5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle
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5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

5 Ways to Get Out on the Water in Seattle

While Seattle has much to offer visitors on land, there are many worthwhile experiences to be had offshore, as well. To help beef up your Emerald City itinerary, here are the best ways to get out on the water in Seattle. 

1. Go whale watching.

Thanks to its proximity to the San Juan Islands in salmon-rich Puget Sound, Seattle is a popular destination for whale watching. You’ll be able to spot gray, humpback, and minke whales, as well as orcas, sea lions, seals, porpoises, and seabirds.

2. Ride the ferry.

Washington State has one of the largest ferry systems in the United States, making it a breeze to get from Seattle to the San Juan Islands, Blake Island (the birthplace of Chief Seattle), gallery-filled Bainbridge Island, or Victoria on Canada’s Vancouver Island.

3. Embark on a whitewater rafting adventure.

Seattle’s surrounding rivers boast whitewater rapids prime for an adrenaline-fueled adventure. First-timers and families can tackle the easy waves of the Wenatchee River or Upper Skagit River, while those looking for a bigger thrill can brave the Class 3 and 4 rapids of the Sauk River. The Skykomish River, meanwhile, offers the most challenging rapids in the state.

4. Set sail.

From Lake Union to the Puget Sound, Seattle offers excellent sailing. Hop aboard a sailboat with a professional captain for a hands-on lesson, where you’ll learn the basics of navigating a small vessel. During the tutorial, soak in views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains.

5. Enjoy a sightseeing harbor cruise.

Take in the Seattle skyline, including Mount Rainier and the Space Needle, during a narrated cruise through Seattle Harbor and Elliott Bay. Alternatively, see the Ballard Locks, another of the city’s top attractions, aboard an entertaining, educational tour of the ship canal.

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8 Tours and Activities

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Seattle Harbor Cruise

Seattle Harbor Cruise

star-4.5
1058
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Seattle from Elliot Bay and Seattle Harbor on this narrated cruise. Learn about Seattle’s historic waterfront and get an up-close look at one of the world's largest shipping terminals. Take in the view of the city’s skyline with a spectacular panoramic background of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, including majestic Mt. Rainier. Food and beverages are available for purchase onboard the ship.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$43.00
From
US$43.00

Best of Olympic National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Day Tour

Best of Olympic National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Day Tour

star-5
569
Experience the beauty of the great outdoors in the Pacific Northwest on this all-day, guided,small-group tour of Olympic National Park. From beaches and mountains to forests and farms, explore this spectacular wilderness park on a series of nature walks with a naturalist guide. Ride along in a luxury van or SUV, then stroll through the country’s oldest forests or along beaches with a breathtaking view of the Olympic Mountains. A light breakfast and gourmet picnic lunch, plus hotel pickup and drop-off, are included on this tour.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$308.06
From
US$308.06

Private Sailing Adventure on the Puget Sound

Private Sailing Adventure on the Puget Sound

star-5
62
Sail the seas around Seattle on this private, 3-hour adventure to Puget Sound. Climb aboard the S/V Kingsley and set sail from the Shilshole Bay Marina with an experienced captain leading the way. Learn how to sail or simply sit back and enjoy the view. See an abundance of marine wildlife, the downtown Seattle skyline — including the iconic Space Needle — plus incredible views of the Olympic Mountains, featuring majestic Mount Rainier in the distance.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$549.00
per group
From
US$549.00
per group

Seattle Locks Cruise - One-Way Tour

Seattle Locks Cruise - One-Way Tour

star-4.5
134
Pass through the renowned Ballard Locks and learn about the complex system on a cruise that transports you between the freshwater of Lake Union and the saltwater of Puget Sound. The one-way cruise can be used as transportation, making it ideal for travelers who want to avoid traffic and enjoy a unique journey from the Seattle waterfront to the AGC Marina on South Lake Union (or vice versa).
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$59.54
From
US$59.54

Seattle Locks Cruise - Roundtrip Tour With Return Bus

Seattle Locks Cruise - Roundtrip Tour With Return Bus

star-4.5
313
Enjoy the sights and sounds of Seattle from the water on this 2.5-hour narrated cruise along Ballard Locks, one of the the city’s most popular tourist attractions. Learn about Seattle’s historic waterfront and take in the view of the city’s skyline with a spectacular panoramic background of the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, including majestic Mt Rainier. See the houseboat and waterfront homes of the area’s rich and famous. Food and beverages are available for purchase on board the boat.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$76.07
From
US$76.07

Shared Sunset Cruise from Gig Harbor on Puget Sound

Shared Sunset Cruise from Gig Harbor on Puget Sound

star-5
79
This cruise takes you through the heart of Puget Sound. It is the only public sunset cruise on Puget Sound with this extended duration and distance traveled, nearly 30 miles, round trip. Our cruise is available to individual travelers rather than groups only. Our vessel, "RIVIERA" is a restored, USCG certified, classic Northwest built charter boat. She and her captain and crew are steeped in Puget Sound legacy and experience. This is a smooth-water cruise. Wildlife ranges from seagulls to Bald Eagles, seals and sea lions. Can't miss Mt. Rainier for hours and the Olympic Mountain range unimpeded except for some clouds. You can bring-your-own snacks and drinks, no alcohol please. This is an interactive trip where we candidly and casually interpret our surroundings. There is plenty of time on this cruise where you are left to enjoy the cruise without interruption. We will talk with you and answer your questions along the way. (Senior Age is 62. Tour is recommended for ages 10 and above.)
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$75.00
From
US$75.00

Guided Seattle Sailing Adventure from Bainbridge Island

Guided Seattle Sailing Adventure from Bainbridge Island

star-5
60
See Seattle’s striking skyline from the water’s edge—and admire a new perspective on the Pacific Northwest scenery—aboard this private sailing tour from Bainbridge Island. Meet your captain at the Bainbridge Island City Dock, hop aboard the sailboat, and set off through Eagle Harbor before raising sails. You can see Seattle and Mt. Rainier, look out for seals and whales, and soak up the peaceful ambiance of Puget Sound.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$295.00
per group
From
US$295.00
per group

Private Seattle Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Private Seattle Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise

star-5
7
Cruise Lake Union to see Seattle's best sights from the water while sipping your favorite cocktail on this private cruise. Enjoy personalized attention from the staff and captain for your private group as you make your way past famous sights such as the Fremont Bridge, the Space Needle, and St. Mark's Cathedral. Bring a picnic or food from a favorite restaurant to munch on while you travel. This family-friendly cruise welcomes all ages.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
US$559.00
per group
From
US$559.00
per group