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There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than an invigorating swim in a freshwater lake, and Newcastle residents know it. Gene Coulon Memorial Beach Park just a short drive (or better yet, bike ride) from Newcastle.

A paved, pedestrian-only trail hugs the shoreline and connects to the Washington Loop trail, and its west facing exposure makes it the perfect locale for a sunset walk (note that bikes are not permitted on this section of trail). You’ll see people of all ages testing their fishing skills on the nearby pier, or you can cheat and buy seafood at an on-site Ivar’s.

For people who need a break from Seattle’s rainy skies, the Coulon Interpretive Walk offers a showy display of native and non-native plant species. From dogwood to azalea to the stunning red katsura trees, this nature trail is wheelchair accessible. Other facilities include tennis courts, beach volleyball courts, an extensive kid’s playground and eight lanes for launching your boat.

Special events throughout the year include Clam Lights, kids’ fishing derbies, 4th of July festivities, and the Kidd Valley Summer Concert Series which features jazz, blues, rock and folk bands. Note that animals, alcohol, in-line skates, skateboards, and mountain biking are not allowed; be respectful of people who come here to relax and enjoy the park on its own terms.