Scenic Cruises and Boat Tours in Seattle

Many Seattle visitors choose to take in the local sights on a scenic cruise or boat tour. Seattle is a watery place, situated on the shores of Puget Sound, with Lake Union smack in the middle and long Lake Washington on the east side. The Lake Washington Ship Canal connects the Sound to the lakes, allowing boat travel from one to another. Boating and water recreation of all kinds are popular local past times.

Taking in Seattle sights and scenery from the water is a fun and relaxing option. Here are my recommendations for scenic cruises and boat tours in Seattle.

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    Argosy Cruises

    Argosy Cruise Boat with the Olympic Mountains in the Background (Angela M. Brown 2013)
    Argosy Cruise Boat with the Olympic Mountains in the Background

    Argosy Cruises offers regularly scheduled scenic cruises that leave from Pier 55 (for Puget Sound tours), Lake Union, and Kirkland (for Lake Washington) dock locations. These narrated sightseeing cruises last from 1 to 4 hours. The longest Seattle boat tour travels the Puget Sound to Tillicum Village on Blake Island, where you'll enjoy a salmon dinner and Native-themed entertainment. Argosy Cruises also offers a variety of seasonal and special event cruises, including the Christmas Ship Festival, dinner and brunch cruises, and mystery dinners.

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    Waterways' Seattle scenic cruise itineraries combine amazing views with great food. The sleek modern yachts in the Waterways fleet offer regularly scheduled dinner cruises on Lake Washington and Lake Union. Not just dinner; lunch, brunch, and BBQ are among your other cruise options. A few special cruises leave from Shilshole Marina to take in the scenic Puget Sound and to travel to island destinations.

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    Chartered Cruises and Boat Tours in Seattle

    For those looking for a more personalized or private experience, these boat charters offer personalized cruise tours.

    • Enchantress Cruises: Put together your own perfect boat tour on Puget Sound, Lake Union, and/or Lake Washington on this luxurious bridge deck cruiser.
    • Cedarwave: This boat charter company offers picnic cruises and themed boat tours that depart from a number of Seattle waterfront locations.
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    Self-drive Scenic Cruises and Boat Tours in Seattle

    Not your typical boat rental, these special vessels allow you to provide your own captain for a scenic and unique boat tour of Seattle.

    The Electric Boat Company: Quiet, covered, comfortable, and easy to drive, these electric boats provide a leisurely 2- to 4-hour cruise around Lake Union. Be sure to bring your own picnic!

    Hot Tub Boats: Relax with friends in a hot tub that can tour around Lake Union. Two to six people can participate in your scenic cruise-soak.

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    Traveling on both land and water in amphibious vehicles, the Duck tours are fun and festive. The Ride the Duck captains will narrate and amuse you as they drive past top Seattle sights like the Space Needle, the Downtown Waterfront, Pike Place Market, and Pioneer Square. You'll also spend time on Lake Union, taking in Seattle's spectacular city skyline, Gasworks Park, and the famous house boats.