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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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7 Tours and Activities

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Seattle Harbor Cruise

Seattle Harbor Cruise

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554
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
From
$36.38
From
$36.38

Seattle Locks Cruise

Seattle Locks Cruise

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45
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
From
$51.82
From
$51.82

Full-Day Small-Group Bainbridge Island Wine and History Tour

Full-Day Small-Group Bainbridge Island Wine and History Tour

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12
Explore northwest island life on this all-inclusive history and wine tour of Bainbridge Island. After a scenic ferry ride, visit beautiful Bloedel Reserve, a 150-acre (61-hectare) arboretum and garden, and the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial. Enjoy the included gourmet picnic or restaurant meal before exploring the rest of the island’s colorful history. Spend the afternoon visiting the island’s best wineries for tastings, included in the tour price.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$279.00
From
$279.00

Private Seattle Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise

Private Seattle Sightseeing and Cocktail Cruise

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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
$412.88
per group
From
$412.88
per group

Shared Sunset Cruise from Gig Harbor on Puget Sound

Shared Sunset Cruise from Gig Harbor on Puget Sound

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35
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, US Coast Guard certified, classic Northwest built charter boat. She and her captain and crew are steeped in Puget Sound legacy and experience. This smooth-water cruise takes us under two major suspension bridges; twice! 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. 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.)
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  • 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
From
$85.00
From
$85.00

Guided Seattle Sailing Adventure from Bainbridge Island

Guided Seattle Sailing Adventure from Bainbridge Island

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41
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
$295.00
per group
From
$295.00
per group

Best of Olympic National Park from Seattle: All-Inclusive Small-Group Day Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

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

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348
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
$263.50
From
$263.50