Kayaking in Washington State

Hopefully, heading toward the tail-end of 2020 means we’re also heading toward the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and can feel more comfortable exploring the beautiful state we live in. Thankfully, there are still plenty of safe outdoor activities for you outdoorsy types that you can do solo!

kayaking in olympia

Kayaking Essentials

Flatwater (lake) kayaking is the perfect pastime for adventurous Washingtonians — especially in the midst of the pandemic — and it’s not overly expensive to get started. Here are the recommended products to get you going.

  1. A kayak, of course. Any brand will work, though certain brands and materials can get fairly pricey. 
  2. Paddles. Dual paddles work best for kayaking.
  3. A life vest. Safety first! 
  4. Water shoes. Optional, but nice to have so your shoes don’t get soaked. 
  5. Gas money. Sometimes the best kayaking spots are a bit of a drive! 

There’s more equipment you can buy for your own kayaking adventures, but these are the beginner products to get you started. You can also rent kayak equipment from outdoor recreation stores across the state. 

coldwater lake mount st. helens

Where to Kayak

Now, onto the fun part. Where should you go kayaking? One of the great things about Washington is you can find a body of water in pretty much any direction you drive. So really the question is, where can’t you kayak? 

My favorite spot is Pass Lake near Deception Pass. The whole area is stunning, but kayaking on that lake during a foggy morning is my own definition of heaven. On those mornings it’s secluded and just about all mine, which makes it ideal especially during these times of social distancing. 

Whether you love to jump in your car and drive around our gorgeous PNW, or if hopping in your car with your kayak and driving hours for the perfect spot isn’t going to happen right now, I have a few tips for you to find great spots no matter what!

Research Your Trip

Check Google Maps! I’ve found plenty of spots near my house that don’t require a lot of driving. Check your surrounding area to see if any of the lakes nearby are kayak-friendly! As long as it’s not on private property, it’s probably a great spot to get started with your new water hobby. 

Hit up your local state parks! If you live close to a state park, chances are there’s a place to kayak or boat. This is Washington, after all! Get acquainted with state parks that are nearby to widen your kayaking spots. 

kayak
kayaking at lake chelan

Jump in the car! There are some truly beautiful places to kayak in this state. Coldwater Lake near Mount St. Helens is a gorgeous and accessible lake perfect for kayaking if you’re willing to drive for a bit (depending on where you start). 

Download some apps! There are some great apps you can get on your phone to find state parks and trails anywhere in the state. My two favorites are AllTrails and WA State Parks Guide to find new areas to kayak and get out of the house! 

Go out and enjoy your new hobby, and stay safe my fellow Washington explorers! 

Beginner kayakers should read up on kayak safety before setting out.

kayak at lake chelan

Photos: Julie Sojot, Haley Donwerth

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Julie Sojot

Julie is a PNW transplant from the Island of Oahu. She is a wife, mother and adventurist who loves to travel with her family always in tow. Follow along with more of her adventures on Instagram: @jascollective

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