Details

Distance: Varies
Time Estimate: Varies
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate, depending on weather
Water Type: Ocean
Directions: Shilshole Bay Beach Club – 6413 Seaview Ave NW, Seattle, WA 98107
Fees: None

Overview

I’ve really wanted to paddle the Ballard/Golden Gardens area for some time!

Before hitting the water, I stopped by Ballard Surf, hoping for a quick rundown on what to be wary of and where to go. Here’s what they told me:

  • The winds can get bad, so be mindful of this before heading out
  • Watch out for ships/boats heading into the ship canal (the frequency of this didn’t seem like a big deal when I went out… but do be mindful if you’re crossing the ship canal path)
  • You can paddle into the start of the canal for an urban paddle
  • You can paddle over to discovery park, where you can see the lighthouse, in about an hour from this area. 

It was suggested to me to launch from Shilshole Bay Beach Club, where most people renting from Ballard Surf launch from. There is a small narrow dirt path between West Marine and the Ballard Elks Club. Follow this path down to a small beach hidden from the street. This is the perfect spot to launch! 

At the time I arrived, the beach was really busy (especially for a Wednesday night). However, there was still plenty of room to inflate my board. A lot of people came and went with their boards throughout the evening – even into the sunset! 

From the beach, I headed left along the shores of the ocean. The views of the large cliffs are beautiful. Keep an eye out for sea lions, jellyfish, and seals. 

My Experience 

This was the best paddle experience I’ve ever had. I scored! The water was perfect – glassy, salty, smooth waves. The sunset was incredible. The mountain silhouettes in the background the entire time. I saw three sea lions who occasionally popped their heads and bellies up to hang out near me. Jellyfish floated around me. I was very spoiled by nature. I really really recommend this paddle, just wait for a non-windy day. 

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WOW! This was the most beautiful paddle I've ever done. The water was perfect – glassy, salty, smooth waves. The sunset was incredible. The mountain silhouettes in the background the entire time. I saw three sea lions who occasionally popped their heads and bellies up to hang out near me. Jelly fish floated around me. WHY had I not done this before. I'm so glad this @islesurfandsup paddle bag worked and that @alaskaair let me check my board for free. It's been refreshing to be back on WA water #surfballard #shilsholebay #pugetsound #oceanpaddling #goldenhour #goldengardens #protectourwaters #paddleboard #paddling #sup #standuppaddle #paddleboarding #suplife #jimmystyx #girlswhopaddle #travelblogger #neverstopexploring #adventure #seattle #seattlelove #emeraldcity #pnw

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