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Guide To Kayaking In Seattle: Best Spots To Paddle

Kayaking is an adventure that offers a unique blend of thrill and tranquility. It’s a sport that gives you the freedom to explore, escape, and connect with nature. And if you’re looking for the perfect destination to paddle, Seattle is one of the best cities in the world for kayaking enthusiasts.

With its vast water bodies, breathtaking scenery, and diverse wildlife, Seattle boasts a kayaker’s paradise. Whether you’re an experienced paddler or a newbie looking for an exciting outdoor activity, there are plenty of options to choose from.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the best spots to kayak in Seattle – from serene lakes to bustling bays – so you can experience the city’s beauty from a whole new perspective.

So grab your paddle and let’s get started!

Lake Washington

Lake Washington is surrounded by breathtaking views of the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. It is the second-largest natural lake in all of the state, with a total surface area of over 22,000 acres. The lake is renowned for its stunning sunsets and clear blue waters.

Many people in the area take advantage of the beautiful scenery and enjoy outdoor activities such as kayaking. Kayaking on Lake Washington is one of the most popular recreational activities among locals and visitors alike. It is an excellent way to explore the lake’s hidden coves and inlets while taking in the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape.

Whether you’re an experienced paddler or just starting out, Lake Washington offers something for everyone. One of the best ways to experience Lake Washington is by renting a kayak. There are several kayak rental shops located around the lake, including at the University of Washington. These rentals typically include all necessary equipment, such as life jackets and paddles, so all you need to bring is yourself and a sense of adventure.

As you paddle around Lake Washington, take in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds you. From the lush greenery along the shoreline to the towering buildings of downtown Seattle in the distance, there’s no shortage of sights to see. And with plenty of open water to explore, you can spend hours on end soaking up the beauty of this natural wonderland.

Green Lake

Seattle’s Green Lake is an unforgettable kayaking destination that’s definitely worth the visit. Its serene waters and breathtaking scenery are enough to attract a wide range of visitors, both locals and tourists.

As you launch your kayak, take a moment to soak in the natural beauty around you. The lush trees, vibrant flowers, and peaceful atmosphere will make you feel like you’re miles away from the bustling city.

For those looking to rent kayaks, there are several options available near Green Lake. You can find rentals at nearby Lake Union or at various shops throughout the city.

Once you have your kayak secured, paddle out into the lake and explore its many hidden coves and tranquil corners. Keep an eye out for local wildlife such as ducks, geese, turtles, and even bald eagles!

So grab your gear and head out for a day of fun on the lake!

Lake Union

Lake Union is a prime spot for kayaking in Seattle. It’s one of the most popular destinations to paddle, and for good reason. The lake offers stunning views of the city skyline and an abundance of marine life.

If you’re looking for a place to kayak on Lake Union, there are several options available. You can bring your own kayak or rent one from various rental shops around the lake. One top-rated rental shop is Moss Bay Kayak, which offers both single and double kayaks for hourly rentals.

While kayaking on Lake Union, be sure to check out Gas Works Park, which provides breathtaking views of downtown Seattle. There are also several floating homes along the lake that offer a unique perspective of the city. Another must-see spot is the Center For Wooden Boats, where you can learn about traditional boat building and even take a sailing lesson.

Overall, Lake Union is a fantastic place to kayak in Seattle. With its stunning scenery and numerous attractions, it’s no wonder it’s such a popular spot among locals and tourists alike.

Puget Sound

As we leave the bustling waters of Lake Union behind, we venture out into the vast expanse of Puget Sound. The calm and serene waters of the sound offer a perfect playground for kayaking around Seattle. The magnificent views of the Olympic Mountain Range in the distance and the surrounding islands provide a breathtaking backdrop to your adventure.

There are plenty of options when it comes to kayaking spots in Seattle’s Puget Sound. One popular route is from Shilshole Bay Marina to Golden Gardens Beach Park. This route offers stunning views of the city skyline as you paddle along the coastline. You may even spot some harbor seals or porpoises along the way.

For those looking for a more challenging experience, kayaking near Seattle’s Discovery Park is an excellent option. As you paddle along this route, you’ll navigate through strong currents and waves while taking in panoramic views of Mount Rainier and downtown Seattle. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for eagles soaring overhead or sea otters playing in the water!

