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To Seattleites, Mt. Rainer stands as a natural totem of beauty, of majesty, and sense of place. Its changing colors and cloud-wreathed flanks are almost a mood indicator of the city’s well-being. Fiery alpenglow on its pristine glaciers can literally take one’s breath away, and magically turn a challenging day into a happy one.

As the name suggests, Rainier Beach—which includes both the neighborhood and the waterfront—offers many  views of the 14,410 foot dormant volcano.

The beaches of nearby Lake Washington offer respite from the rare Seattle heat wave. With its offshore diving platform just a short swim offshore, Pritchard Beach Park is perfect for ersatz acrobats showing off their improvised moves on its two diving boards. Non-swimmers will appreciate the restored wetland area with its native Pacific Northwest flora and fauna; including a raucous population of frogs and ravens. South of Pritchard Beach Park you’ll find barely identifiable Chinook Beach Park. Despite its location close to Rainier Avenue, Chinook Beach is an undiscovered gem and chances are that you’ll have the place to yourself, even in mid-summer.

For the nautically inclined, the Atlantic City boat ramp in Beer Sheva Park can accommodate up to six power boats loading/unloading at once. Named after Beer Sheva, a sister city of Seattle located in Israel, Beer Sheva Park is, like the neighborhoods of South Seattle, an unalloyed gem of a spot that flies below the radar of most people living in the Puget Sound region.

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