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Kayaking Puget Sound, Seattle

Mark Armstrong
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Kayaking Puget Sound can be a relaxing, fun and exhilarating experience, depending on where you paddle. With a variety of different locations, most within easy reach from Seattle, there should be no excuses for not getting out on the water.

But with so much water and so many scenic paddling trips, it can be difficult to choose just one. So we’ve put this guide together to give you a look at some of our favorite places to kayak, that you might just want to check out for yourself.

Kayaking Puget Sound, Seattle - PinterestPin

Why Go Paddling Here? Recommend Places To Go Kayaking…

The Puget Sound offers a wealth of opportunities for kayakers, with plenty of access to the water and lots of state parks with designated boat launches.

Hope Island Marine State Park, WA

Now, there are actually two Hope Islands in the Puget Sound. The one we’re talking about is in Mason County, north of Olympia and just east of Shelton. Hope Island can only be accessed by watercraft, making it a great place for kayakers.

The island has camping sites, picnic benches and beaches, as well as a hiking trail for exploring on foot. But remember to bring your own supply of water, as there are no supplies on this uninhabited island.

You can launch into the Puget Sound to access the island (or paddle around it) from the boat launch at Arcadia Point, just east of Shelton. Or for a longer paddle you can also put in at Walker Park in Shelton and kayak along the Hammersley Inlet.

Another fun kayaking trip can be paddling around the adjacent Squaxin Island Indian Reservation.

San Juan Islands, WA

The San Juan Islands may be one of the most popular kayaking and tourist destinations in the Puget Sound. The reason for its popularity is because of the many whale watching opportunities.

Video: San Juan Island Kayaking With Orcas

Lopez Island can be a fantastic place to launch your kayak, as there are plenty of put ins all around the island. At the southern end of Lopez Island you’ll find various wildlife refuge islands, which can be great for spotting birds and marine life in their natural habitat.

> Best kayaking spots San Juan Islands

  • San Juan Island Outfitters in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, you can rent sit-on-tops as well as join guided sea kayaking tours to watch orcas. They also have a location at Friday Harbor.
  • Lopez Kayaks on Lopez Island can offer hourly, daily or multi-day kayak rentals for exploring the waters around the island.

Lake Union, WA

This calm lake can be a great place for beginners but can also be a great spot for a bit of sightseeing. The Sleepless in Seattle houseboat is on the lake and you can even paddle through Seattle’s famous Ballard Locks to go between the lake and the wider Puget Sound.

Video: Kayaking The Ballard Locks In Seattle

From Lake Union you can also access Lake Washington, where there are many beach parks that you can put in or take out your kayak. From paddling around the lake you can get good views of Mount Baker as well as some of Seattle’s skyline.

For great views of Seattle and the surrounding mountains, including the Olympic Mountains and Mount Rainier, you can paddle south of Ballard around the West Point Lighthouse and into Elliott Bay.

This can give you a closer look at some of the wildlife that can be found off the coast of Seattle, which can include sea lions, seals, osprey and even bald eagles.

Kayak Rentals

  • Ballard Kayaks at Shilshole Bay can offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, hourly or daily and they have guided tours available.

Before You Go…

As you will have discovered, the Puget Sound can offer a diverse paddling experience, from wild and rugged coastlines to urban landscapes, and even a combination of both at once.

For wildlife enthusiasts it can be a particularly exciting place to kayak, with killer whales, sea lions and many other sea mammals. There are so many places to paddle and so much to explore that it can be a great place for a multi-day kayaking trip.

These are just a few of our favorite Puget Sound spots but we’d love to know your favorite spots for the ultimate kayaking experience. Leave us a comment and don’t forget to share this with your followers.

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