Summer Water Sports in Seattle, and Where to do Them

Between the Puget Sound, Lake Union, Lake Washington, and more, Seattle is a prime spot for water sports in the summer.

Despite occasional bouts of rain, summer in the Pacific Northwest is heating up. At any sign of sun, Seattlites take to the streets and the surf to soak up every last drop of sunshine, and why not join them? Seattle is surrounded by bodies of water perfect for all kinds of summer water sports. All you need to know is where to go to have the best waterfront experience. 



Alki Kayak Tours is the one-stop shop for kayaking experiences in Seattle. This rental shop is located right at the water taxi stop on Alki Beach so that visitors from the downtown can hop right into a boat. From here, you can take a kayaking class or go on a guided kayak tour of the Puget Sound. Take a couple of hours to see either the Alki Lighthouse or Elliot Bay. Go out at sunset for the West Seattle Sunset tour or at night for the full moon tour. If you’re feeling really adventurous, try their overnight kayak tour to Blake Island. They also offer a custom tour option, so it can be up to you how you’d like to see the vast, beautiful Puget Sound. 



If you want to earn your sea legs and learn to sail, Sail Sand Point on Lake Washington is the place to go. Here, you can take Adult Sailing 101, a 10-hour course that covers the basics of sailing. You’ll be set up with two other beginner sailors on your boat and get firsthand experience at the helm of a sailboat. Sail Sand Point also offers camps and children’s programs, so you can get the whole family involved in learning to sail. If you’d rather just be along for the ride on a sailboat, Let’s Go Sailing on Pier 56 offers daily voyages in the Puget Sound. You’ll see the skyline, Mount Rainier, and the idyllic waters all without lifting a finger. 



For paddle-boarding, take to Green Lake. It’s a small, man-made lake nestled in between the Wallingford and Roosevelt neighborhoods. It’s not as vast as Lake Washington, which makes it perfect to learn how to paddleboard. Stand-up paddle-boarding is a literal balancing act, and it may not come naturally at first. Falling in is normal, and it won’t be as intimidating to fall in when you can see the shore from every angle. Practice your paddling across Green Lake and enjoy the scenery with their hourly paddleboard rentals. See if you can make it across the lake to its small island. 



If you want a little more of an edge to your waterfront fun, try learning to windsurf at Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Center on Lake Washington. They offer three-day courses that will teach you the fundamentals of windsurfing, including balance, how to adjust sails, and wind knowledge as it applies. It’s fun, thrilling, and a cool new skill to wow your friends with. What more could you ask for from a summer water adventure? 



Ok, this isn’t so much of a water sport as it is just something fun to do on the water. Hot Tub Boats is a Lake Union-based company that rents exactly what they’re named for: boats that are equipped with hot tubs. Gather up to six people and rent a hot tub boat for a few hours. You’ll tour around Lake Union to see Gasworks Park, the houseboats, and a unique, luxurious view of the Seattle skyline, all without breaking a sweat. You can steer the boat an easy-to-use joystick. 



Swimming is a great way to enjoy the water without spending too much money on rentals. Although the Puget Sound is icy and maybe too foreboding for casual swimmers–it reaches a peak temperature of a frigid 56 degrees in mid-July–Lake Washington is just east of the city, and it’s a bit warmer, so your summer swim won’t feel like a polar plunge. Matthews Beach is on the northern end of Lake Washington, and it’s the total package for summer swimmers. It’s along the Burke-Gilman trail, so you can work up a sweat biking there then cool off in the water. There’s a big grassy field for picnicking and sunbathing. The swimming area here is complete with a floating dock with a high dive for thrill-seekers. Don’t worry, there are always lifeguards on duty here. 


Whether you choose to paddle across Green Lake, splash around in Lake Washington, or kayak in the Puget Sound, water sports in Seattle couldn’t be better. There’s an adventure for everyone, and the experience of being on the water can’t be beat. 


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