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Great Kayaking Spots in the Pacific Northwest

Great Kayaking Spots in the Pacific Northwest

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By Kady Stoll

You love the outdoors, being one with nature, and enjoying a feeling of peace and tranquility. Finding one of the best kayaking places in the Pacific Northwest can give you just that. A feeling of calmness that allows you to escape your hectic everyday life.

Kayaking gives you an opportunity to take in the nature and wildlife around you. A chance to slow down and breathe. As busy as our lives can be, can’t we all use a bit more peace and quiet?

So, where are these magical places that give you fuzzy and warm feelings? Let’s take a look at the best kayaking spots in the Pacific Northwest that promise great adventure and fun. For you and your family.

Best Kayaking in Oregon 


If you’re a friend of nature, love hiking, and lots of fresh air, Oregon is for you! With its diverse landscape, beautiful lakes, and extraordinary mountain tops, it’s perfect for all nature lovers. That’s why finding the best kayaking spots in Oregon is not hard. There are many to choose from!


The Dexter Reservoir


Marking one of the best kayaking opportunities in Oregon, the Dexter Reservoir has become one of the most popular destinations for kayakers in Oregon. It’s known for its scenic beauty and idyllic waters. If you are looking for peace and quiet, this is the place to go! 

Alongside kayaking, the Dexter Reservoir is also a highly sought-after destination for sailing. Located near the cities of Eugene and Lowell, you can enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains and enchanting forests.

The McKenzie River

Another find on our list of best kayaking spots in Oregon is the McKenzie River, which branches off the larger Williamette River in the west. It’s also perfect for fishing and rafting.

Known for its incredible wildlife, there are lots of fish living in the river. Including various trout types, such as the rainbow trout, the McKenzie River provides a beautiful home to many animals. While kayaking, definitely keep a lookout for bald eagles living in this area and watch them hunting for food!

The Columbia River


Being the longest river in Oregon, the Columbia River just had to make the list of best kayaking spots in Oregon. Being home to salmon fish, it makes its way through a quite impressive number of mountain ranges.

It might not make for the calmest kayaking rides as it’s used to transport goods . But its breathtaking scenery with views over cities, such as Portland, makes it absolutely worthwhile.

Best Kayaking in Washington State 

kayaking-in washington- state 

With its perfect location between the Pacific Coast and the Rocky Mountains, expect a lot of variation while kayaking. But what are the best kayaking spots in Washington State? Let’s find out.

Orcas Island


Orcas Island is one of the islands of the San Juan Island group, located in the very northwestern corner of the United States. Orcas Island and its thrilling marine life make, without debate, one of the best kayaking adventures in the Washington State area.

And yes, you have guessed correctly. It is home to schools of orcas that can be seen swimming and playing in the waters around the island. How cool is that? Make sure to bring your hiking and camping gear. Check out the actual island and enjoy majestic views of the ocean from the top of a hill.

Lake Crescent


This lake is located in the Olympic National Park, west of Port Angeles, and offers a great view of the mountains from all angles. It’s one of the best kayaking places in Washington State for many reasons, including its crystal clear water. So, take in the mirrored pictures it paints on the water’s surface.

Considered to be a pure kayaking gem, many people seek Lake Crescent to find solitude and absorb the beautiful scenery. Exotic wildflowers and tall pine trees all work their magic and enhance your experience.

Lake Union

What’s kayaking in Washington State without admiring its largest and most populous city? That’s right! Lake Union holds an unquestionable spot on the best kayaking routes in Washington State by offering a spectacular view of Seattle’s skyline.

There are many inexpensive kayak rentals in the area that make it easy to just hop on a kayak and paddle around the city. Sunset rides are especially remarkable; take in Seattle’s glamour and glow from the water.

Best Kayaking in California 

Looking for the best kayaking ventures in California? Look no further. From the Redwood Forest to its majestic coastline, down to its beautiful glaciers, there’s a lot to see. Here are the top three best kayaking locations in California that hold the promise of making a wonderful experience.

Emerald Bay

Emerald Bay, located by Lake Tahoe, is known for its abundance of rich blue and green water shades. It’s where you can find Tahoe’s only island, Fannette Island. The astonishing clarity of the water and surrounding glaciers makes it one of the best kayaking destinations in California.

The vibrant colors you encounter and the calming sounds of its wildlife give you a sense of peace and relaxation. Paddling down the bay, you can expect a brilliant spectacle of lights when the sun hits the water. Especially at dusk and dawn.  

Lake Almanor

Get a glimpse of Lassen Peak, an active volcano, while kayaking down this man-made lake. Nature lovers and lake-goers alike are ecstatic about this geologically unique corner of the Earth. And obviously, that warrants it a spot on the list of best kayaking sites in California.

Within Lake Almanor, two geological features come together: the Sierra Nevada granite and the volcanic rock of the Cascade Mountains. Being a less well-known location is a big plus that provides seekers of solitude with the tranquility they crave.

Lake Faucherie

This remote lake is one of the best kayaking gems in California and is great for anyone seeking time alone. As it’s not easily accessible, you can expect a stunningly peaceful environment. 

Lake Faucherie is surrounded by beautiful cliffs and granite mountains. At over 6,000 feet above sea level and with several waterfalls, the lake offers a treasure of nature and wildlife.

Preserving our Rivers and Lakes with Ocean Blue Project

Machine used to remove microplastics from sandy beaches

As nature lovers, we all enjoy outdoor activities and appreciate the beauty our planet has to offer. The Pacific Northwest’s best kayaking spots are just an example of the many natural panoramas worth preserving.

Ocean Blue Project is focused on exactly that sentiment— preserving the beauty around us for future generations. 

Specifically, Ocean Blue Project is helping preserve the beauty of our oceans and rivers. We’re an environmental non-profit organization fighting the ongoing battle against plastic pollution. The price to pay for our current lifestyles.

What Can You Do to Help?

At Ocean Blue Project we’re committed to removing one million pounds of plastic from our oceans while protecting our environment and its wildlife.

But we can’t do it alone!

As a regular lake-goer, you can make a difference and tip the scale in favor of our planet. You can contribute today for a greener, better world tomorrow. 

Here’s what you can do when you head on your next kayaking adventure:

  • Bring an extra trash bag and pick up any plastic you may find on the lake.
  • Don’t litter! This is a given but don’t throw trash in the water and carry out everything you brought with you.
  • Be respectful of our planet. Don’t disturb any wildlife while on the lake.

But there’s more. Try to make eco-friendly choices whenever you can and help us keep our spectacular natural sceneries:

  • Adopt a low-waste lifestyle. Avoid the use of single-use plastics. They’re significantly adding to our pollution problem.
  • Encourage friends and family to live more sustainably. Support collective action, so your impact can be amplified. 
  • Know of areas with plastic pollution and need help organizing a clean-up? Contact Ocean Blue Project! We’ll help you every step of the way—from getting permits to sorting out trash. 
  • Don’t feel like organizing your own event? Volunteer at one of our many beach clean-ups! Check out if there’s one near you here.

Being a nature enthusiast allows you to be a voice for our oceans and lakes. Take the opportunity to be a change-maker. Ocean Blue Project will be here to support you!

Author Bio: Kady Stoll is a copywriter for sustainable and eco-friendly brands. She’s an avid advocate for the environment and holds a Master of Science in Energy & Resources. Kady lives with her husband and two little boys in a small town in coastal North Carolina.