Kayak launch at Sail Sand Point, Seattle [North Shore Recreation Area/Magnuson Park/Pontiac Bay/Lake Washington]
Looking for a great place to launch a kayak, SUP (stand up paddleboard), or canoe on Lake Washington? Cruise over to Magnuson Park and head north to the North Shore Recreation Area (a.k.a. Sail Sand Point). With tons of free parking, this free launch site on Pontiac Bay is perfect for trips in the north section of the lake. Journey across the lake (northeast) to St. Edward Park or south toward Leschi and beyond. I always knew this launch was here but hadn't taken any pictures of it until recently.
When you get there you'll notice all of the Sail Sand Point boats dry docked near the parking lot and a few of their office buildings near the launch. Sail Sand Point is a non-profit community boating group that offers all kinds of sailing lessons & more. You'll see a lot of member boats in storage here and depending on the time of year, there'll be plenty of Sail Sand Point members hanging about the place. Don't be shy when you are there with your boat, even if you're a new paddler. Always feel free to ask questions and ask for help if you need it - these people are fellow water-loving-folk and from the community, just like you. Hey, they might even invite you to the occasional onsite BBQ! Interested in joining Sail Sand Point? Check out more info here.
We leave you with two sight-seeing possibilities right next-door to this launch - a few pics below of the boat graveyard along the trail behind the Sail Sand Point office & another of the gi-normous Arena sports complex next door. The graveyard? It's just awesome. The gi-normous Arena sports complex? It's important to us because of the rumored bar inside…perhaps a light beverage after a long day of paddling on the lake?
~Paul & Amber ETC
Kayaking & exploring North Beach, Saltair Beach, Carpenter Creek, & Appletree Cove - Kingston Washington
Right at the end of summer, with captain wifey out of town visiting her family back East, my buddy Matt and I took Kingsley over to Kingston, WA for the weekend. Kingston's got a great little marina, nice cove to kayak in, and a great beach north of the ferry dock to explore.
It would have been an easy sail, just over an hour…except there was no wind…so we motored. Still a nice little trip, especially with the autopilot (we call 'the robot') keeping us on track.
Once at the marina, we took off to explore the waterfront section of town. Heading north of the ferry dock takes you to a great little beach - some call it North Beach, others call it Saltair beach (article here on the matter). You can also walk the high road through the neighborhood on the bluff just above the beach, and a loop trail connects back down to the beach (we didn't walk that far but saw it on a map in town).
After our mini-hike we returned to Kingsley to get our kayaking on. The best-best-best thing about the Kingston marina is the little dinghy/kayak lane opposite their (open to the public) guest dock (pictured below). Even at low tide this area remains a perfect place to put in a kayak. They even have little gazebos with tables along the dock for lunch. There is a boat ramp on the opposite side of the marina, away from the ferry dock, closer to parking if you prefer (easier to get a kayak off the car to the water).
Saltair beach from the water
We paddled north from the marina, carefully avoiding the WA state ferry dock (we went under the pilings…it seemed like there would be a sign saying not to but there wasn't…people on the walkways waived). We made it out to the point, Apple Cove Point, and turned back. Easy trip, it took us around an hour.
Back on land we investigated a few of the businesses and shops - one being a cool little granola factory, Mirracole Morsels, just up from the ferry dock. It's a great stop for a snack between paddles, maybe pick up a bag of granola to take with you for later.
After dinner we took one more paddle, this time into the cove towards Carpenter Creek (bridge picture below). With enough of a tide (we didn't quite have enough on this trip) it's possible to explore the creek & estuary, an important migration trail for various salmon species, especially chinook and coho.
All great northwest trips must come to an end…and this one ended with a north wind the next day, letting us downwind sail all the way back to Shilshole…boom…done.
~Paul, Matt ETC
A few weeks ago we made a quick trip to the lovely sailing town of Port Townsend, WA. There is so much we love about this quiet little town - Necisito Burrito for one - but to top it off the Tall Ship Hawaiian Chieftain was at port giving sunset sails...awesome stuff. More from Port Townsend later this week!
More about the history of Hawaiian Chieftain here.
A couple months ago while taking a friend's new kayak for a test-spin, we paddled upon Schooner Zodiac. She was at port near Seattle's Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union. I've seen her around the Puget Sound in the past - she is gorgeous.
It was also my first time trying out the new-ish kayak put-in on the southwest side of the Lake. There was parking nearby (and a Starbucks:). It sure beats the rogue kayak put-ins that I was used to on this side of Lake Union - "stop that man with the inflatable kayak!". While I don't recommend this part of the lake for rookies, it's fun in a planes landing close-powerboats-tallships-craziness kinda way. It has great water views of downtown.
~Paul & Vic ETC
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