Bellevue has reimagined ways to creatively explore the Pacific Northwest waters for aquatic adventure, relaxation, and inspiration. Whether you have a few hours or a few days, the beach parks of Bellevue offer fresh ways to see Lake Washington.

Meydenbauer Bay Park

From the tiered landscape and newly planted vegetation to the regal simplicity of the meandering boardwalk pier that curves out over Lake Washington, beachgoers of all ages will enjoy a day at the recently renovated Meydenbauer Bay Park. The cozy inlet sits at the end of Main Street in Old Bellevue, and the sandy beach of this lakeside gem provides a comfy spot to take in the serene views of the boats bobbing in the marina.

Elevate your lakeside experience with views from a stand-up paddleboard (SUP). The REI Boathouse located adjacent to the park provides SUP classes, tours, and rentals. Choose a single board, or get the family together for a "paddle of wills" on the Hydra 6-Person SUP.

Enatai Beach Park & Mercer Slough Nature Park

A short 10-minute drive south of Meydenbauer Bay will land you at a 2.5-acre park dubbed the gateway to Lake Washington. Partially tucked under the Interstate 90 bridge, Enatai Beach Park provides both a quaint respite for basking in the cool sunshine and a wildlife adventure for those seeking to get their paddle on.

Rentals from another REI Boathouse, here on the water's edge, include single and tandem kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddleboards. Enthusiasts can paddle their way in the 320-acre wetland of the Mercer Slough Nature Park and take in the elegant beauty of water lilies floating peacefully beside banks of purple and yellow wild iris clusters. The slough, pronounced "slew," is a freshwater wetland boasting more than 170 species of resident wildlife, including beavers, otters, herons, and bald eagles.

Lake Sammamish State Park

An easy 15-minute drive east from Newcastle Beach on the 405 freeway will take you to Lake Sammamish State Park and the banks of Tibbets Beach and Sunset Beach - one of the area's largest freshwater beaches. This 531-acre state park boasts nearly 7,000 feet of shoreline and nin watercraft launch area. Kayaks, canoes, and SUPs can be rented at Tibbets Beach through Issaquah Paddle Sports, which also hosts five-day kayak and SUP kids' camps during the summer for ages 7-18.

The park is equipped with an automated pay station for day-pass purchases, which are required at Lake Sammamish. The park plays host to numerous events, including the annual Parkadilly Kids' Concert & Fair, which features age-appropriate entertainment, scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, wilderness-survival workshops, trampolines, and more.

Newcastle Beach Park

Driving south from Mercer Slough for just 10 minutes will deliver you to Newcastle Beach Park, Bellevue's largest beach park. The sprawling lawn, colorful playground, and plethora of picnic tables make this a popular place for family gatherings. The 300-foot floating dock demarks the large, protected swimming area and provides a great launch spot for SUPs, canoes, or kayaks. Rentals are not available here, so bring your own to explore the Newport Shores, where residents are known to sing carols from their boats during the holiday season. Or paddle north toward Mercer Slough, a mere nautical mile away.