Where to rent kayaks, paddle boards and bikes in West Seattle

Being located on the Puget Sound, there are plenty of scenic activities available for your enjoyment while staying at Beach Drive Bungalow. Here are a few places that offer rentals and tours:

Alki Kayak Tours with rentals for kayaks, stand up paddle boards, inline skates, bikes and skateboards (long boards). West Seattle Location: 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126 • (206) 953-0237 | tours@kayakalki.com

Be sure to grab a bite at Marination Ma Kai, located next door to Alki Kayak Tours.

Mountain to Sound Outfitters has kayaks, stand up paddle boards and skateboards for rent during the summer at 55th and Alki Avenue.  Monday-Sunday | 12:00pm – 6:00pm.  Weather Dependent, Call 206-935-7669.

Wheel Fun Rentals offers various types of bikes and surreys for rentals at 2530 Alki Avenue SW.

Alki Bike and Board has various types of bikes for rent. (I’m checking with them and will update this post once I find out if they rent on somewhere on Alki or if you have to go to their North Admiral location on California).

PS: Although Beach Drive Bungalow is waterfront and located on Puget Sound, it does not have beach access due to the seawall/bulkhead. The Bungalow is located a couple blocks away from public parks with access to the sound.

 

 


The “back yard” of the Bungalow.

Fun things to do with kids in West Seattle

We recently had a guest ask us for suggestions for things to do with their kids. I believe their children are around 7 to 8 years old. There are lots of fun things to do around the Bungalow, West Seattle and beyond.

Starting with the Bungalow… we have several board games, books and a foosball table for our younger guest to enjoy. You’ll also find binoculars along with a binder pointing out various sights.

There are several waterfront parks nearby. Lincoln Park is one of my favorites for easy hikes and has two brand new play grounds. Lincoln Park also has Colman Pool,  a heated salt-water swimming pool that’s open during the warmer months.

Just to the north of the Bungalow is Mee Kwa Mooks park.  Low tides offer plenty of opportunities to explore local sea life if the tide pools. Often times, the Seattle Aquarium will host guided tours of the low tides. The “South Alki” naturalist tour meets at Beach Drive and 63rd Avenue SW at the Charles Richey Sr park.

 

Continue traveling north towards Alki Point and you’ll see the Alki Point Light House. The Light House is open for tours during weekends over the summer months.

Keep along the water and you’ll find yourself at Alki Beach.

This stretch of sandy beach offers restaurants, shops and has a place where you can rent bikes. Wheel Fun Rentals even has a surrey that can fit a family of four.

There several nearby ferry routes. From West Seattle you can catch the Fauntleroy Ferry to Vashon Island for a fun day trip or board the walk-on ferry that will take you to down town Seattle (near the Pioneer district and the stadiums).

During the summer, there are often events at Alki or in the Junction (around California Avenue SW). Be sure to check out our events page for more info.

This is just a few ideas for fun things to do with children around West Seattle when you’re staying at Beach Drive Bungalow.

Things to do in West Seattle and Beyond

We love it when our guest ask for suggestions for things to do while they’re staying at the Bungalow. Recently we put this list together for one of our clients.

Visit Seattle neighborhoods: Breakfast at Talouse Petite (base of Queen Anne hill), Seattle Center for Space Needle & Paul Allen’s Experience Music Project (aka MoPop), Ballard locks park where Lake Union and Washington connect to Puget Sound, backtrack to check out the quirky cool Fremont neighborhood, follow along north Lake Union and view the city from Gas Works Park, to Pike Place Market for picking up ingredients to BBQ on the grill at the bungalow for sunset.

Check out the ferries and nearby islands: Grab coffee at West Seattle’s Caffe Ladro then board the ferry at Fauntleroy to Vashon/ Maury Island for brunch at the old Hardware Store in town. Tour the laid back island to the light house at Point Robinson then back to the main road heading south to board the small ferry to Tacoma. Check out a few sites in Tacoma if something grabs you or just head west to Point Defiance Bridge to cross the infamous Narrows Bridge. Follow north to the great little town of Gig Harbor. Have a late lunch at the Tides Tavern. Keep heading north and either cutoff to the Southworth ferry which takes you back to West Seattle or… Continue on to the Bremerton ferry which will bring you straight into the Seattle waterfront

Or skip the local ferry rides and opt for the San Juan Islands trip that departs via Anacortes ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Drive down to the lighthouse Lime Kiln Point that looks over the Haro Straits to Victoria B.C. & where it’s likely to catch a peak of the local Orca pods hitting on the coho salmon that run north that time of the year. If you get back to Anacortes before 5:00 pm, drive north 30 minutes up gorgeous  Chukanut Drive to the Samish Oyster shop for a few dozen oysters to pop on the BBQ. If you’re return arrival is later, take a detour on your way back south to LaConner for dinner and a stroll.

