Spring is around the corner, and although this spring is looking more cold and rainy than usual, kayak enthusiasts will be back on the water soon.
No matter your skill level, the Puget Sound holds scores of beautiful spots for kayaking, including for those trying kayaking for the first time. Certain kayaking spots and beaches require permits, so it is important to check local websites for park information. The state of Washington also has safety and licensing requirements for kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards, which are governed by boating laws and regulations.
The Washington State Parks system runs a total of 154 state parks and maintains a list of state parks that have boat launches, but here are five great kayaking locations around the South Sound to launch a boat:
Located in Tacoma off Commencement Bay, kayak enthusiasts can launch from Thea’s Park at 535 Dock St. As you take off from Thea’s Park, the Foss Waterway offers beginners a friendly inlet of calm waters for 1.5 miles with views of the Tacoma skyline. Thea’s Park is open every day, half an hour before sunrise until half an hour after sunset.
Dash Point Park
Located just next to Dash Point State Park in Tacoma, the beach at Dash Point is 700 feet long, making it a great location for boat enthusiasts to take off. If kayakers paddle south they can see the Browns Point Lighthouse and Commencement Bay, or travel north to reach the rest of Dash Point State Park. Dash Point State Park also offers visitors hiking and biking trails, and over 100 campsites. The park is located at 5700 SW Dash Point Road in Federal Way, and is open every day, a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset.
Titlow Park is known for its grassy 72 acres near a lagoon and Titlow Beach. The park is not only a great place for boats, but also has trails, a playground and sprayground for kids, and basketball and tennis courts. Titlow Park also provides a perfect place to launch a kayak or paddleboard, located past the playground and lodge, near the railroad tracks. On the water side of the tracks, there is a small ramp so kayaks can take off into the beautiful water and enjoy the views of the Olympic Peninsula and the Narrows Bridge. Kayaks and other equipment are available to rent at Point Defiance Marina, a 14-minute drive away. Titlow Park is located at 8425 6th Ave. and is open every day, a half-hour before sunrise until a half-hour after sunset.
Golden Gardens Park
Golden Gardens Park is home to 300 feet of shoreline north of Seattle. This park is not only a great location for kayak enthusiasts but also has a pier, forest trails and beach volleyball courts. Offering beautiful views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound, this park is a hidden gem.
Kayaks and other equipment are available to rent at Ballard Kayak and Paddleboard by the hour or for the day. A single kayak is $22 an hour or $136 a day. A double kayak is $32 an hour or $216 for the day. Stand-up paddleboards can be rented for $22 an hour or $136 a day. Ballard Kayak and Paddleboard is at Shilshole Bay Marina, W-dock at 7901 Seaview Ave. NW, just down the beach from Golden Gardens Park, a 2-minute drive away. Golden Gardens Park is located at 8498 Seaview Place NW in Seattle and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Owen Beach will be reopening mid-summer 2022 with new construction projects making this one of the best kayaking spots for the summer. The park will have new bathrooms, a pavilion and improved parking, as well as adapting the beach for easier water access for kayaks and other boats. Located at 5605 N. Owen Beach Road in Tacoma, Owen Beach is known for orca and humpback whale sightings, as well as views of Point Defiance. Kayaks and other equipment will be available to rent at Point Defiance Marina, a seven-minute drive down the beach, once construction is finished. For more information on when you can visit this great kayaking spot, visit the MetroParks Tacoma Website for updates or call 253-404-3960.