I’d Rather Be Boating… Pacific Northwest edition

Introducing our new blog series, “I’d Rather Be Boating,” where we dive into destinations best experienced on the water. For today’s destination, we explore the Pacific Northwest’s beautiful Washington state.

Enjoy our quick guide from Seattle to the San Juan Islands on how you can get your feet wet, climb aboard a variety of boats and replicate a similar trip.


It’s easy to understand why boating is a part of the Seattle culture. With Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands easily accessible, being on the water is commonplace. Here’s a few of our favorite on-water experiences:

Seattle Downtown Sailing Series
A favorite on-water activity on the Sound is the weekly Downtown Sailing Series. Experienced and novice sailors take to their boats, or hop on a friend’s, and enjoy a friendly sail competition, or even a relaxing cruise – both with the backdrop of the Seattle skyline in the sunset. The local boating crowd looks forward to the Series festivities, which concludes with a lively barbecue at Elliott Bay Marina.

Lake Washington
Outside Puget Sound, freshwater boating adventures await. Adjacent to Seattle, Lake Washington provides an ideal escape for anyone looking for a relaxing cruise to action-packed watersports.

Lake Washington offers an abundance of options for boaters. Those looking for more of a social or relaxing boat cruise can take in the views and even get a rare tour of waterfront homes belonging to big executives from Starbucks, Nordstrom, Microsoft and more. Those looking for on-water thrills can take advantage of Lake Washington’s calm waters and create their own wake from tubing to wakesurfing and more.

San Juan Islands

Just 80 miles north of Seattle is a boater’s paradise – the San Juan Islands. Tucked between the U.S. and Vancouver Island, Canada, the San Juan archipelago consists of more than 450 islands at high tide surrounded by intricate straits and waterways.  One of the best ways to explore this beautiful landscape is by boat.


From Lopez Island to San Juan Island – there’s so much to do in addition to the scenic cruising, including:  crabbing, salmon fishing, whale-watching, sea kayaking, picturesque sunsets and wildlife gazing.  Whatever the on-water interest, the Pacific Northwest’s stunning San Juan Islands have it all.

Looking to replicate a similar trip? Read our full article: Traveling the Pacific Northwest’s San Juan Islands by Boat.


Seattle Sailing: Head to Elliot Bay Marina to learn more about joining the on-water fun. Make sure to inquire about their rentals, charters and other offerings.

Seattle Sailing Instruction:  Seattle Sailing Club has been the premier sailing instruction hub since 1968. For sailing and powerboating lessons and multi-day charters, visit Windworks Sailing.

Lake Washington: Seattle Boat Co. is the one stop shop for all powerboats and watersports on Lake Washington. Make sure to ask about their rentals and FunShare program offering access to a fleet of boats ready for cruising or watersports.

San Juan Islands Boat Charter: Anacortes Yacht Charters  offers a range of boats – perfect for various budgets and group sizes. This expert crew will also help customize your San Juan Islands adventure.

San Juan Islands Salmon Fishing: Have one of these experienced local fishing charters out of Anacortes show you the ropes: Dash One Charters, Catchmore Charters.

Lopez Island Kayaking: Bill and Karen Corson run the Outdoor Adventure Center on Lopez Island with a menu of salt and fresh water kayaking adventures.