Elliott Bay

Elliott Bay is a prime location for kayaking in Seattle. This large body of water provides breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and the Olympic Mountains. If you’re looking for a unique way to experience Seattle’s beauty, then kayaking in Elliott Bay should be on your bucket list.

There are plenty of guided tours available that will take you through the bay and show you all the best spots. These tours are great for beginners who may not feel comfortable navigating the waters on their own.

For those who prefer to go solo, rentals are available at many locations throughout the city.

Kayaking in Elliott Bay can be challenging at times due to changing tides and weather conditions. However, with proper planning and preparation, it can also be an exhilarating adventure.

Whether you’re a seasoned kayaker or new to the sport, exploring Elliott Bay by kayak is an experience that should not be missed when visiting Seattle.

Kitsap Peninsula

Imagine gliding through the calm waters of Kitsap Peninsula, surrounded by towering evergreen trees and breathtaking views of the Puget Sound. This is just one of the many experiences that await you on a kayaking adventure in the Seattle area. The Kitsap Peninsula is a hidden gem for kayaking and SUP enthusiasts, with its diverse range of waterways that cater to all levels of experience.

One of the best places to kayak in Kitsap Peninsula is the Hood Canal. This 50-mile-long fjord offers stunning views of the Olympic Mountains and abundant wildlife such as seals, eagles, and otters.

If you’re looking for a guided tour, there are several local companies that offer tours along this scenic route. Alternatively, if you prefer to paddle at your own pace, you can rent kayaks from various outfitters in the area.

Another great spot for kayaking is Blake Island State Park. Located just a short ferry ride from Seattle, this island boasts miles of shoreline and secluded coves perfect for exploration by kayak.

You can also camp overnight on the island and wake up to stunning sunrises over Mount Rainier before setting out on another day of paddling.

With so many options available, it’s no wonder why Kitsap Peninsula is considered one of the best places to kayak in Seattle.

Alki Beach

Alki Beach is a popular destination for kayakers looking to explore the beautiful waters of West Seattle. With its stunning views of the city skyline and Olympic Mountains, it’s no wonder why Alki Beach is one of the best places to paddle in Seattle.

If you’re new to kayaking or just want to explore the area with an expert guide, Alki Kayak Tours offers guided tours of the beach and surrounding areas. Their knowledgeable guides will take you on a journey through the calm waters, pointing out local wildlife and sharing interesting facts about the history of West Seattle.

For those who prefer to venture out on their own, there are plenty of places to paddle at Alki Beach. From the protected cove near Seacrest Park to the open waters near Duwamish Head, there are endless opportunities for adventure on the water. Just be sure to check the tides and weather conditions before setting out on your journey.

Shilshole Bay

Shilshole Bay is one of the best places to kayak near Seattle. As you paddle through its pristine waters, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and the Puget Sound.

This bay offers some of the most picturesque sights in the Pacific Northwest, making it a must-visit destination for kayakers. When kayaking in and around Shilshole Bay, there are a few spots that are worth checking out.

Here are five must-see locations to add to your guided tour:

  • Golden Gardens Park: This sandy beach is perfect for launching your kayak and exploring the bay.
  • Carkeek Park: Paddle through this park’s wetlands and catch glimpses of salmon spawning.
  • Ballard Locks: Watch boats pass through this historic lock system while on your kayak.
  • Discovery Park: Take in stunning views of Mount Rainier while paddling along this park’s shoreline.
  • Ray’s Boathouse: Stop for a bite to eat at this popular seafood restaurant located right on the water.

Kayaking in Shilshole Bay provides not only an adventure but also a chance to connect with nature. Listen to the sound of waves crashing against rocks, watch seabirds soaring overhead, and feel the cool breeze on your skin as you paddle through these serene waters.

So if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable kayaking experience, head over to Shilshole Bay and explore all that this beautiful location has to offer.

Deception Pass

Deception Pass is another popular destination for kayakers in Seattle. Located in the northern part of Puget Sound, this narrow strait has strong currents that make it ideal for experienced paddlers. This area also offers breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and mountains.

Kayaking in Deception Pass can be challenging but rewarding. The currents can change rapidly, so it’s important to plan your route carefully and check the tide charts before heading out.

