Best Places To Kayak In Washington State

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What more exciting place to embark on a kayaking adventure than in one of the most beautiful parts of the United States, Washington state? The state with arguably one of the most diverse and breathtaking scenery undoubtedly makes Washington state an ideal location for kayakers, beginners, and experts alike. 

Kayaking in Washington State is undoubtedly one of the most popular activities in what is aptly known as The Evergreen State. The beautiful scenery and opportunities for wildlife sightings make Washington an ideal kayaking location. Popular kayaking spots include Orcas Island and Lake Wenatchee.

The Evergreen State is not just one of the best places to grab a cup of great coffee but is also known for its exquisite landscapes, several lakes and rivers, and of course, the ocean. If you are scouting the perfect location for a scenic kayaking adventure, find out why Washington could be the best place for you. 

Kayaking In Washington

Mountains, forests, and seemingly endless miles of gorgeous shoreline abound in Washington. You can undoubtedly find breathtaking beauty almost anywhere in The Evergreen State, and what better way to explore it all than on a kayak?

Aside from the Pacific Ocean being a top attraction, Washington is also known for its numerous protected islands that make the possibility of wildlife sightings almost guaranteed. Possible wildlife sightings include various species of birds, sea otters, and the ultimate showstoppers, killer whales (orcas).

A simple search online will show you several images and videos of people kayaking alongside killer whales, an unforgettable experience as you would imagine. 

Kayaking in Washington is also highly popular because of the local’s passion for fishing. In fact, the locals are so passionate about fishing that the state government released a mobile app outlining the regulations for fishing in every lake, river, and coastal area throughout the entire state. 

Whether you’re a beginner, an expert, or somewhere in between, looking for a brief outing or a multi-day camping vacation, there’s a kayaking opportunity for everyone in Washington, and it just might be one of the greatest locations to do it.

The Best Kayaking Spots In Washington

Find out why Washington is an ideal location for kayaking by taking a look at some of the best kayaking spots the state has to offer:

Orcas Island

Orcas Island is one of the larger islands in the San Juan Islands, located approximately north of Seattle on the Washington coast. Tourists flock to these islands, particularly Orcas Island, for the numerous opportunities to go whale watching. 

As you kayak across the exquisite Pacific Ocean, you will hopefully have the chance to see Orca whales, sea lions, and other beautiful marine life. Orcas Island also offers hiking and camping facilities, making an extended stay at this fantastic island a great option.

There are many kayaking rentals and tour companies on Orcas Island where you can rent a kayak to use. Orcas Island alone offers A 125-mile shoreline, and a quiet ocean makes Orcas Island an ideal spot for beginner kayakers. 

Lake Wenatchee

At the beautiful Lake Wenatchee, there is so much to see and do with 12,623 feet of shoreline and mountain views that surround the entirety of the lake.

Here, kayakers will be able to enjoy a panoramic view of forested mountains as well as a reflection of the mountains and the sky on the still, peaceful waters. It is worth noting, however, that if you wish to avoid the windy conditions later in the day, it will be best to start your paddle early in the morning.

Lake Wenatchee is surrounded by several amenities like hiking paths, campsites, picnic spots, as well as a launch area for kayakers since it has the advantage of being located in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Alki Beach

What better place to go kayaking than out on waters that hold great historical significance? Alki Beach is famous for being the location of the landing of the first white settlers in today’s widely popular city Seattle, welcomed by Chief Seattle himself. 

Kayaking at Alti Beach provides a great perspective of the city, including the Space Needle, Seattle’s most renowned landmark. There are additional opportunities to witness coastal species such as seals and the bald eagle, the country’s national bird.

Kayak rentals are available at the beach park, or you can launch your own vessel and explore on your own. There are also kayak trips that will tell you about the city’s and region’s history as you paddle.

Kayaking at Alti Beach is a must for kayakers and adventure seekers, as it offers breathtaking viewpoints of the Olympic Mountains and is overall a beautiful piece of history not to be missed.

Alki Beach also offers several hiking and camping options, which in turn makes it a suitable location to take some time off work and spend a good couple of days.

Lake Washington

Lake Washington is a vast freshwater lake located in Seattle, Washington. It is the largest natural lake in King County and the second largest in Washington, after Lake Chelan, which is located between Seattle and Bellevue.

Lake Washington is a favorite destination for city inhabitants and visitors alike since it provides a quick nature day excursion and a break from the hustle and bustle of city living. Part of what makes it a popular spot for the locals is that fishing is allowed on the lake. Bass, Trout, and Yellow Perch are common catches here. 

Launching your kayak at Enatai Beach Park is a popular starting point. From here, you can explore the nearby Mercer Slough Nature Park’s wide variety of wildlife. As always, it is great to know that kayak rentals are available here, so no need to worry if you do not have your own equipment.

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is another excellent spot for those with a passion for kayaking, and since it is Washington state, a great place for fishing too! This immaculate park boasts several rivers and lakes for kayaking, including Lake Crescent, Lake Ozette, and the Ozette River.

What makes it a popular spot for kayak fishing is that it is one of the few locations where a fishing license is not required unless you would like to fish in the ocean, of course. 

The Olympic National Park will undoubtedly steal your heart with even a quick Google search of some images of the forests and waters it has to offer. It should definitely be considered when planning a kayak outing. 


The Evergreen State should certainly be high up on your list of places to visit for a kayaking trip. With so many beautiful locations filled with some of the best scenery the country has to offer, it is no wonder why Washington is a popular kayaking destination. Grab your paddle, your kayak, and get ready for a great time exploring the beauty of Washington!