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20 Best Places To Kayak In Seattle, WA

Published July 19, 2022

Seattle is known for its skyline, hills, and lakes, but it also offers plenty of river and canyoneering opportunities. It’s no surprise that water areas are gorgeous in Seattle. In fact, there are many beautiful places in Seattle that are located near the sea or rivers.

So, if you are looking for the best places to kayak in Seattle, WA, you have come to the right place. Here I’m going to recommend to you the 20 best places to kayak in Seattle.

20 Best Places To Kayak In Seattle, WA: Summary

20 Best Places to Kayak in Seattle, WA

Here are the 20 best places you can enjoy kayaking while you are in Seattle, WA.

1. Alki Beach

Alki Beach

Alki Beach is a must-see in Seattle, WA. It’s a beautiful beach perfect for kayaking, swimming, and sunbathing. Alki is the perfect place to go if you want to relax and enjoy some time outdoors.

There are plenty of restaurants nearby so you can also eat while you are there. The views from the beach are breathtaking. You will be able to see Seattle from here and get a good look at all the beautiful buildings that make up this city.

The best time for kayaking here is in the summer, but it’s also open year-round.

2. Ballard


Ballard is one of the best places to kayak in Seattle, WA. It’s a small but bustling neighbourhood with plenty of things to do and see. If you are looking for an adventure, there are plenty of rivers, lakes, and ponds in Ballard that will allow you to get out on the water and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

If you prefer to just relax in the water, there are also plenty of public parks around Ballard that also offer beautiful views.

3. Blake Island

Blake Island

Blake Island is a small island in Puget Sound, part of the Seattle area.

It’s about a few miles from downtown Seattle and has a small public beach on its shore. It’s one of the best places to kayak in Seattle because it has lots of secluded coves and beaches with beautiful views of the sound and Mount Rainier.

You can take a ferry to get there or drive your car over; the ferry ride takes 30 minutes. If you are driving, be careful, there are no shoulders on either side of the road, so you will be driving with the tide coming into your car.

4. Duwamish River

Duwamish River

One of the best places to kayak in Seattle, WA, is the Duwamish River. It’s a beautiful, relatively calm stretch of water that flows from West Seattle to Elliott Bay and attracts both paddlers and bird watchers. The river is also home to several wildlife species, including bald eagles.

The Duwamish is also one of the most accessible rivers in Seattle; it’s just minutes from downtown and many other attractions. This makes it ideal for people who want to explore the city while staying close to home.

5. Elliot Bay

Elliot Bay

Elliot Bay is one of the most beautiful places to kayak in Seattle, Washington. The water is calm and clear, with a gorgeous view of downtown from the bay’s south end. You can even see Mount Rainier from the water.

There are lots of great places to dock and rest your boat if you are going out in search of wildlife or just want to take in the scenery. The shoreline has been landscaped with native plants and trees to feel wilder than most other parts of Seattle.

6. Foss Harbor Marina

Foss Harbor Marina

Foss Harbor Marina is a great spot for kayakers because it’s so close to downtown and has plenty of great scenery to explore. It has a nice little beach area where you can take a break from paddling around the harbor and return to shore.

You will also find plenty of flat spots along the shoreline that are perfect for launching your kayak.

7. Fox Island

Fox Island

Fox Island is one of Seattle’s most serene, beautiful places to kayak. The island is located near Seattle, just a short ferry ride from downtown Seattle.

The island is a great place to see bald eagles nesting and raising their young. You will also find plenty of wildlife, including beavers, otters, and even orcas!

Several trails on Fox Island allow you to explore the island’s natural beauty. You can hike through the dense forests or along the rocky shores.

8. Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor is one of the best places in Seattle to kayak. The water is calm and clear, creating the perfect conditions for you to paddle around and explore the area.

Gig Harbor has a large bay home to many people and boats. Because of this, there are often large crowds at the waterfront park where you can kayak. This can be great if you want to see other people while on the water.

9. Lake Union

Lake Union

Lake Union is a great place to kayak when you want to take it easy. This lake has plenty of room for everyone, and several areas are more secluded for more private outings. The water is smooth and clear, which makes every trip enjoyable.

Lake Union is the perfect location if you are looking for a place where you can just sit back and relax as the sun warms your skin.

10. Lakes to Locks Trail

Lakes to Locks Trail

Lakes to Locks is a lovely, flat trail that runs along the lakefront of Lake Washington. The trail is perfect for beginners and is lined with beautiful trees, making it a gorgeous kayak place.

The kayakers will see a variety of wildlife in the area, including bald eagles, ospreys, and sea otters. And if you are lucky enough to see some salmon jumping by your boat.

11. Lake Sammamish

Lake Sammamish

Lake Sammamish is a gorgeous, scenic lake with plenty of places to kayak. The best part is that the lake is open for public use year-round, so you can enjoy it all year long.

If you are looking for a place to kayak in Seattle, WA, Lake Sammamish is the perfect place. It has been a popular destination for locals and visitors alike since it opened its doors. The lake has more than 7 miles of shoreline and offers plenty of places to explore, including campgrounds, parks, beaches, and trails.