Another full day trip: Mt Rainier National Park is an all day round trip like the San Juans but totally worth it if the weather’s good. Excellent hiking up to the 10,000 ft mark of the mountain to Camp Muir.

Take in the falls. Take 1-90 about an hour to scenic Snoqualmie Falls. While you’re there, stop in Salish Lodge for a bite to eat or head out to North Bend. If you’re a Twin Peaks fan – you’ll probably recognize this area as a majority of it was filmed here.

Some local grub: Best local bakery’s for coffee & pastries are up the hill on California Ave. Bakery Nouveau beat the French at their own game in a competition. Gluten free goodies are a specialty at Great Harvest Bread Co located only 8 doors away. Also on the Ave are excellent restaurants including the best sushi in town – Mashiko’s (reservations recommended), local steakhouse Jak’s (also great for brunch and catch their happy hour hamburger!), Itto’s for delish Moroccan tapas and cocktails, fantastic brunch & gourmet fried chicken at Ma’ono’s or try the fish chips at Seattle Fish Company (you can also pick up some wonderful fresh seafood to cook up back at the Bungalow).

Closer to home. The best walk from the bungalow is north to Alki Beach and further north along the ave for a booming view of Seattle across Elliott Bay. Walking south from the house brings you to wonderful forested Lincoln Park.

Be sure to check out our other suggestions for things to do on our blog!

West Seattle is a great place for a Staycation

Wallethub recently came out with the best cities for a “staycation” in America. Seattle ranked at 28…and I bet if West Seattle was a city, we’d rank even higher!

We have guest traveling from all over the country to stay at Beach Drive Bungalow and we have a good amount who are from West Seattle! Those from West Seattle typically have family or friends who are coming in from out of town and are looking for a relaxing and fun place to hang out together.

So if you’re looking for a change in scenery and would like to spend some time on the water, consider a “staycation” in West Seattle!

This summer, we are booking up with just a couple days currently open in June, July and August. Check out our calendar here.

 

Scope it out…what you can’t see

Unless you have a full tank of air and scuba gear, you’d miss out on one of the best dive sites and Ling Cod fisheries in the Seattle area. The Alki Rock Pile is located just a couple hundred yards west/southwest off the seawall. An orange buoy marks the deepest end of a carefully designed underwater debris field used to house several different species of Puget Sound bottom fish. Architects of the reef describe how it was built…

“A total of 181,400 metric tons of quarry rock was used to construct fourteen 41 m· 15 m· 6 m (high) reef structures in a 2.83 ha area during May 1987. This design of a 1:2 ratio of reef material: sand bottom also accommodated the trophic level relationships normally occurring for fishes feeding from reef structures and surrounding natural habitats.”

Although resident sea lions have had their fill the last couple of years, fisherman still swarm the reef on May 1st for the limited Ling Cod season. Divers get their shot on the 3rd week of May with increased odds…

LingDivers

Divers haul their speared catch up to Beach Drive via Emma Schmitz Park.

The Alki Rock Pile is now used worldwide as a reference point for designing & building artificial reefs.

Wondering where all those ships passing by are headed or where they’ve come from? All those answers plus much, much more are waiting for you on MarineTraffic.Com. You can also download their app for any of your smart devises. The program uses AIS transmitting which nearly all commercial vessels are required to operate while under way.

Just simply click on the real time chart of ships/boats under way and a plethora of info about the vessel pops up. I use an AIS receiver in combination with radar on board s/v Pointless when I’m running in the fog or at night.

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Puget Sound is the home to a couple of marine giants. The Giant Pacific Octopus is the world’s largest invertebrate with the largest known rumored to be 600 pounds with an arm span of about 30 feet. Their copper based blue blood is pumped by 3 hearts! Maybe that’s why they like to “hug” so much.

1963_World_Octopus_Wrestling_Championships

4th through 111th place divers may still be somewhere down in Davy Jone’s Locker near Tacoma WA. 😉

The other world record holder is known as the Sunflower Seastar. Amongst to largest and heaviest in the 7 seas, these stars commonly grow between 2 to 3 feet in diameter and are the 2nd fastest movers of all the seastar species. They are veracious eaters and will often try to eat the bait in our crab pots. It’s depressing when you start to pull the pot thinking it’s full of sweet Dungeness and come to find out it’s one of these big mothers draped over your pot!

P.helianthoides

Nearly all west coast sea stars of all types were wiped out in 2013-14 via the mysterious Sea Star Wasting Disease. Many areas from Baja to Alaska are seeing a healthy recovery so we’re all keeping our fingers crossed.

