Western Washington cities like Seattle and Tacoma are literally surrounded by water. There are ample opportunities to get out on boats, kayaks, paddle boards and more to enjoy the maritime culture and some of the finest scenery in the country.
Parasailing is a water sport that requires no skill, no bathing suit and no wetsuit. It’s incredibly approachable whether you plan it months in advance or simply decide to do it spur-of-the-moment. It involves one, two or three riders sitting in a harness (almost like a swing, but more secure) that hangs from a parasail, which is similar to a parachute, but has gaps in it to let some air through. A boat pulls the passengers and the parasail behind it and the passengers sail high into the sky. While it may look like an extreme sport, parasailing is actually very gentle and even feels slow from high up in the air, but the views flyers get to experience are second to none. However, if you have issues with heights, then parasailing might feel pretty extreme as you are most certainly high up above the water.
Before leaving the dock, you’ll be fitted with a life jacket, which you’ll keep on until you arrive back at the dock. When it’s your time to fly, you’ll be fitted with a harness that’s fastened around your midsection. The harness is almost like a swing. To take off, you’ll have a seat on a platform on the back of the boat and will simply be lifted up into the air. The ascent is slow and steady.
Once you’re up in the air, the flight is smooth and quieter than most people might expect. The parachute almost has a dampening effect on winds passing around you. Make sure to look around as views are really what parasailing is all about—you’ll probably see Mt. Rainier and the Olympics as well as wildlife far below you. Depending where you go, you might enjoy some city scenery too. Count on seeing lots of water birds, but also look for seals and maybe even a rare whale here and there if you’re flying between June and September. You won’t feel a lot of bumps or tugs. Flights are smooth and slow feeling, which helps even people a little nervous to try this out feel better.
When your flight is over, you’ll gradually be towed back to the boat and onto the platform. Your feet will never touch the water and you won’t get wet at all. As you come in, you’ll land right on your feet and a staff member will unhook you from the harness.
Here's where you can go parasailing in the Seattle area.
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If you want to see Seattle from a whole new vantage point, Pier 66 Parasailing is the parasailing outfit for you. Their boats leave out of - you guessed it - Pier 66 at 2203 Alaskan Way in Seattle, so downtown Seattle will be in view for your experience high up above the Puget Sound. You can book a reservation in advance (but make sure you allow time for parking so you don't miss your boat) or walk up and book the next boat leaving. Boats usually leave on the hour. The company offers the usual parasailing experience, but also lets you turn your flight romantic if you book the champagne sunset parasail. They are also available for all kinds of special events as well as taking you out waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing and other watersports that involve a boat.
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Pacific Parasail is usually open on the dock behind The Ram on the Tacoma Waterfront from May to September, but if the weather is nice, they may open sooner in the year. You can book ahead or walk on up and see if you can book a spot. You might be on the boat with another party or two and each group going up gets to enjoy a 10-12 minute flight (it feels longer!).
Generally, they are open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. or sunset seven days a week, but if weather is bad, hours can change. While it’s best to make reservations in advance to ensure your spot, be flexible. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, you might not be able to fly. Check the forecast in advance as there’s really nothing like being up far above the water on a clear day.
Pacific Parasail has both 600-foot and 1000-foot towlines and you can choose which you get when you book your flight. The 1000-foot line costs a little extra, but gets you up higher—the perfect option for people who want to add a little more adrenaline to the experience!
You can fly by yourself, tandem (two people) or triple, so long as the total weight doesn’t exceed 450 pounds.
Pacific Parasail is located at 3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma (on the dock behind The Ram).
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Parasail Kirkland and Pier 66 Parasail are owned by the same company (they also have a location in Waikiki!) so the offerings are similar. You can also do champagne sunset parasails or book Parasail Kirkland for events or watersports, and you can also book them to take you on a celebrity home tour of Lake Washington. Call 425-559-5221 to book.