Many local kayak tours offer guided trips through this area, which can be a great option for those unfamiliar with the waters.

If you’re up for an adventure, paddle around Deception Pass and explore its hidden coves and beaches. Keep an eye out for wildlife such as seals and eagles, which are common in this area. And don’t forget to bring your camera – the scenery here is truly stunning!

Blake Island

As we leave behind the rugged beauty of Deception Pass, our next stop takes us to the tranquil and pristine waters surrounding Blake Island. With the Seattle skyline in view, it’s hard not to feel like you’re paddling into a dream world.

The calmness of the water and the stillness of nature around you creates an almost meditative experience, one that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and at peace.

Blake Island is a popular destination for kayak tours in Seattle due to its unique history and natural beauty. This island was once used as a camping spot by Chief Sealth (also known as Chief Seattle) and his tribe, making it an important part of Native American history in the area.

While exploring the shoreline, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife – seals are known to bask on rocks while bald eagles soar overhead. And if you’re lucky enough, you may even catch a glimpse of one of the resident whales that frequent these waters.

If you’re looking for more adventure during your kayak trip in Seattle, consider circumnavigating Blake Island. This route will take you around the entire island, giving you ample opportunity to explore every nook and cranny while taking in stunning views from all angles.

As you paddle through these serene waters, it’s easy to forget that the bustling city is just a short distance away. Blake Island truly offers an immersive escape into nature that should not be missed during your exploration of places to kayak around Seattle.

Three Tree Point

Three Tree Point is a hidden gem for kayakers in Seattle. Located just south of the city, this spot offers calm waters and stunning views of the Puget Sound. It’s perfect for paddlers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and spend a peaceful day on the water.

One of the best things about kayaking at Three Tree Point is the wildlife you’ll see along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for seals, sea lions, and even bald eagles soaring overhead. The area is also rich in marine life, so it’s not uncommon to spot schools of fish swimming below your kayak.

If you’re looking for a challenge, head out to explore nearby Maury Island or Vashon Island. These islands offer more open water and stronger currents, making them ideal for experienced kayakers.

No matter where you choose to paddle around Three Tree Point, you won’t be disappointed by the natural beauty that surrounds you.

As a paddler in Seattle, there are endless places to kayak around the city. However, if you’re looking for a peaceful escape from city life and stunning views of the Puget Sound, Three Tree Point should definitely be on your list of must-visit spots.

So pack up your kayak and spend a day exploring this hidden gem just south of Seattle!

Juanita Bay Park

Juanita Bay Park is a perfect starting point for kayaking tours in Seattle. Located on the shores of Lake Washington, this park offers a serene environment that will make you forget you’re in the city.

The calm waters of Juanita Bay are ideal for sea kayaking, and there are plenty of places to paddle around the bay. One of the best things about Juanita Bay Park is its accessibility. Whether you’re an experienced kayaker or a beginner, this park has something for everyone.

There are several launch points around the park, so you can choose your own adventure and explore at your own pace. You can even take a guided tour if you want to learn more about the area’s history and wildlife.

When paddling around Juanita Bay Park, keep an eye out for wildlife such as great blue herons, bald eagles, and otters. The park is also home to many different species of fish, making it a popular spot for fishing enthusiasts.

One thing to note is that motorized boats aren’t allowed in Juanita Bay, so you can enjoy your paddle without any distractions. Kayaking at Juanita Bay Park is an experience like no other.

Carkeek Park

As we bid farewell to the tranquil waters of Juanita Bay Park, let’s venture further into the Seattle area to discover another gem for kayaking enthusiasts.

Prepare to be blown away by the natural beauty and serenity that Carkeek Park has to offer. Located in the northwestern part of Seattle, Carkeek Park is a great place to go kayaking in Seattle.

This 220-acre park boasts stunning views of Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for places to kayak around Seattle. With its calm waters and gentle currents, Carkeek Park is perfect for novice kayakers who want to test their skills.

Paddle your way through the peaceful waters of Pipers Creek and explore hidden beaches along the shoreline. Keep an eye out for bald eagles, harbor seals, and sea otters that call this place home.

