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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.