 

If you were to swim, paddle or sail less than a half mile straight out from the sea wall and gander to the south, you’d catch a booming view of the undisputed king of the Cascade mountain range, Mt. Rainier…

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The Alki Yacht Club or AYC was founded in March 2016 by yours truly. The bungalow’s lower floor doubles as the club house although I’ve yet to have a meeting or function there. The club originated when my brother (lives on Maury Island) wanted to have a planning meeting with some sailing buddies and I for a trip around Vancouver Island. Our house seemed like the logical place to have it so he joked “let’s meet at the AYC to plan & watch the Seahawks game”. I figured there must’ve been an Alki Yacht Club at some point in history given that Alki was the birth place of Seattle but found nothing in google and snapped up the URL on GoDaddy. The logo was designed by a artist buddy and Rhonda laid it out with pennies on the downstairs bathroom floor! We have about a dozen members and an official cocktail but that’s about it.

AYC

West Seattle Garage Sale Treasures

This past Saturday was the annual West Seattle Garage Sale. This year, because the Bungalow was available and there was a chance of rain, I decided to use the carport for our sale. The weather wasn’t the best (not terrible but not great) and there were not a lot of sales registered on Beach Drive… I think I made about $22! 🙂

There are other things from the West Seattle Community Garage Sale that I treasure far beyond money, including…

Spending time with my Mom. This is the second year that we have done the garage sale. I never know until the last minute if we’re going to participate… my Mom has been there both years to help out and bring some of her goods to sell too. It’s fun to hang out with her – I enjoy watching her engaging her sales skills with possible buyers of our stuff.

Showing neighbors who were interested in booking the bungalow…and…they may want to have their wedding ceremony at the seawall! Pretty awesome to be a small part of an important moment in peoples lives… as they were walking out of the home, another group were waiting in the carport.

Reuniting the Bungalow with the grandchildren of a past owner. What a coincidence to have this group of adult “grandchildren” who spent many of their years in this home show up during the garage sale day. They shared memories and promise to send pictures and guess what, one of them was also married at the seawall (bulkhead).

Saturday was the best $22 I have ever earned!

Scope it out… west

Looking straight out from the bungalow’s seawall,  the majestic backdrop of the Olympic Mountain range dominates the view to the west. The Olympics dictate the weather patterns for the entire region. The Pacific Ocean side of the range features rain forests that garner 200+ inches of avg annual rain. Then onto the north east side of the range where a rain shadow effect only allows 16 to 20″ of rainfall.

rainfall

The Olympic range looks more spectacular than the actual elevation would suggest. The highest mountain is Mt Olympus (not visible from Seattle) which is just a hair under 8000 feet. It’s the steep slopes that give the range world class ruggedness.

The most prominent peaks viewed at the seawall are from left to right… Mt. Ellinor, Washington, Stone, The Brothers (double peak) and finally Mt Constance being the highest in view at 7,756′.

The small settlement of Rochester can be seen just south of where the WA State ferries make their way out of site through Rich Passage. The town of around 5000 people enjoy great views of the Seattle skyline, Mt Rainier to the southeast, a close up view of the west side of Blake Island & of course, us.

Once the main dock was built in 1908, Rochester was a regular stop for the historic Mosquito fleet steamers that once served most all of the cargo/passenger needs in Puget Sound. In 1925, a regular ferry route was established between West Seattle’s Alki & Rochester until the Alki terminal washed away in 1936. The run shifted to downtown Seattle until it was permanently discontinued in ’49.

family-inn

This photo courtesy of Trip Advisor, highlights Manchester’s view of Blake Island, distant Seattle skyline and the dock that yours truly uses to tie up on when waiting for the crab pots to fill. They have a great bar about a block up to enjoy your favorite beverage!

Blake is the small island looking straight across. The entire island was designated a State Marine Park back in 1959. Prior to that, it is rumored that Chief Sealth of the Suquamish tribe was born on the island back around 1783. The city of Seattle was eventually named after the peace keeping chief. The island was renamed Trimble Island back in the early 1900’s when a Seattle millionaire with same name purchased it. The Trimble’s lived in their island mansion until the late 20’s & eventually sold it to investors in ’36.

The island was said to be used extensively by bootleggers back in the prohibition years. Whiskey from Canada would make it’s way down the sound where the island could be used to hide out. Long time West Seattle residents tell stories of a resident bootlegger that squatted on the island to make hootch.

 

BlakeIs

More recently, Blake Island was used by President Bill Clinton as the site for the first APEC meeting. Argosy Cruises conducts scheduled runs to the island out of the Seattle waterfront typically starting mid April through late September. A native Indian longhouse hosts a traditional salmon bake and dance performances. I personally enjoy hiking the island with my dog and watching the deer grazing out in front of the small marina. It’s a true utopian gem set in the middle of large populations.

Path

Tillicum Village and the marina breakwater can be seen from the seawall with help of the binoculars.

Coming soon… south