Lifestyle

Chism Beach refreshes on a hot summer day

Chism Beach Park on Lake Washington in Bellevue last Wednesday, July 16. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Chism Beach Park on Lake Washington in Bellevue last Wednesday, July 16.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

For a refreshing swim in Lake Washington, an especially pleasant beach is at Chism Park in Bellevue, just three miles from Mercer Island. Sloping green lawns, a sandy beach and swimming area with a sturdy raft make this a great summer outing.

As you drive in the Chism Park entrance (see directions in box), you are still well above the beach. Off to the right, hidden behind a daisy-ridden perennial garden, is a gently sloping lawn.

“It’s our reserved picnic area where lots of weddings and receptions take place,” said Meiyee Tan, Chism Beach lifeguard. One can immediately see why: As you stand on the lush green lawn, mature Madrona trees frame a gorgeous view of Lake Washington and Luther Burbank Park.

To get down to the beach, a set of stairs drops from the parking area to the water. To the left, there is a paved, gentle grade for strollers and wheelchairs. There are sloping lawns down below, too, partially shaded by tall Douglas firs. The level, stone-free beach faces west, catching the afternoon sun and a glimpse of downtown Seattle.

A great feature of Chism Beach is the primary-colored big toy situated at the water’s edge. Shaped like a ship, with a sailing mast and a cool blue tube slide, its placement makes it possible for an adult with more than one child to watch climbers, sand excavators and waders all at once.

A roped-off swimming area is lifeguarded from noon to 7 p.m., daily. There is a pier and raft for jumping (no diving) in the deep end. To the north of the beach, past the conveniently located restrooms, a short trail leads along the rocky shore. There are a couple of picnic tables here and a short “blackberry alley” that dead-ends at Shoreland Drive.

“On Seafair weekend, it’s a good place to watch the Blue Angels,” said Danielle Boggs, another lifeguard. “But it gets pretty crowded.”

For those who get restless sitting on the shore, Chism Park has a short, forested trail loop southeast of the parking area. The “Life Cycle” wood sculpture by Pat McVay, on the paved trail to the parking area, is definitely worth a look.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 27 edition online now. Browse the archives.