As you glide through the water, take in the breathtaking scenery around you – towering evergreen trees, vibrant wildflowers, and crystal-clear waters will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

So come on down to Carkeek Park and experience kayaking at its finest!

Seward Park

Seward Park is a must-visit destination for kayaking enthusiasts looking for a serene and peaceful experience on Lake Washington.

The park boasts a picturesque shoreline and an abundance of wildlife, making it an ideal spot for beginners to explore the waters and get comfortable with kayaking.

One of the highlights of Seward Park is its calm waters which are perfect for kayaking novices. Here, you can paddle at your own pace, enjoying the stunning views of Mount Rainier in the distance.

Additionally, the park offers easy access to the Arboretum, where you can explore the lush greenery and colorful flora while taking in the fresh air.

If you’re looking to up your kayaking experience at Seward Park, consider joining one of the guided tours available. These tours offer a unique perspective on Lake Washington’s history and ecology while allowing you to enjoy paddling without worrying about navigation or safety concerns.

With experienced guides leading the way, you’ll have a memorable kayaking adventure at Seward Park that you won’t soon forget.

Kayakers can rent equipment from nearby vendors and the park offers plenty of parking options.

Wildlife sightings are common here, so keep your eyes peeled!

Lake Sammamish State Park

Lake Sammamish State Park is a beautiful park located in Issaquah, Washington, known for its water activities. Visitors can enjoy kayaking in the lake, which is suitable for both novice and experienced paddlers.

The park offers rentals for those who do not have their own kayak. The lake is also great for fishing and swimming. The park has plenty of space for picnics and BBQs, and there are several picnic tables and grills.

The park has a playground and volleyball court, making it a great place for friends and family to spend a relaxing day. Hiking and biking trails are also available for those who prefer to explore the park on land.

Overall, Lake Sammamish State Park offers a range of activities for every age group, making it a great destination for a day trip or weekend getaway. It’s a true gem of nature that’s sure to leave visitors feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.

The San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are a group of idyllic islands in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Located off the coast of Washington, these islands are known for their stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife and a plethora of outdoor recreational activities.

One of the popular activities in the San Juan Islands is kayaking. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced kayaker, these islands offer a unique experience to paddle along the rugged coastlines, serene bays and through the myriad of islands.

The calm waters surrounding the islands provide an opportunity to explore the diverse marine life from seals and sea lions to orcas. Paddling is the perfect way to get up close and personal with the stunning natural beauty of the San Juan Islands.

With an array of kayaking outfitters, visitors can easily rent kayaks and explore the islands at their own pace. The San Juan Islands are truly a hidden gem for those seeking outdoor adventure and natural beauty.

Rattlesnake Lake

Rattlesnake Lake is a beautiful body of water located in North Bend, Washington. Its crystal-clear blue waters offer the perfect setting for outdoor recreation activities, including kayaking and stand-up paddling.

Kayaking on Rattlesnake Lake not only provides an excellent workout, but also an opportunity to explore the scenic surroundings of the lake. The lake is home to various wildlife, including bald eagles, deer, and coyotes, making it an exciting adventure destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Visitors can rent a kayak or bring their own and spend the day paddling around the lake, taking in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. There are also several trails nearby, allowing for a perfect combination of kayaking and hiking.

Whether you’re looking for a peaceful day on the water or an adventure-packed outdoor activity, Rattlesnake Lake is a must-visit destination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I rent kayaks near Seattle?

Yes, rentals are available at several locations in and around Seattle including Lake Sammamish State Park, Moss Bay, South Lake Union, and the Kayak Center among others in our guide!

What Is The Cost Of Renting A Kayak In Seattle?

If you’re looking to hit the waters around Seattle and explore the city from a new perspective, renting a kayak may be just the ticket.

The cost of renting a kayak in Seattle can vary depending on where you go and what type of kayak you’re looking for. Some rental companies charge by the hour, while others offer half-day or full-day rentals. Generally, prices start at around $20 per hour for a single kayak and can go up from there.

Double kayaks are also available for rent, which can be a great option if you’re paddling with a partner or friend.

Make sure to do your research before heading out to find the best deal that fits your budget and needs!

Are There Any Age Restrictions For Kayaking In Seattle?

Are you wondering if there are any age restrictions for kayaking in Seattle?

