sand, and the dock/ferry in the background gives the photos a very ‘Seattle’ feel to them. If there are more than a couple families there and the tide is high, then it would be too crowded to take photos. However low tide makes this park magical. Parking isn’t easy between 2pm-7pm on weekdays, or before 3pm on weekends. You’ll have to walk a little ways to get to the entrance of the park.
Located in West Seattle
7017 Beach Dr SW
This adorable little park is one of my favorites to take photos at. Most people don’t know about it, so often you can have the park to yourself. It is a rocky beach so the kids can throw rocks in the water, or play around on the ample driftwood.
Located in Capitol Hill
Located close to downtown Seattle, this beautiful park has a few unique features including a view of the Space Needle, as well as a beautiful conservatory. There is lots of shade that provides good photo lighting. Parking is easy and central to the park, so it is a great family-friendly spot to do a photo shoot at.
This park is open to visitors but the inside of the conservatory is closed until further notice
Located in Wedgwood | Open 4am-11:30pm
This giant park offers over 4 miles of walking trails, and gives photographers many options! Because it is right on Lake Washington, the waterfront offers gorgeous views. There are grassy fields and evergreens as well to create an extremely versatile location for family photos!
Facilities are all closed, but the park, parking lots, and boat ramps are all open to the public
Located in Rainier Beach | Open 6am-10pm
These gardens are absolutely stunning. It is a little oasis from the busy metropolitan area, with touches of Japanese Culture. It doesn’t get too busy, and it is large enough to provide several different spots that would be beautiful for family photos. There is street parking outside of the garden that makes it easy to get around with children.
Located at South Seattle College in West Seattle | Open dawn – dusk
6000 16th Ave SW Seattle, WA 98106
This chinese garden is another hidden gem! Every time I visit there isn’t anyone else there except the volunteer maintenance crew. There are beautifully maintained trails with all kinds of different greenery from a small bamboo forest to evergreen trees. There is also a really pretty chinese courtyard with a small fish pond. It is very family friendly, and a fun place. to explore after your family photo shoot! Parking and entrance to the garden is free.
Located in Kirkland | Open dawn-dusk
9703 NE Juanita Drive
Juanita Beach Park is a popular spot for Kirkland residents. It is also a gorgeous place to take family photos on nights that are less busy. The setting of Lake Washington and the distant evergreen trees is absolutely gorgeous. There is even a peek-a-boo view of Downtown Seattle on clear days. I love photographing families here because the water temperature is warmer than the sound water, so it is fun at the end of the photo shoot to let everyone splash around and have fun. My favorite types of photos to capture!
Located in Ballard | Open 4am-11:30pm
Golden Gardens park is a beautiful beach with views of the Olympics. The pier and boat launch right next to it also adds a fun element to family portraits as there are always sailboats out on the water. There is a short trail and sandy beach that make it fun to walk around and find backgrounds for the perfect family portrait.
The parking lot is closed to this park, but ample street parking is available.
Located in Columbia City | Open 6am-10pm
Located right on Lake Washington, this gorgeous and popular park offers miles of walking trails, forest land, fields, and waterfront. It is a stunning and versatile option for a family portrait.
The parking lots are currently closed, which can make it difficult for families to get to many parts of the park that are ideal for family photos.
Located in West Seattle | Open 4am-11:30pm
Alki beach is a popular, fun, and lively part of West Seattle that can also be a great place to take photos at. It is a sandy beach with lots of driftwood and rocks to play around. The distant Space Needle is visible on clear days, as well as the Magnolia neighborhood. There are plenty of restaurants and places to get sweet treats after your photo shoot too, so you can use that as bribery for your kiddos! On busy days, parking is hard to find, and because of the popularity of this beach, it can get crowded very quickly. I have found that mornings are the best time to take photos due to lighting positioning and lack of crowds.
The park is open with masks and social distancing required. Please keep in mind that if a park is already filled to max capacity per social distancing rules, you will go to one of the other many parks close by to enjoy.
Located in North Bend | Open 8am-11pm
1711 Boalch Ave NW, North Bend, WA 98045
The ominous Mount Si in the background, Meadowbrook Farm Preserve is a beautiful place to get your family photos taken. There is a beautiful large field, as well as some tall gorgeous trees, and some nice walking trails. It is free to take photos here, but be aware that sometimes events are held here. The Farm is large enough that you can still access certain areas during event times.