12. Owen Beach

Owen Beach

Owen Beach is a great spot for kayaking in Seattle, WA. It’s a public beach on Puget Sound with two main entry points: one at the north end of the beach and another at the south end.

It’s not as busy as some other beaches, making it a good place to try out your new kayak or paddleboard before heading into more crowded waters.

The water is mostly calm, and there are only a few lifeguards on duty, so take care when you are paddling around.

13. Port Townsend

Port Townsend (1)

If you are looking for the best places in Seattle to kayak, Port Townsend is a great pick. The city is home to one of the most popular kayaking spots in the world, and it’s easy to see why: it’s beautiful, full of wildlife, and has a large amount of coastline.

Port Townsend also has plenty of other activities that make it worth your while besides kayaking: from fishing to whale watching, there are endless ways to spend your time there.

14. Rattlesnake Lake

Rattlesnake Lake (1)

Rattlesnake Lake is a great place to kayak in Seattle, Washington. The water is clear and calm, so you can see everything below you. You can easily get out of the way of other boats and kayaks, too.

You will also find plenty of wildlife here, including bald eagles. That is why you will want to watch them while you are on the lake.

15. San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago located in the northwestern part of Washington state. They are a must-see destination for kayakers looking to get out on the water and see one or more of these islands’ idyllic beaches.

While there aren’t any visitor centers on the San Juans, you can take a ferry from Victoria, BC, to Seattle and then transfer to another ferry going to the islands.

16. Skykomish River

Skykomish River

The Skykomish River is a great option for kayaking because it offers plenty of recreational opportunities and many things to do along the way. You can enjoy fishing or take the scenery with your family and friends.

This river is also an ideal place for bird watching; you can see bald eagles and some other birds that aren’t found anywhere else in Washington state.

There are plenty of other cool spots along the Skykomish River, including beautiful hiking trails that allow you to get closer to nature without hiking all day long. The river has been designated as a protected area by the National Park Service due to its ecological value, so there are some restrictions on how far away you can get from shore while using this area for recreational purposes.

17. Tug Boat Annie’s

Tug Boat Annies

Tug Boat Annie’s is the perfect spot for anyone who likes to be out on the water and explore. It’s close to downtown and within walking distance of the Space Needle, which makes it easy to get there if your feet get tired.

Tug Boat Annie’s is a Seattle favorite for kayaking. They offer guided tours and private rentals, so you can make the most of your time. They also have a fleet of canoes and kayaks to rent, as well as tents and camping gear.

You can rent kayaks or paddleboards here, and they also have a pool where you can swim while enjoying your time in the water. In addition to enjoying yourself by paddling around on Lake Union, you can also participate in other activities such as swimming laps or playing volleyball at one of their courts nearby.

18. Titlow Beach

Titlow Beach

Titlow Beach is located in Puget Sound and is a great place to spend a day kayaking. The beach is fairly flat, making it easy to paddle in any direction. The water is very calm, so it’s perfect for beginning paddlers or those who have never kayaked.

The sand is also nice and white, making it easy to see what you are doing. The best part about Titlow Beach is that there are no motorized boats on the beach, so if you are looking for a completely quiet experience with your family or friends, Titlow Beach will be perfect.

19. Magnuson Park

Magnuson Park

Magnuson Park is one of Seattle’s most beloved parks, with a lot to offer kayakers. The park has some seriously long trails, making it an excellent place to enjoy the outdoors with your dog or cat. The lake offers fishing, hiking, and biking trails, while the shoreline is perfect for swimming and sunbathing.

Magnuson is also home to several wildlife refuges that provide habitat for many species of birds and wildlife. Over 30 species of birds can be spotted at the park, including swans, geese, ducks, gulls, and herons.

Walking along the lake, you will see people kayaking, fishing for salmon, or enjoying the summer breeze. There are also a few picnic areas where you can eat lunch or dinner with friends and family.

20. Moss Bay

Moss Bay

Moss Bay is an area on the west end of Lake Washington, just north of Seattle’s city limits. It’s home to several types of watercraft, including kayaks and canoes. It’s also home to some great restaurants and bars, which means you can enjoy your time on the water while still enjoying the city life!

It is a great place to kayak in Seattle, WA. It’s located on the city’s north end, so it’s not too far from downtown. The water is shallow and warm, and there are plenty of rocks and other obstacles to jump over. This is the perfect spot if you like scenic views along your trip.


So these are the 20 best places to kayak in Seattle, WA. If you are in Seattle and want to enjoy a kayaking trip, I recommend you to visit all of these places because they are unique in their way, and you will enjoy breathtaking scenic views and an excellent kayaking experience.

Jay Schwartz author of Kayak Guidance

About the Author - Jay Schwartz:

Hey there kayak lovers! I’m Jay Schwartz, the author here at Kayak Guidance! You know water sports – you know me! My life is all about it. Kayaking, Paddleboarding, Fishing, Snorkeling and so much more. I love to share my passion and knowledge with all of you. 

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