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Washington State is a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts, and paddleboarders are joining the pilgrimage! Washington offers many opportunities for fans of the growing sport with its ocean, rivers, and numerous lakes. The state’s diverse climate and terrain invite all levels of explorers. You can experience the deserts or mountains in solitude, or immerse yourself in the crackling energy of the Seattle nightlife. So pack your paddle board, and let’s head to Washington!
Stay Close to Seattle at Lake Sammamish, WA
Eight miles east of Seattle, lies Lake Sammamish State Park. This 531-acre park is family-friendly and welcomes dogs (just be sure to bring a leash). It is an urban oasis, protecting the unique habitat and wildlife of the wetlands.
In addition to the two lakefront beaches, the park offers hiking trails through the forest and wetlands. Bring your GPS for geocaching and your binoculars for bird watching. You may spot one of the blue heron or bald eagle residents!
Paddleboarders will enjoy 7 miles of lake to explore. The serene waters invite SUP enthusiasts of all skill levels. If you don’t have your own board, rentals are available at Tibbetts Beach.
Get a Little Excitement at Deception Pass, WA
Deception Pass State Park, Washington’s most frequented state park, is truly unique. The sanctuary is situated on two islands connected by the Canoe Pass and Deception Pass bridges.
Less experienced paddleboarders may opt for freshwater SUPing on one of the three lakes in the park.
Paddleboarders seeking adventure will be delighted by the jagged cliffs, high bridge, and mysterious coves to explore.
Only experienced SUPers should paddle the pass, and should never paddle alone. Make sure you know the tide tables so you don’t get caught in a flood tide.
Seasoned SUPers can also challenge themselves on the open ocean. As you set sail off the coast, take in the spectacular sunset and dramatic mountain views. You may also find yourself gliding amongst the whales and seals that inhabit the untamed waters.
Paddle Boarding at Deception Pass
Catch the German Spirit in Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth is situated between Seattle and Spokane, right in the heart of the Cascades. Paddleboarders heading for Leavenworth will hear the call of the Wenatchee River that runs through the center of this Bavarian village.
SUPers can customize their trip down the Wenatchee River to make it as low-key or as thrilling as they please.
If you desire a leisurely pace, pack a cooler and coast down the river. Take in the spectacular mountain views and search for local wildlife like osprey, eagles, or even black bears on the shore. Stop off at one of the sandy beaches, jump off rocks, or bring your snorkel gear. You may even opt for some SUP yoga as you lightly drift.
But if you are on a thrill-seeking adventure, challenge yourself on the rapids. Spring brings high waters and the opportunity for white water paddle boarding. From access points like Happy Wave and Rodeo Hole, there are eddies to jump into so you can surf the endless wave.
Paddle boarding the Wenatchee River can also be a great work out. Paddle down the river, turn around, and then paddle back up – salmon style!
Baker Lake, WA - Best for Views and Fewer People
Traveling two hours northeast from Seattle into Washington’s North Cascades will bring you to Baker Lake. This paddle boarding oasis lies in the foothills of the majestic Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan.
Baker Lake provides you with over eight miles of pristine water adventure.
For a leisurely ride, head out in the morning when the waters are calm. The afternoons will bring more excitement as the cooling winds increase the water currents.
On your journey, you will find plenty of camping and picnic sites where you can dock, swim, picnic, or even camp overnight.
The Kulshan Campground and Panorama Point Campground are popular launching points that will lead you to scenic inlets and beaches.
From the Swift Creek Campground at the mouth of Swift Creek, you will be awe-struck as you find yourself surrounded by Mount Baker to the west, Mount Shuskan to the north, and Mount Blum to the east.
Try the Open Water near Blake Island Marine State Park, WA
Blake Island Marine State Park is an island located a few miles west of Seattle, between Bainbridge and Vashon Islands. It is only reachable by boat…or paddle board!
On your open water paddle to the island, look up for breathtaking views of Seattle and the Olympic Mountains or look down to observe the thriving sea life directly below you.
Your paddle boarding trip can be guided, independent, short, or long to accommodate your skill level. For example, launching from Southworth Ferry Dock is a 1.12-mile trip, while launching from Fauntleroy Park is a 4.2-mile trip.
Once you reach the island, you have the option to hike the forested terrain or explore by water. The park also showcases a traditionally prepared fish dinner and live stage performance featuring Northwest Native American storytelling offered by Argosy Cruises Tillicum Excursion.
Colchuck Lake, WA - Get Away From the Crowds
You arrange your hiking gear and inflatable SUP, ready to take on the 4-mile Colchuck Lake Trail. Just outside of Leavenworth, the route is accessible to most hikers, but it is steep and rocky at times. You make it over the bridges, and possibly ice and snow. When you finally emerge from the trees, you are rewarded with the breathtaking view of Colchuck Lake.
Inflate your SUP, and then embrace the icy waters. The blue, shimmering Alpine lake is surrounded by lush forest, granite boulders, and maybe even mountain goats! Above, you will see the snow-covered beauty of Dragontail and Colchuck Peaks.
Find Your Place
Whether you are looking for leisure or thrills on your paddle board, Washington has the whole package: stunning scenery, a variety of terrain, exciting wildlife. Washington is your gateway to an unforgettable SUP adventure!