The boating experience in the northwest is enhanced by the scenic views of the mountains and the lush forested coastline. Quiet freshwater lakes offer adventure for boaters of all skill levels, while places like Puget Sound and the Columbia River are better geared towards those with more experience behind the wheel.
As with any other boat trip, make sure you have your boat registration and necessary safety equipment before boating in the Pacific Northwest.
Wondering where specifically to boot while you are there? Learn about some of the most popular boating destinations in the Pacific Northwest
1. Ross Lake, Washington
Located 34 miles from Seattle, Ross Lake is a gem in the rugged mountain wilderness. You can enjoy breathtaking views of the North Cascades, experience boat-in-camping, and fish for chunky rainbow trout. The best access is by water taxi from Seattle City Power and Light at Diablo Lake, accessible from Diablo Dam Road between mile markers 127 and 128.
2. Lake Chelan, Washington
Access to Lake Chelan is located in the north central part of the state and is convenient due to a number of public boat docks as well as campsites with boats. Recreational boaters and water sports enthusiasts often refer to Lake Chelan as a popular north-western boating site due to the beautiful crystal clear waters of this 80 km long lake.
3. Columbia River, Oregon
A trip that focused on boating in the Pacific Northwest would only be complete if it meant at least a few days on the Columbia River. As the largest river in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia is rich in history and anchorages. Plan to traverse the Multnomah Canal upriver towards Portland, where you’ll find plenty of boat moorings and prime spring fishing for Chinook salmon.
4. Puget Sound, Washington
South Puget Sound is more than just a gateway to secluded bays and beautiful beaches. It is home to several amazing state parks. Visit Penrose Point State Park, Cutts Island State Park, and Jarrell Cove State Park. Make sure you refer to a local tide map before setting off as currents and tides can vary widely.
How can you not be ready to go boating in the northwest after reading these places? Pack your camera and base layers as the beautiful waterways of the Pacific Northwest await.