7 Amazing Kayaking Adventures In Washington

Paddle your way around Washington.

By: Michael Gabbert
July 16, 2015

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Whether a novice, expert or anything in between, kayaking is an activity for everyone and the state of Washington just might be one of the best places for it. Between the Islands of Puget Sound and the plethora of glacial lakes around the state, adventures of any length of time and any skill level can be found here. Whether you’re looking for a quick excursion within Seattle on Lake Union or multi-day camping trips in the San Juan Islands, your options are plentiful.

1. Kayak Camp on Stuart Island

Photo: Michael Gabbert

What Stuart Island lacks in easy accessibility, more than makes up for with its gorgeous coastlines and abundant wildlife. A 15 mile paddle from Friday Harbor within the San Juan Islands, Stuart Island has two campgrounds situated at its southern and eastern end. The best part of the island however is its northern point. It is here where the Haro Strait and Boundary Pass intersect creating a perfect highway for Orcas. Keep your eyes peeled for pods coming in and out along with the dozens of Bald Eagles and Seal Harbors along its coast. Learn more.

2. Camping on Orcas Island

Photo: Aaron White

Paddle 4 miles due east from the Orcas Island Ferry terminal in the San Juan Isalnds and you'll reach Obstruction State Park. With nine first come, first serve campsites, it’s a great area to take in the setting sun and enjoy the evening without being too far away from civilization. Learn more.

3. Kayak Lake Wenatchee

Photo: Ashlee Langholz

Two hours east of Seattle, this glacier-fed lake is a great day-paddle. With 12,623 ft of waterfront and mountain views encompassing the lake, there is plenty to explore. Start your paddle early in the morning if you want to avoid the windy conditions as the day progresses. Learn more.

4. Kayak at Point Doughty State Park

Photo: Jason Horstman

Kayaking west along the shore you’ll be able to see harbor seals, bald eagles, starfish and even some harbor porpoises popping up from time to time. The park itself allows you to dock, hike to its ridge and take in gorgeous views of the surrounding islands and Mt. Baker. Learn more.

5. Kayak Camp on Jones Island

Photo: Michael Gabbert

Located 5 miles from Friday Harbor within the San Juan Islands, Jones Island offers a relatively quick paddle to a secluded area with breathtaking views. Accessible only by boat, this island offers two campsites exclusively for human-powered boats on its western shore and several others on its southern shore. The pristine nature of the island along with 4 miles of hiking trails make Jones Island a perfect place to make camp for an evening or two. Learn more.

6. Kayak Lake Crescent

Photo: Rose Freeman

Situated in the Olympic Peninsula, Lake Crescent is as gorgeous as it is deep (reportedly 600+ ft in areas!). With crystal clear blue water and 8.5 miles in length, there is plenty to see and explore on the lake. Kayak rentals are available from the Lake Crescent Lodge if desired. Learn more.

7. Paddle Lake Union

Photo: Michael Gabbert

As the sun sets over Queen Anne Hill, there are few better places to be in Seattle than Lake Union. Sitting just 2 miles from downtown Seattle, the Lake is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. No matter the season, catching a sunset and dusk on the lake is absolutely stunning. Learn more.

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Cover photo: Michael Gabbert

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More



Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.