Community August 18, 2022

Kitsap’s Top Places to Kayak, Swim, and SUP

There are many great places to enjoy life on the water here in Kitsap County. We’ve gathered a list of beautiful places here (and a few outside of Kitsap) where you can kayak, swim, and Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP). Want to paddle but need the gear? We’ve also included rental information.

Buck Lake County Park in Hansville

Although Hansville is probably best known for the Point No Point Lighthouse, there’s much more to explore. You’ll find Buck Lake County Park tucked away amongst the trees. There, you’ll find amenities such as a picnic shelter, a playground, sports courts, and restrooms. This lake is a beautiful spot to take a dip or test out your SUP skills. Fishing is also allowed. However, motorized boats are prohibited. This creates a more peaceful setting for swimmers and small craft exploration. One of Kitsap’s more hidden gems, this is definitely a place to put on your summer bucket list.


Long Lake County Park in Port Orchard

Located on the “far side” of Port Orchard, Long Lake is one of the more popular places to swim in South Kitsap and is definitely worth a day trip from Kingston. This park not only has lots of beaches for swimming but offers multiple boat launches for both motorized and paddle-operated vessels. You’ll also find sand volleyball courts, ball fields, restrooms, a playground, and even a rentable multi-use facility. The motorized boat launch is located outside of the main park.


Wildcat Lake Park in Bremerton

This lake is tucked away in the woods near Bremerton and is a popular swimming lake for families. There’s a beach-entry and shallow end as well as a buoyed-off swimming area with a floating dock to jump off. The lake is also a great spot to paddle or float, and fishing is also allowed. At the park, you can find a playground, sports courts, a picnic area, and restrooms. 


All of these county parks participate in the life jacket kiosk program (PDF), a free lifejacket borrowing service to help keep kids safe.


Lake Leland in Quilcene

This popular lake in Jefferson County is a great spot for kayaking, swimming, or fishing. You’ll find picnic areas, restrooms, and a campground. It is considered one of the most picturesque lakes in Jefferson County. A popular destination for residents on the other side of the Hood Canal, you’ll see both locals and tourists here.


Liberty Bay in Poulsbo 

Enjoy views of Historic Downtown Poulsbo as you paddle through Liberty Bay. Oyster Plant Park is a perfect launch spot or there’s the community boat launch in downtown Poulsbo. You can paddle to Keyport, tie up at the dock, and visit their little store or pizza place. When it’s hot outside and when the tide is right, Liberty Bay is also warm enough for swimming. Don’t have a kayak or SUP of your own? You can rent one from the Olympic Outdoor Center


Arness Park in Kingston

This tiny park on the side of the road is a favorite swimming and paddling spot for locals with a sandy beach as well as a protected small cove when the tide is in. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the ferries coming and going from the other side of Appletree Cove. It is rumored that brave local kids like to “shoot the tube” at this park – swimming or floating in the large culvert that goes under the road. There are a couple of picnic tables as well as a portable restroom.


Old Man House Beach Park in Suquamish 

If you’re looking for a sandy beach with great views, Old Man House Beach Park is the place to go. Located near Agate Pass Bridge, you can see boats come through, and with low tide, you’ll find lots of fun creatures like starfish and sea anemones. If you go deep enough out, there is a current, but right near shore is a great place to cool off. There’s a large picnic area as well as bathrooms and an outdoor shower, and plaques with historical information about the former longhouse that stood on this land.


Places to Rent Kayak and SUP or Book Excursions

Olympic Outdoor Center

With locations in Port Gamble and Poulsbo, Olympic Outdoor Center is easily accessible for North Kitsap water adventures. In Poulsbo, you can find kayaks, double kayaks, and SUPs for adventures in Liberty Bay. The Port Gamble location offers kayaks, “sit-on-top” kayaks, and double kayaks (as well as mountain bikes for the trails located at Port Gamble Heritage Park). They recommend Poulsbo for first-time renters as the water at Port Gamble Bay is more open to the elements. They also offer evening-time bioluminescent tours.

Kayak and other rentals: Starting at $22


Exotic Aquatics on Bainbridge Island

A great shop for water enthusiasts, Exotic Aquatics offers kayak and paddle board rentals, and scuba classes and certification. For kayak and SUP, they offer rentals, guided tours, and purchases. For scuba diving, their offerings include classes, tours, and rentals. Additionally, they are a PADI 5-Star Training Facility. Their current offerings for kayak tours include excursions to Blake Island and a full-moon paddle. 

Kayak and SUP Rentals: $23.50+ | Scuba Classes $79.95+


Lake Crescent in Port Angeles

With multiple boat launches and water-access points, this turquoise-colored lake is a day trip favorite. Swimmers can enjoy multiple swimming areas. There’s other fun to be had on the water here. Whether you bring your own boat, or choose to rent one on-site, exploring this picturesque lake will be a memorable excursion.

Canoes, Single and Tandem Kayaks, and Paddleboard Rentals: $45+