This is the ninth park in my central Lake Washington parks series. For full info and a list of all the parks see the introduction here.
Near Seward Park in SE Seattle
Hand Carry Boat Launch
Lake Washington Boulevard just south of Ferdinand Street
The Ferdinand Street Boat Launch is on the shore of Lake Washington just north of the entrance to Seward Park. It’s a small park across the bay from the wooded peninsula with a pleasant view. The boat launch is for hand carry watercraft and is a popular place for kayakers to put in.
After you turn into the park you’ll see four parallel parking spaces ahead on your right next to the curb. One of them is a designated handicap space.
There is a two hour limit for these parking spots. If you’re going boating and will be out on the water longer than that you can unload at the curb and then move your vehicle to a regular spot.
At the end of the road is a turnaround, which lets you reach the main parking section.
Near the curb parking spots there are three benches, and the partially paved ramp down to the lake. There is a small dock and tiny beach area at the boat launch.
There are two picnic tables to the right of the boat launch, spread widely apart on an area of lawn bordered by small trees and blooming shrubs. If you want to nab a table that is a bit more separated from the launch area activities try there first.
At the end of the turnaround is the main picnic section with two tables close together on a paved pad, with a third table a short distance away on the lawn near a small tree. If you have a lot of stuff to unload for a family barbeque this is the most convenient spot to go. (There is one grill stand for the tables.)
North of the picnic area is a large lawn, perfect for throwing a Frisbee around, or any other activity that takes a bit of space. The lawn is also a popular place for people who like to lay out and catch some rays.
On the far north side of the lawn area is a fourth picnic table next to a line of trees and bushes. That table also gets you away from the main activity area if you don’t mind hauling your picnic gear a bit further.
On the east side of the lawn near the lake is the paved path that travels between the parks with another bench. If you follow the path north as it curves around beyond the line of trees you’ll eventually see another bench and yet another picnic table.
While the Ferdinand Street Boat Launch doesn’t have anything going for it in terms of unique features, it does make for a pleasant picnic destination on a nice day. As soon as the weather starts to warm up and boaters take to the water in greater numbers the bay between here and Seward park fills up with an impressive number and variety of anchored boats on the weekends which adds to the scenery.
Things to Know
6 am to 10 pm
Several benches, with three close to parking.
At least seven picnic tables scattered throughout the park, with three of them close to parking.
Bathrooms are available in nearby Seward Park.
Small lot with four spaces close to the boat launch, one designated for handicapped parking. Approximately 16 spaces in the main parking section on the west side of the lot.
Parking availability is somewhat unpredictable. During the cooler months you’ll probably always find a space.
In warmer weather, especially on nice weekends, the lot can fill up. But because many of the people who use the park walk here from the surrounding neighborhood it’s still worth giving it a try if you’re looking for a new place to picnic.
Ferdinand Street Boat Launch Park is primarily used by locals, and people from further away who want to launch small boats in this part of the lake.
My first visit was on a nice weekend day just before sunset at the end of May. There weren’t a lot of people here, but several teenagers were gathered around their cars in the parking lot playing fairly loud music and hanging out. I got the sense that it wasn’t unusual activity for this park. While they were having fun, they weren’t overly rowdy and didn’t make park feel unsafe.
My second visit was on a sunny Sunday afternoon at the beginning of June. There were quite a lot of people in the park, mostly spread out on the lawns and using the boat launch for their kayaks. Even though the park was fairly busy, there were still several parking spaces available, demonstrating that this place is mostly popular with people living nearby.