Well, the good news is that kayaking is a great activity for people of all ages. However, it’s important to note that children under the age of 13 must wear a properly fitted life jacket while kayaking.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to check with the rental company or tour operator about any specific age restrictions they may have.

With that said, Seattle offers some of the best spots for kayaking in the Pacific Northwest, so grab your paddle and hit the water!

Is It Necessary To Have Prior Kayaking Experience To Paddle In Seattle’s Waters?

When it comes to kayaking in Seattle’s waters, many people wonder if prior experience is necessary.

While it certainly helps, it’s not a requirement.

With the right gear, safety precautions, and basic paddling techniques, anyone can enjoy the stunning scenery of Seattle from the water.

Of course, it’s always wise to start with calm and protected areas before venturing into more challenging conditions.

And if you’re still feeling unsure, consider taking a guided tour or lesson with a professional outfitter who can provide expert instruction and guidance.

All in all, kayaking in Seattle is an incredible way to explore this beautiful city – no matter your skill level!

Are There Any Designated Areas For Launching And Docking Kayaks In Seattle?

Yes, there are several designated areas for launching and docking kayaks in Seattle, some include:

1. Lake Union Park: This park has a designated kayak launch area with a ramp for easy access to the water.

2. Green Lake: There is a designated kayak launch area at the southwest corner of the lake.

3. Alki Beach: The beach has a designated area for launching kayaks and other watercraft.

4. Magnuson Park: There is a designated kayak launch area next to the swimming beach at Magnuson Park.

5. Shilshole Bay Marina: There are several kayak launch areas at this marina, including one that is specifically for non-motorized watercraft.

6. Elliot Bay: There are several designated launch areas along the waterfront for kayaks and other watercraft. It is important to note that some of these areas may require a permit or fee for launching and docking.

Do I need prior kayaking experience to rent a kayak in Seattle?

No, most rental services offer kayaks suitable for beginners. However, if you have never kayaked before, you may want to consider taking a beginner’s kayaking tour to learn the basics.

What should I bring with me if I’m renting a kayak?

If you’re renting a kayak, make sure to bring water, snacks, sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and a dry bag to protect your electronics and other valuables. Dress appropriately, and wear a life jacket.

Are there kayak tours available in Seattle?

Yes, there are several kayak tour options available in Seattle, including guided tours of the San Juan Islands, the Ballard Locks, and Lake Union.

Do I need a Discover Pass to kayak on Lake Washington?

If you are launching your kayak from a state park like Lake Sammamish State Park or Seward Park, you will need a Discover Pass. However, if you’re launching from public access points like Marina Beach Park, no pass is required.

Is it safe to kayak in the waters near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge?

Yes, it is generally safe to kayak in the waters near the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. However, be aware of any tidal changes which could cause currents and always wear a life jacket and waterproof coat as the water can be chilly.

Q: What other locations are popular kayaking spots in Seattle?

A: Some of the other popular kayaking spots in Seattle include Lake Union, Lake Washington, the Ballard Locks, Sand Point, and the waters along the Lakes to Locks Trail.

Q: Can kayakers see whales in the waters near Seattle?

A: Yes, it is possible to see whales while kayaking in the waters near Seattle, particularly in the San Juan Islands. However, keep in mind that while whales are a magnificent sight, kayakers must always yield to them and maintain a safe distance.


So, there you have it – a guide to kayaking in Seattle and the best spots to paddle!

Kayaking can be a great way to explore Seattle’s natural beauty and get some exercise while you’re at it

While the cost of renting a kayak may vary depending on the rental company, there are plenty of options available for both single and tandem kayaks. As for age restrictions, most rental companies require children under 18 to be accompanied by an adult.

But what about those who have never kayaked before? Don’t worry! Many of Seattle’s waterways are calm and perfect for beginners. However, it’s always recommended to take a beginner’s lesson before heading out on your own.

One potential objection may be concerns about safety while kayaking in Seattle’s waters. It’s true that weather conditions can change quickly and unexpectedly, so it’s important to check forecasts before heading out and to always wear a life jacket. However, with proper preparation and caution, kayaking in Seattle can be a fun and safe adventure for all ages.

So grab your paddle and explore Seattle from a whole new perspective!