The farm is open to the public, masks and social distancing is required.
Located in West Seattle | Open 4am-11:30pm
1660 Harbor Ave SW
Seacrest Park has a gorgeous view of the Puget Sound and Downtown Seattle. It is, in my opinion, the best view of the Emerald City that you can get. There is some beach area, a dock where the West Seattle Water Taxi docks, and a yummy Hawaiian restaurant called Marination Ma Kai that you can eat at after your photo shoot.
The park is open, but be careful of crowding due to its small size. 6 feet of social distancing is strongly encouraged.
Located in West Seattle | Open 4am-8pm
8011 Fauntleroy Way SW, Seattle, WA 98136
Lincoln Park is a gorgeous place to take your family photos. It is a large park with beautiful woodsy trails, as well as some open field areas. My favorite part about this park is the waterfront trail. It has a beautiful background of classic PNW trees with driftwood and rocks to play around.
The park is open to visitors. Both parking lots are closed, but there is ample street parking close to both parking lots.
Located in Northlake | Open 6:30am-9:30pm
2101 N Northlake Way, Seattle, WA 98103
Gas works park is an iconic park in Seattle at the north tip of Lake Union. It provides a gorgeous view of the Space Needle and South Lake Union. If you get your family photos taken here, you’ll have some unique elements naturally added to your photo including Lake Union, sailboats, downtown, and the Space Needle. Just make sure to take photos when the light is soft (in the morning or evening) or on an overcast day. There is also a very fun and unique playground for children to play at after your photo shoot. The parking lot can fill up fairly quickly on nice sunny days as a lot of people bring their kayaks out onto the lake, but even on the busy days you can find a spot on the side of the road that isn’t too far from the park.
Located in Renton | Open 8am-8pm
1201 Lk Washington Blvd N Renton, WA 98056
Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park is a beautiful, family friendly park in the south end of Lake Washington. I love taking family photos around the pretty docks and along the relaxing walking paths they have across the whole 57 acre park. Access to the park is very easy with plentiful parking. There is also an Ivar’s fish and chips, which sells the yummiest chowder bowls! There are also a lot of geese that congregate around different areas of this park, which is usually fun for kids and can make for some cute photos.
Located in Downtown Seattle | always open
100 Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98104
Pioneer Square is full of history and charming little corners that are perfect for urban-styled photos. There are so many beautiful buildings and storefronts that are extremely photogenic! Parking is fairly easy for the most part, especially now that traffic to downtown seattle has slowed down with so many people working from home.
Located in North Bend | Open dawn to dusk
The lake is located near Interstate 90, exit 32, about 3 miles southeast of North Bend and about 35 miles east of Seattle.
Rattlesnake Lake is a popular place for city-dwellers to escape to because it isn’t too far from the city, and it is very beautiful. There is a lake as well as a trail with a beautiful overlook with views that highlight the pacific northwest. Parking is very easy in their parking lots, and there are a lot of places to explore for the kiddos!
Located in Burien | Open dawn – dusk
1600 SW Seahurst Park Road
Seahurst Park is a beautiful place to explore and take portraits at. It offers an expansive waterfront beach, as well as windy, lush trails. There is a small lower parking lot and a large upper parking lot. On weekends, likely you will have to park at the upper parking lot and walk down the hill (about .25 miles) to get to the beach. Local residents who know about this hidden gem fill up the park quickly on nice days, but I have always been able to find plenty of space to take family portraits here.
Located in the University District | Open dawn – dusk
1410 NE Campus Pkwy, Seattle, WA 98195
This absolutely stunning university is a really fun place to take family photos at. The old buildings, beautiful trees, expansive grassy areas, and in the spring, STUNNING cherry blossoms make it a highly versatile place to take your family photos at. There are several parking lots all over campus, most of which you can park at for free after 5pm.
I hope this guide to the best locations in seattle for family photos was helpful! Whether you are a fellow photographer, or a family looking for places to suggest to your photographer, I hope you enjoy one of these gorgeous, family-friendly locations as much as I have.
If you are in need of a family photographer this year, I would love for you to reach out to me! I take an extremely limited amount of outdoor family photos, as my main focus is newborn, milestone, and maternity photography, so make sure to contact me soon if you are interested! I also do family mini sessions in the fall every year, so feel free to inquire about those details as well.