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Battle of the Bonfires: Alki Beach v. Golden Gardens

Posted by Johnine Larsen on August 6, 2015
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It’s officially summer in Seattle! August is well under way, and it’s warm enough for your favorite summer activities. Seattle beaches, we’re looking at you. For those of you who see clouds and look at your beach clothes with some serious skepticism, take heart: beach bonfires.


There are only two beaches in Seattle that allow beach bonfires: Alki Beach and Golden Gardens. Both are spectacular, but when that free Friday night rolls around, you want to make sure you pick the best one. As always, we’re here to help. We’re pitting Alki Beach against Golden Gardens in a head-to-head matchup.

The Ground Rules:

Seattle beach fires have quite a bit in common, wherever you go. At both Alki and Golden Gardens:

  • Build fires only in designated fire containers.
  • Use only clean, dry firewood. Bring it with you or buy it from a nearby store. No driftwood!
  • Put out the fire with water, not sand.
  • Be off the beach by 11:30 p.m.
  • Don’t bring any alcohol. (Officially, that is. We’re not endorsing it, but if you bring a small amount in a nondescript container, there’s a good chance no one will say anything).

The Strategy:

Wherever you decide to enjoy your beach fire, you’ll want to do it right. A few details can make the difference between a disappointing trip and the highlight of the summer. These tips apply equally well to both Alki and Golden Gardens.


  • Show up early. The beaches don’t take reservations, so if you want an evening bonfire, arrive in the early afternoon to snag a fire pit. Settle in for a long, relaxing day at the beach.
  • Bring a volleyball! Both Alki and Golden Gardens offer sand volleyball courts.
  • Check the burn ban. Nothing kills a beach bonfire quicker than a burn ban.
  • Know how to build a fire. We take back our earlier comment. Nothing kills a beach bonfire quicker than not knowing how to start one.

The Scoring

3 points

1 point

0 points

And now, without further ado…

Let the battle of the beach bonfires begin! 



Alki Beach


135 acres

Rocky beach, but with a wide, sandy strip

6 fire pits

Stunning views of Elliot Bay, ferries, and downtown Seattle


Restaurants along the road

Public showers near the boathouse

Very crowded

Hard to find parking (expect a walk)

No off-leash dog area

Pedestrian/bicycle path along the beach

Total: 18 points


 Golden Gardens

87 acres

Sandy beach mostly throughout

12 fire pits

Stunning views of Puget Sound, sailboats, and the Olympic Mountains


Food available at the snack shop

No showers


Hard to find parking (expect a walk)

Off-leash dog area in the park

Playground, hiking trails, and basketball court

Total: 21 points

Winner: Golden Gardens!


Disagree? Let us know on our Facebook page. Or even better, suggest another summer activity you’d like us to write about. Few things make us happier than showing people the best parts of Seattle!


More REGals info on West Seattle and Ballard