• Activities:

    Stand Up Paddle, Kayaking

  • Skill Level:

    Beginner

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Lake
Romantic
Scenic

A perfect spot to enjoy the sunset with panoramic views of the Seattle Skyline, Queen Anne Hill, Gasworks Park & the Seattle Houseboats.

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.

Unless you live in Seattle and own a kayak or travel with an Oru Kayak, chances are you’ll need to rent. Luckily there are two companies to rent from directly on the lake. Northwest Outdoor Center, located on the west side of the lake and Moss Bay, located on the east side of the lake. Each has similar rental hours, but depending on the time within the season, there are chances you will need to return the kayaks prior to the sun actually setting. Based on the rental hours and sunset times, your best combinations are in Jan/Feb or Aug/Sept to return after the sun sets.

Once on the lake, there’s not a bad spot to catch the sunset. However, to plop yourself smack dab in the middle gives you panoramic views of Gasworks Park to the north, the houseboat rows to the east, the setting sun over Queen Anne Hill to the west and the stunning Seattle skyline to the south. Plus, the middle of the lake will allow a quick paddle back to any part of the shore or wherever you may have rented your kayak. Best paired with a tasty adult beverage, catching the sunset while kayaking on Lake Union is a can't miss Seattle experience.

Pack List

  • Kayak or SUP (rent if needed)
  • Life Jacket
  • Paddle
  • Waterproof Case
  • Camera
  • Adult Beverage(s)
  • Quick dry clothes & shoes
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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

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Even when the winds are high and waters are rough, paddling in Lake Union is generally save and easy to navigate. Take off after hours to avoid choppy water and heavy boat traffic - all you need after sunset is a headlamp, according to Seattle's light laws. Head east past the I5 and University bridges to Agua Verde where you can dock and enjoy a beer before heading home.

7 months ago
7 months ago

If you want to combine your adventure with volunteering you can do some trash pickups on kayak through http://www.pugetsoundkeeper.org/volunteer/ I did this for a college bio class and actually had a ton of fun with my kayak buddy!

8 months ago
8 months ago

UW also rents out canoes (as well as kayaks) for students to paddle around the lake for $6 an hour. However, I believe they require that you return the rental before sunset so you won't be able to capture these stunning shots with a rental, but it is still a great time! (Rentals located by the Husky Stadium)

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

I love kayaking Lake Union, but wow you got some great shots during this sunset... so lucky!

almost 2 years ago
almost 2 years ago

Lake Union is a great beginner kayaking adventure! I love paddling past Gas Works Park - it's cool to see from a different perspective.

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

kayaking around lake union is a ton of fun - highly recommend heading out to montlake to kayak underneath the 520 bridge and out to the arboretum. it is lovely!

over 2 years ago
over 2 years ago

Michael Gabbert Explorer

Minnesotan. Livin' in the North. Email: mjgabbert@gmail.com

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