August 24, 2020 6 min read

Where To Paddle Board In Seattle

The sun sparkles and glows on the Emerald City. Seattle is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) that is surrounded by mountains, evergreen forests, and water. This gives the excellent potential for super special places to visit with a SUP. In fact, paddle boarding Seattle throws you into the magic and shows you a different side of the city.

Discover more to the city of tech that is home to digital giants like Amazon and Microsoft. The state of Washington is renowned for its natural beauty and this can still be found within the capital city. Check out some of these stunning locations to experience some distinctly PNW paddle boarding adventures.

Lake Union

Boat on Lake Union, Seattle Washington

Lake Union is the most popular spot for SUP in Seattle. This is an excellent place to meet other paddle board enthusiasts if you are riding solo and looking to make friends.

The views of the city are breathtaking. Be sure to take an action camera along for the ride to snap some pictures of the beautiful scenery.

Launch from Sunnyside boat ramp at the north of the lake, to make your life easier, and we recommend you stop off at Ivar’s Seafood House for their world-famous Clam Chowder.

Moss Bay

Southside of Lake Union is Moss Bay. This is an awesome location for both tourists and locals to enjoy easy paddling.

Moss Bay is excellent forbeginners or first-time paddle boarders to hit the water and get the basics mastered. Make the most of rentals, tours, and kid camps from Moss Bay Rental located right on the waterfront.

The Ship Canal at Fremont and U-District

Fremont ship canal, washington

In between Lake Union and Puget Sound is The Ship Canal at Fremont. This spot is a secret paddle boarding location that is a good challenge for intermediate paddlers to test their comfort zones.

Hit the water at docks near S3 Maritime or Fisherman’s Terminal and take in the sights. Stick to the sides and be cautious of boats that use the canal as a passageway. You don’t want to get caught out by a larger wake from a boat that can send you overboard. The PNW is beautiful, but the water is chilly, even in the summertime. Make sure you dress appropriately for your aquatic adventure.

The Fremont region of the river gives access to the Arboretum and incredible views of downtown Seattle. Whereas the U-District to the west gives you the opportunity to see more of the boats including the deep sea fishing vessels that bring Seattle's famous fresh seafood to Pike Place Market.

Discovery Park

Just a hop away is Discovery Park, the largest city park in Seattle which is surrounded by water. Park up and launch from the Westpoint Lighthouse.

If you have your own inflatable stand up paddle board, then get off the beaten track and hike through to discover some beautiful secret beaches. Maybe you can make it all the way to “surfer’s beach” at Point Shilshole for a real adventure.

Lake Washington, North

Paddle board seattle - lake washington north

Next up we have the splendid Lake Washington. This freshwater lake is a nice and relaxing change from the other paddle spots around Seattle.

Any level of paddler can enjoy these super calm waters and take in spectacular views of Mt. Rainer. Just watch out for the winds, typically in the afternoon, that can get a bit gusty over the lake. Head to Matthews Beach Park, St. Edward Park, or Sand Point for easy launch sites.

Shilshole Bay/Golden Gardens

This spot hits all the checkboxes. Shilshole offers beautiful beaches ideal for taking a break out from the world and even making camp for a real getaway. The mountain backdrop makes this spot on the Puget Sound incredible.

Get up close and personal with superb sea life right from your SUP. You can also double up your trip with a visit to the Golden Gardens which is magnificent in the late summertime.

Park up and launch from the north side of the Marina and be sure to check tides and weather conditions before setting off.

Seward Park

Seward park

Seward Park is a solid favorite for paddle boarding in Seattle. Located in the southern part of Lake Washington, this is a great place for beginners to hit the water and be safe.

The easiest and best launch site is from Andrews Bay opposite to Mercer Island. If you are up for more of a challenge then try paddling from Seward Park up and around Mercer Island under some of Seattle’s iconic bridges.

Juanita Beach Park and Marina Park

The east side of Lake Washington has superb paddle spots ideal for beginners and families to hit the water. Both Juanita Beach Park and Marina Park have rental facilities available if you are renting paddle boards for the day.


West of Lake Washington is the Washington Park Arboretum in the University District. Dubbed as the “urban everglades”, the narrow waterways are shaded by trees giving a beautiful escape to nature.

Alki Beach

Man paddle boarding on Alki beach, Seattle

Want to get the best view of the city? Then paddle out at Alki Beach for a skyline view that will take your breath away. The summer months can get crowded with beachgoers and other paddle boarders.

Begin your paddle from Salty’s Restaurant, that also offers a great menu for after your session, and make your way south to see the Alki Point Lighthouse and Lincoln Park.

Green Lake

And last, but not least, we have Green Lake, Seattle’s central park. Here you can soak up the rays while paddling laps. These calm waters are great for both beginners or intermediates looking to practice their skills.

There are easy entry points all around the lake. However, the west side of the lake offers more secluded areas for a peaceful experience. You can find several rental stores available if you need to rent paddle boards or gear.

Bonus SUP Spot Just Outside Seattle

Lake Sammamish

Brown wooden dock on Lake Sammamish, Washington

Are you looking to get out of the city for a quick getaway? Lake Sammamish is a perfect location just a stone’s throw away. No matter the time of year you will not see a crowd here and it is perfect for beginners.

The water is calm and you can even paddle over a sunken forest down in the southern part close to Greenwood Point. Enjoy this paddle in nature and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife out on the water.

San Juan Islands

Again, another spot for more advanced paddlers. The San Juan Islands offers fantastic open water paddling with high chances of spotting a whale on the horizon or up close and personal.

Why not make a weekend trip out of it at this out-of-town paddle boarding spot. The drive is just over 3 hours one way and you will be sure to make some excellent memories out on the water.

Deception Pass

A bridge spanning over a river

The name says a lot about this spot. Deception Pass is strictly reserved for advanced paddlers only who can handle strong and tricky currents.

If you are up for the challenge, then you can paddle in the strait between Whidbey and Fidalgo islands for a super exhilarating and fast-paced paddle on the water.

SUP Rental Companies in the Seattle Area

If you haven’t got your own paddle boarding gear yet don’t worry. Check out one of these excellent rental stores to get some Seattle paddle boarding experience.

Interactive Map of Paddle Boarding in Seattle

Wrapping Up

Seattle is not only the Emerald City but it is also one of the most dog-friendly cities going. Almost all of the parks and beaches allow entry for fur-babies meaning you can happily paddle board with your dog.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your paddle, inflate your SUP, and get out there!

Warren Tsoi
Warren Tsoi

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