In an area surrounded by water, there is no better way to take in the beauty of the Seattle region than by kayak. The perspective afforded by kayaking through the natural wonder of this region can not be surpassed. If the warmer weather has you ready to get out on the water, Seattle Refined has put together a list of our favorite places to kayak. While not all encompassing, we hope you discover some new places to take a ride out on. Remember to have good water safety, wear a life jacket and stick close to shore when in doubt. Get ready to head out for a great summer adventure, from the waters of Lake Sammamish to the breathtaking shores of the San Juan Islands and the exceptional views of Lake Union.
The Aqua Verde Paddle Club can’t be beat for a kayak rental and launching location. Once you’ve settled into your boat, paddle from Portage Bay and cross the Montlake Cut to the Washington Park Arboretum. Drift along with the herons and try to spot some turtles among the lily pads. Lake Union is the premier location for a quick paddle after work or on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Paddle in the opposite direction to Gasworks Park for a fantastic view of downtown Seattle.
For kayakers interested in community service and keeping our waters clean, the Puget Soundkeeper Alliance provides training and kayaks for volunteers to help pick up trash from our waters. The group heads out on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. until Noon and welcomes volunteers 10 years old and older. No kayaking experience necessary.
Moss Bay offers a friendly kayak center at the south end of Lake Union. Check out the houseboats before paddling by Gas Works Park, the Ballard Locks and the University of Washington. If you get lucky, you’ll be able to watch the sea planes take off from Lake Union.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan islands are an ideal location for kayaking. The short shorelines and breathtaking views along with the potential for whale spotting makes for a delightful trip. Outer Island Excursions offers 3 hour kayaking tours from Smuggler Smuggler’s Villa Resort on Orcas Island. The tour heads down the north shore of the island to Point Doughty State Park. Along the way, paddlers often see harbor seals, eagles and harbor porpoises along with gorgeous scenery.
San Juan Kayak Expeditions leaves from Friday Harbor and allows kayak paddlers to explore the island ecosystems with experienced tour guides. Friday Harbor offers a host of sights from whales to birds and harbor seals. Kayaking through the San Juans shouldn’t be missed.
Alki Beach isn’t only awesome for sunbathing and people-watching, it is also a fun place to grab a paddle. Head out with Alki Kayak Tours for a day on the water. The views of Seattle can’t be beat. Kayak rentals are available on a first come, first serve basis so get there early for first pick of a boat.
Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah offers an ideal location for kayaking. The large lake is suited for a multitude of water sports and the Sammamish Slough provides a great alternative to lake kayaking. The Sammamish Slough connects Lake Sammamish to Lake Washington and is a fun paddle. Kayakers can often spot wildlife from eagles to waterfowl along the way. The beaches at Lake Sammamish provide a wonderful place to rest. Issaquah Paddle Sports is a great place to rent kayaks right on the shores of Lake Sammamish. Remember to snag a Discover Pass before heading to the lake. You’ll need one to drive into the park.
Magnuson Park on Lake Washington
Sail Sand Point's mission is to “bring the joy and life-enhancing benefits of sailing and small boats to people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds.” From their launching point at Magnuson Park, Sail Sand Point’s kayak rentals are reasonably priced and provide a great place to paddle. The typically smoother waters of Lake Washington make this a great beginner location with REI even offering classes at the location.
For the more experienced kayaker with their own gear, Rattlesnake Lake is a fun place to paddle. The shallow water makes for an easy ride and if the water is low enough, you’ll be able to spot lots of tree trunks and their amazing root systems. The small size of the lake makes for a perfect family friendly paddle. After a refreshing paddle, head over to Rattlesnake Ridge for a hike.
Lakes to Locks Trail
The Lakes-To-Locks Water Trail has over 100 public places to launch your kayak or other boating device and heads through Lake Sammamish, Lake Washington and Lake Union before ending at the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. The trail affords gorgeous views, hidden covers and a large variety of natural areas. This trial offers sights of all the Puget Sound has to offer.