View of Olympics
Senior Center parking lot on Railroad Avenue
South side of ferry terminal
Brackett’s Landing South is the newest of the four Edmonds beach parks and is located on the south side of the ferry terminal. While the name indicates a connection with the original Brackett’s Landing Park (north side of the terminal), it’s actually an extension of Olympic Beach, separated from it only by a short patch of private property.
Dogs are not allowed on the beach as it is a marine sanctuary. (There is a dog park at Marina Beach.)
Brackett’s Landing South can be entered on foot at the north end, but the closest parking to that entrance is on the other side of the ferry terminal. So if you are driving directly to this park (as opposed to wandering through on a longer walk) you will want to park at the Senior Center on the south side and enter from there. That’s where we’ll start our tour.
Important 2019 Update: The below description of the Senior Center parking lot and immediate surroundings is no longer accurate. The Senior Center and lot is being demolished. It will be replaced with the new Edmonds Waterfront Center, which will continue offering programs for seniors and add new community programing. The parking lot and beachfront will also be changed.
The project will likely be finished in 2021, but it’s too soon at this point for an expected completion date. During demolition and construction the area is closed off. So Brackett’s Landing South can only be accessed next to the ferry terminal or by walking along the sand from Olympic Beach. There is currently no close parking.
Once the project is completed I will return for a new Preview of the area. While it looks like the water-facing parking spaces will be permanently lost, the public lounge in the building and new exterior landscaping look to be exciting additions to the Edmonds waterfront.
The west end of the Senior Center lot is raised above the beach, bolstered by a wood bulkhead. It’s a spot like Carkeek and Golden Gardens where if you’re lucky to get one of the edge parking spaces you can enjoy the view from the comfort of your car, which can be a nice option on cold and windy days.
There are several view benches around the edges of the west end of the lot and for a short distance to the south if you don’t feel like venturing far from your vehicle.
At the southwest corner of the lot are steps down to the sand beach, and you can use this as an additional access point to Olympic Beach Park to the south. (The public is allowed to cross the short private beach on a narrow corridor.) There is a public telescope near the steps.
At the northwest corner of the lot the Edmonds Marine Walkway starts again, having broken off at the north end of Olympic Beach for the stretch of private property. The walkway travels a short distance north to the main section of Brackett’s South, with benches along the way. This makes the park very accessible, even for those who can’t walk far without resting.
After the short straight stretch you’ll come to a corner where the walkway turns briefly east away from the shoreline. Here you can get down onto the beach, though it involves a bit of stepping around and over some rocks.
At this corner is a nice bench that provides a perfect perch for surveying the park. Like Olympic Beach, Brackett’s South is a great spot for people watching on a sunny day at any time of year.
The overall view from Brackett’s South is restricted due to the ferry terminal next door and the marina and pier to the south. But you do get a nice view of the Olympics from here, and if you love ferries this is the best of the beach parks for watching them come into the dock.
Though I’ll note here for photography enthusiasts that the glass walls of the ferry foot passenger ramp create reflections on the water that give it a strange and unnatural shimmer. This can strongly impact photos you take and it’s up to personal taste as to whether it’s a positive or negative impact.
If you follow the walkway east into the center section of the park you will pass two two-seater picnic tables. When you come out into the open area of the park there are two more picnic tables to the right. All of these tables are okay spots to rest briefly or have a casual chat with a friend, but they aren’t very attractive for actual picnicking. They are all set on the edge of the heavily traveled walkway and none have a good view.
There are a lot of low bushes throughout this area and if you’re patient you might get to see some interesting birds foraging around. Though the day I spent the most time here the birds were so flitty and fast I was never able to ID any of them to add to the list below.
From the walkway and beach you can see a variety of birds out on the water, especially in winter. However, aside from the seagulls, most of them don’t come in close to shore so you will need binoculars to get a good look.
In the open area of the park the walkway is a curved semi-circle around a central mounded lawn. You can use the walkway to get out to the street (Railroad Avenue) heading south, or continue north to the ferry terminal and Brackett’s Landing on the other side.
Turn left and in a few feet you will come to several benches and the easy way to access the beach from this park. There are no steps, rocks, or driftwood logs to navigate. It’s just a wide, level sandy path right out onto the beach.
Like Olympic Beach, the beach here is predominantly sand, which makes for great barefoot walking and castle building. Unlike Olympic, the beach right next to the terminal is more than just a narrow strip, so provides more room to spread out, along with some driftwood for sitting. Though, compared to most Puget Sound parks the beach area is still fairly small.
Like all of the Edmonds beach parks, Brackett’s Landing south is popular in every season, and is interesting to visit in most kinds of weather. The view is best when snow is on the Olympics.
Things to Know
6 am – 10 pm
Four picnic tables.
Lots of benches at the parking lot and throughout the park.
Driftwood on the main beach.
Public bathrooms are located at the south end of Olympic Beach and in the middle of Brackett’s Landing Park on the other side of the ferry terminal.
Free public parking is available in the Senior Center parking lot, which is located on Railroad Avenue halfway between Dayton Street and the ferry terminal.
Be on the lookout for small brown signs that designate some areas of the lot for Senior Center visitors only.
Like with the other Edmonds beach lots it’s difficult to predict parking availability here. Usually you can get a spot, but any sunny day in any season can be busy. There is a high rate of turnover, so even if the lot is full you probably won’t have to wait long.
There is no street parking allowed on Railroad Avenue in front of the park near the ferry terminal, but there is a spot where you can drop off or pick up handicapped passengers.
Brackett’s Landing South is heavily used by locals and people from outside the area, but for most of the year most people don’t stay long. People traveling on the ferry often spend time in the park while waiting to board. The majority of users are people traveling through on the Edmonds Marine Walkway.
Like Olympic Beach this is a great park for people watching.
Birds I’ve Seen
Seagulls, double-crested cormorant, surf scoter, horned grebe, red-breasted merganser, bald eagle.
Ferries, public art, driftwood.
Best light: Morning, sunset.
Brackett’s Landing, ferry ride, Olympic Beach, Edmonds Marsh, Marina Beach.
If you’re coming from outside the surrounding area there is a best way to get to Brackett’s Landing South. If you’re arriving from the north it looks out of the way to use this route, but trust me, this is much easier than driving through congested Lynnwood traffic with all the stop lights. The speed limit is 40 mph for at least half the distance using this route.
From I-5 take the Highway 104 exit for the Edmonds ferry and head west.
Follow the highway, pass under Hwy 99, and keep going for quite a distance. Once you pass straight through a major intersection with shopping centers stay in the right lane and look for the ferry signs.
As you start to head down the hill the highway will split in two and you want the right branch as if you’re taking the ferry.
After the road curves around and flattens out you will come to a traffic light. Turn left at the light onto Dayton Street.
Cross over the train tracks and take the first right onto Railroad Avenue.
Almost halfway to the ferry terminal you will see the sign for the Edmonds Senior Center on your left. Turn left into the lot at the sign.