Puget Sound Sailing
From downtown Seattle, walk aboard a water taxi to Vashon Island or the neighborhood of West Seattle fo a quick journey across Puget Sound. Or hop on an Argosy Cruises sightseeing tour to coast around Elliott Bay or Lake Washington—the latter option depart from Kirkland. Destiny Harbor Tours offers similar sightseeing cruises from Tacoma and Gig Harbor, all with glorious views of Mount Rainier.
Whale of a Time
Between April and October, Clipper Vacations hosts whale-watching tours from downtown Seattle to the San Juan Islands. Narrated by an onboard naturalist, the cruise heads north through scenic Deception Pass before launching into a search for majestic orcas, humpbacks, minkes, sea lions, and eagles. Puget Sound Express departs from Edmonds and Port Townsend on the Kitsap Peninsula to the San Juan Islands to search for whales, too.
Explore glacier-fed Diablo Lake with Seattle City Light, an 80-plus-year-old tradition that shows off the area’s natural history, biodiversity, and geology, plus the unique relationship between the North Cascades environment and the Skagit River Hydroelectric Project. Enjoy the narrated cruise aboard the Alice Ross IV; boats depart from near Newhalem.
From Alderbrook Resort & Spa in Union, discover Hood Canal, one of only two fjord-like bodies of water in the continental United States. Soak in stunning views on historic waterways where the ferries of Washington’s storied Mosquito Fleet once swarmed. Today, the double-decker Lady Alderbrook hosts weekly year-round excursions; also experience scenic summer and winter cruises.
Step back in time with a journey to the northern tip of Lake Chelan, known for its mesmerizing clear waters, aboard the Lady of the Lake. This passenger ferry cruises to the unspoiled frontier of Stehekin, a remote town nestled in North Cascades National Park that can only be reached by boat, foot, or floatplane. Savor Stehekin’s slower pace and sensational surroundings by hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, or fishing.
History Buff Haven
In the Tri-Cities, Columbia River Journeys specializes in jet-boat tours that explore the Hanford Reach, the last free-flowing section of the Columbia River. Learn about regional wildlife as well as the Hanford Reach National Monument and Hanford Site, home to decommissioned World War II nuclear reactors. And to explore North America’s deepest river gorge, board a Snake Dancer Excursions jet boat from Clarkston to see wildlife, rugged cliffs, and ancient petroglyphs.
Photo Credit: Pxhere