There is no doubt that when the sun comes out, so do all the stand-up paddleboarders, kayakers, and boaters. There is nothing like watching the beautiful Emerald City light up from the bright sun rays against the sapphire blue sky. Summer reminds us that we truly live in a special place surrounded by evergreen forests, mountains, and water.
Here is our list of the best places to take your paddleboard for a spin throughout Summer and any day that we are lucky to get some sunshine!
#1 Lake Union
Lake Union is regarded as one of the most popular destinations for paddleboarders. There is a huge community of paddleboarders and outdoor enthusiasts in Seattle. If you’re riding solo and want to make friends, this is the best location for socializing on your SUP board.
What we love about this location is that you get both views of the Downtown Seattle skyline and Gas Works Park. It’s easy to navigate from shore to shore and there are many places to inflate and launch your SUP boards.
Two common launch spots are from the Sunnyside boat ramp at the north end of the lake and near the docks at Moss Bay rentals (located on the waterfront). After you board, we highly recommend checking out the restaurants and bars in East Lake for a bite to eat or cold refreshing beer.
Greenlake is a great place for paddleboarding. You can launch from almost any part of the lake. The waters are usually calm, making the lake a perfect place for both beginner and intermediate paddleboarders. You can also rent paddleboards and kayaks for day use.
#3 Elliott Bay + Olympic Sculpture Park
Elliott Bay is a great place to catch the sunset while you paddleboard. You can launch from anywhere along the coast. There is a nice beach area that you can launch that is near the Olympic Sculpture Park amphitheater.
We love this destination because you can see all the sculptures along the park and it’s one of the best places to watch the sunset over the Olympic Mountains in Seattle.
#4 The Ship Canal in Fremont
In between Lake Union and the Puget Sound is The Ship Canal at Fremont. We love this secret paddleboarding spot because it is challenging for intermediate paddleboarders. It will definitely require some skill to launch from this area, but it will be worth it. The canal will take you through the Arboretum and have incredible views of downtown Seattle.
You can also go through U-District where you’ll be able to see boats and deep-sea fishing vessels that supply Pike Place Market establishments.
Launch from the docks near the Fisherman’s Terminal and stick to the sides of the canal. Be wary of boats that use the canal as a passageway. The wake from a larger vessel can knock you off and into the canal, so be very careful and wear a lifejacket.
#5 Discovery Park
Discovery Park is the largest city park in Seattle that is surrounded by water. We recommend parking and launching from the West Point Lighthouse and going along the perimeter of the park.
You can get off the beaten track and hike through to discover some beautiful secret beaches on your paddleboard. We like visiting “surfer’s beach” at Point Shilshole and even the Maybe you can make it all the way to “surfer’s beach” at Point Shilshole.
#6 Shilshole Bay/Golden Gardens
This spot hits all the checkboxes. Shilshole offers beautiful beaches near Golden Gardens and is ideal for a sunset boarding session. The mountain backdrop makes this spot on the Puget Sound one of our top destinations.
Park and launch from the north side of the marina and be sure to watch out for boats as this dock can be very busy during sunny days. You can also launch from Golden Gardens and make your way around Shilshole Marina.
#7 North Lake Washington
Lake Washington is a freshwater lake that is calm and nice for paddleboarding. It’s great for all levels and for those who just want to chill on their boards.
From here you can see Mt. Rainer on a clear day. The best launch sites include Matthews Beach Park, St. Edward Park, or Sand Point. There is plenty of parking in this area.
#8 Juanita Beach Park
Juanita Beach Park is a short drive to the east side from Seattle. Parking can be a little tricky, so come early and stay for a while.
We love that the waters are calm and roped off so that you know exactly where you are allowed to go.
#9 Marina Park
The east side of Lake Washington has superb paddle spots ideal for beginners and families to hit the water. This is nearby Juanita Beach park.
West of Lake Washington is the Washington Park Arboretum in University District. Dubbed as the “urban everglades”, the narrow waterways are shaded by trees giving shade and a dreamy landscape to your escape in nature.
#11 Seward Park
Seward Park is an amazing place for paddleboarding in Seattle. It’s located in the southern part of Lake Washington and is a great place for beginners and intermediate boarders who want an epic view. The waters are pretty calm in this part of town.
The best launch site is from Andrews Bay opposite of Mercer Island. From there you can paddle around and view some of Seattle’s most iconic bridges and Mount Rainier.
#12 Alki Beach in West Seattle
Alki offers the best unobstructed view of the Downtown Seattle skyline. You can launch your paddleboard from a small beach area next to Salty’s on Alki restaurant. Take your paddleboard along the Alki coastline to see the Alki Point Lighthouse, Lincoln Park and stop by to visit the shops along North Alki Beach.
Afterward, dine at Salty’s and enjoy some delicious seafood and amazing views of the Puget Sound. We highly recommend their Sunday brunch fare.
#13 Magnuson Park
Magnuson Park has a sand beach that you can easily launch from. Afterward, you can use their barbeque areas to have a picnic with your friends.
It’s also dog friend, so bring your pup!
Best SUP Rental Companies in Seattle
You don’t need your own paddleboard to get the full experience. You can check out one of these rental stores to begin your paddleboard experience. Renting is also great for travelers who are experienced in paddleboarding and want to get out and experience what the Greater Seattle area has to offer.
- Greenlake Boathouse, Greenlake
- Agua Verde, Shilshole Bay
- Alki Kayak Tours, Alki Beach
- Ballard Kayak, Shilshole Bay
- Moss Bay Rentals, Moss Bay
- North West Paddle Surfers, Juanita Beach, Marina Beach, Kirkland, and Seward Park (Lake Washington)
Seattle has so many outdoor activities to enjoy. Paddleboarding is just one of them. We highly recommend trying it out at one of our beautiful paddleboarding destinations.
So go ahead and grab a paddleboard and start exploring the Emerald City!