Best Places to SUP in Washington State

The Evergreen State is one truly not one to miss as you do your SUP tour of the US. The beauty of the state is truly breathtaking and there is no better way to take it in than the unique vantage point a stand up paddle board gives you.

Some call Washington State the “Switzerland of the US” and once you’ve spent some time paddle boarding their waterways, you will understand why. Sure, it rains a fair amount in the Pacific Northwest but that’s the reason it’s so incredibly lush and green. 

If SUPing in the rain is less than optimal for you, we suggest you plan your paddling tour between July and mid-October.  Whether it’s bright and sunny or gray and dripping, these spots will all make for a glorious day on your paddle board.

 

Lake Union

Where to paddle board in Lake Union

Lake Union is a freshwater lake located entirely within the city limits of Seattle.  It is a major part of the Lake Washington Ship Canal.

The easternmost point of the lake is the Ship Canal Bridge, which carries Interstate 5 over the eastern arm of the lake and separates Lake Union from Portage Bay.

The Seattle skyline and mountains make for a perfect backdrop for any paddle boarding adventure, but Lake Union is especially unique with seaplanes, house boats, and spectacular skyline views.  

As the sun sets over Queen Anne Hill, there are few better places to be in Seattle than Lake Union. Sitting just 2 miles from downtown Seattle, the Lake is a quick escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

No matter the season, catching a sunset and dusk on the lake is absolutely stunning. 

There are several launch spots around the lake but the dock at 9th street to be the most accessible.

Pick up a Glide SUP rental board at Northwest Outdoor Center.

 

San Juan Islands

San Juan Island Paddle Boarding

There are a few ways to get to the San Juan’s from Washington State. You can take a power boat or charter a sailboat, but most take the San Juan Clipper ferry from Seattle and arrive in about three and a half hours.

All of the islands are beautiful, and you can’t go wrong whether you choose to stay on Orcas, Lopez, Shaw or San Juan Island.

San Juan Island is a natural place to begin your introduction to the archipelago. In many ways, Friday Harbor serves as a front door to the San Juans.

Begin your San Juan Island SUP journey by paddling southeast to the area between San Juan and Lopez Islands to escape the heavier boat traffic and attempt a glimpse of the San Juans’ famous orca whales.  

As you paddle the rocky shorelines and coves, listen to the waves lapping and search for water-dwelling creatures—besides orcas there are also sea lions, seals, porpoises, otters, starfish, anemones, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and even octopus. 

Rent your paddle board at Sound Yoga and SUP or Blue Otter Outfitters.

 

Sammamish River Slough

 

Sammamish River paddle boarding

The Sammamish River flows for about 14 miles from Lake Sammamish into Lake Washington. The water is slow moving with minimal current.

There are several drop points along the river, but if you want to do roughly the full river, you will want to drop in from Marymoor Park as you can’t get into the river by SUP directly from Lake Sammamish.

The water through Marymoor is the swiftest water you’ll find along the Sammamish River, which is still not that fast.

You’re likely to see hundreds of birds and, on a clear day, schools of fish directly below you. Through the duration of your paddle, you’ll pass through housing developments, business parks, golf courses, parks, and quiet wetlands.

This is a very peaceful paddle that parallels the Sammamish River trail where you’ll see bicyclists, runners, and occasional fisherman.

Pick up a rental board at What’s SUP.

 

Columbia River

Places to paddle board in Washington State USA

Washington's Tri-Cities make up the biggest desert metropolis in the Pacific Northwest. Fortunately, they have the Columbia River flowing right through town. 

Each of the three cities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland) embrace the river and help citizens and visitors take to the water in SUP’s and kayaks.

Many Washington west-siders will head to this side of the state when they need a “sun fix” as the region boasts of 300 sunny days a year.

In 2000, the federal government created the 195,000-acre Hanford Reach National Monument, opening 70,000 acres of the area to the public, including the last non-tidal, free-flowing section of the Columbia in the country, which runs from Priest Rapids Dam to Richland, Wash.

Since it was off limits to humans for so long, it’s become a Mecca for wildlife with its sage brushed steppes home to deer, desert elk, coyotes and more.

Above, you’ll find everything from eagles and great blue heron to pelicans and Caspian terns, while below your SUP you can fish for trophy bass, steelhead, ancient white sturgeon and Chinook salmon spawning their way upstream.

Rent a Glide stand up paddle board at Northwest Paddleboarding or Greenies.

 

Wenatchee River

Safe places to paddle board in the US

The town of Leavenworth sits on the Wenatchee and is made up of Tudor revival architecture, a Bavarian Village style shopping area, an annual Bavarian Christmas celebration and one of the largest Oktoberfest celebrations outside of Munich, Leavenworth offers up a little slice of Germany in the center of its spectacular Pacific Northwest landscape, but it also offers access to some of the most scenic paddle boarding in the state.

The Wentatchee river adds a new element to paddle boarding, the constant movement of the water is always presenting new challenges to your balance. 

It is a great river for novices and more advanced paddle boarders alike. When the river is at its highest in the spring, the rapids present satisfyingly formidable challenges for true fanatics.

Once the river mellows come summer, it is a perfect place for beginning SUP enthusiasts to get their first taste of white water.

Leavenworth Outdoor Center offers SUP rentals as well as tours down both the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers. 

 

Conclusion

The Evergreen State is one truly not one to miss as you do your SUP tour of the US. The beauty of the state is truly breathtaking and there is no better way to take it in than the unique vantage point a stand up paddle board gives you.

 

Related Topics

Best Places to SUP in California

The Abridged History of SUP

Paddle Surfing Etiquette

Acro Yoga On A Paddle Board That Will Amaze You

SUP Fishing For Beginners