Swimming Beaches

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The City of Kirkland has three guarded swimming beaches, Houghton Beach, Waverly Beach and Juanita Beach. All beaches have designated swim areas marked and all lifeguard offices offer a free lifejacket loaner program. All children 12 and under must pass an open water swim test before crossing the shallow water buoy line. 

Lifeguards are on duty daily from 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM June 28 - September 4. All beaches will have beach rules and lifeguard on duty signs will be posted when lifeguards are on duty.   

For the latest information about water quality at swim beaches, visit King County’s Lake Swimming Beach Data webpage at: https://kingcounty.gov/swimbeach

No Lifeguard On-Duty: If there is inclement weather, or the air temperature is under 65 degrees, lifeguards will not report to the beaches. 

Camps and Groups: Groups larger than 15 are encouraged to contact the City of Kirkland 48 hours in advance of an intended visit. Please call 425-587-3333

Lifeguard Olympics: This annual training competition is usually held in August. Community members are welcome to join us for the afternoon of training and competition. Beaches will open at 3pm due to this staff training. 

Beach Rules

Designated Swimming Area Rules

  1. All children 6 and under must be supervised by an adult. Adults must be in the water, within arm’s reach of the child at all times.  

  2. All children 12 and under must pass a waterfront swim test before proceeding into water deeper than chest depth and/or cross the shallow water buoy line.

  3. Non-swimmers (swimmers unable to pass a swim test) must remain in water no more than chest depth and are not permitted to cross the shallow water buoy line.

  4. Swimmers must remain within the designated swimming area and are prohibited from swimming into or out of the park swimming area

  5. No sitting or hanging on float lines. No climbing or hanging on perimeter lines.

  6. No horse play such as pushing, dunking, or holding others around the neck. All floatation devices must stay in designated areas. No floatation devices on or within 5ft of the dock or pier. Rafts with oars are not allowed in the swimming area.

  7. All floatation devices must stay in designated areas. No floatation devices on or within 5ft of the dock or pier. Rafts with oars are not allowed in the swimming area.

  8. No throwing of rocks, sand or other hard objects.

Dock Rules

  1. No running on the docks.

  2. No swimming under the docks.

  3. Keep ladders clear.

  4. Jumps from the dock must be done facing forward.

  5. Dive only in permitted locations. Dive straight out. Spins, flips and back dives are not allowed. Diving is allowed only in designated areas.

  6. Diving is NOT allowed anywhere at Waverly Beach or Juanita Beach.

  7. Diving at Houghton Beach may be suspended if water levels become too shallow.

  8. Do not dive in shallow water.

Beach Rules

  1. KMC 11.80.210 - Alcohol and drugs are not allowed in the park. No glass containers.

  2. KMC 11.80.060 - Dogs on leash are permitted in the park. Dogs are not allowed in the designated swimming area.

  3. Gas BBQ’s are permitted, with a drip pan. Please dispose of drip pan off site. No charcoal.

  4. No feeding the waterfowl.

  5. KMC 11.80.110 - Motorized watercraft must remain 100 yards away from the end of docks and swimming areas.

  6. Standup paddle boards, kayaks, canoes, etc. are not permitted within the designated swimming area.

  7. In an emergency, call 911.

  8. First-aid kit is located at lifeguard office.

Swimming Along Kirkland Shorelines

Kirkland Municipal Code 14.20.010 indicates that swimming shall be confined:  

(1) To restricted swimming areas; or  

(2) To within fifty feet from the shore or a pier unless the swimmer is accompanied by a watercraft. (Ord. 800 § 20, 1960) 

Beyond 50 feet from shore, the King County Code requires the swimmer to be accompanied by a boat which is within 25 feet of the swimmer.  

To maintain a clearly defined swimming beach, lifeguards discourage swimming immediately outside the lifeguarded area. In the interest of public safety, there is need to maintain a defined perimeter buffer of 150 feet from the swimming areas on Lake Washington.  

Kirkland Aquatic Service Beach Guards are instructed to educate “offshore swimmers” of the following:  

Swimming within 50 feet of shore is consistent with the law.  

Wading or swimming at a distance away from the swimming beach could have an impact on the operation of the lifeguarded area as any reasonable persons [lifeguard] attention could be drawn away from their area of coverage due to your presence in the water outside of the swimming area. For your safety, we strongly encourage you to remain within the designated swimming area. [Note: if the swimmer is beyond 25 feet of shore- approaching 50 feet and is not accompanied by a boat within 25 feet, guards should inform the swimmer that they will be contacting King County Marine Patrol.  

The lifeguarded swimming beaches offer maintained bottom conditions, are free of aquatic weeds, and do not have boat traffic, all of which are possible concerns in other parts of the parks.  

Lifeguards do not want to push open water swimmers out into boating traffic; they will allow swimmers to pass through the beach area if necessary but will talk with them about the boundaries of the lifeguarded swimming beach and remind them about the 50 feet rule.

Swimming Beach Bacteria Testing

Why is The Swimming Area Closed? Swim Beaches are tested weekly by the King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks, if a beach water tests high for bacteria, the swimming area will be closed, and there will be no lifeguards on duty. For testing information or to see which beaches are open/closed please visit the King County Lake Swimming Beach Bacteria page

King County Lake Swimming
Beach Bacteria Page

Do you want to be notified of swim beach closures and reopening? Join the King County Lake Beach Alert mailing list 

King County Lake Beach Alert Mailing List

Waterfront Swim Test

Children 12 and under at Houghton, Waverly, and Juanita Beaches are required to pass a waterfront swim test in order to swim beyond the shallow water buoy line. Testing is at the discretion of the lifeguard. If you need a waterfront swim test, please speak with any of the lifeguards on duty in the lifeguard office.

Waterfront Swim Test:

The waterfront swim test consists of 25 yards crawl stroke with face in the water, side breathing, without stopping, without the use of goggles.

  • Children must take a swim test each day they visit the beach.

  • Children are allowed to take the swim test only one time per visit. A second test may be allowed by the Senior Lifeguard’s discretion.

  • All children that have passed their swim test, must wear their wristband to allow them to swim in deeper water.

  • All beach patrons, regardless of age can and could be waterfront swim tested at the discretion of the lifeguards.

Lifejacket Loaner Station

All of the City of Kirkland swimming beaches have lifejacket loaner stations at the lifeguard office. If a lifejacket is needed, please speak with any of the lifeguards on duty to check out a lifejacket.

Borrowing a lifejacket is EASY, here is how:

  • Lifejacket Loaner station is at the Lifeguard Office.

  • Ask a lifeguard for assistance if needed.

  • Check the label to make sure it is the right size.

  • Fasten all buckles, zippers and straps.

  • Make sure it fits correctly. 

  • Wear it throughout your visit at our beaches. 

  • Return used lifejacket to Lifeguard Office to be cleaned. 

Lifejackets Save Lives – Always provide adult supervision at our waterfronts.

Houghton Beach

Houghton Beach Park 
5811 Lake Washington Boulevard

The Houghton Beach Swimming Area has a long pier and a large dock with good shallow areas for children. 

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Waverly Beach

Waverly Beach Park
633 Waverly Way

Waverly Beach has a swimming area completely enclosed by a "U" shaped sunbathing dock. This area offers a shallow water swimming area for smaller children, and a deeper water swimming area.

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Juanita Beach

Juanita Beach Park
9703 NE Juanita Drive

Juanita Beach has a designated swimming area completely enclosed by a "U" shaped dock, with shallow beach and dock entry swimming areas.

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