Even if you don't know how to sail you can still explore Lake Union in a beautiful wooden rowboat The Center for Woodben Boats, located in south Lake Union has a fleet of rowboats at your disposal. Just hand over your $12/hour and you're off exploring houseboats, seaplanes and Lake Union's extensive pleasure and work fleet.
Go parasailing specially when the weather is great in Seattle. Book ahead of time. Make sure to come here in the months of July and August if you wanted a great time in Seattle and if you wanter parasailing.
If you go out on a small boat, go with someone who knows what they're doin'..... when / if the wind & waves come up & the water gets a little choppy it will possibly freak out any landlubbers (like me) among you.
But man is it beautiful.
Took this on a sunny mid-morning from my hotel room window. A small vessel slowly motoring without sail west across Elliott Bay toward Puget Sound with the Olympic mountain range in the deep background.
Agua Verde - Kayaking & Mexican food, in either order.
They rent kayaks for touring Seattle on Lake Union and Lake Washington. The 2 lakes are connected by Portage Bay which is where Agua Verde is located.
If you rent for an hour you'll most likely have to choose one or the other. You can kayak to Gasworks Park, check out all of the REALLY nice and not so nice houseboats. There is a limit to how many can be on the lake so there is a waiting list. I think it's something like 525 houseboats. The names of the boats are entertainment in themselves. While you're out there, your chances of watching a plane land in the water next to you are high. And checking out the Seattle skyline is also a sight to remember.
Agua's kayak rentals are first come, first serve and they're really packed on sunny days. Don't let this deter you. It's really worth a wait. Besides, they have amazing all natural Mexican food upstairs, Margaritas, beer etc. So you'll have something to do until they call your name. Check out they're website for specifics as they are a bit seasonal, as you can imagine ; )
Equipment: Plan for weather, although I say the experience is best on a clear day. I wouldn't bother if it were raining or cloudy since you won't see much and are likely to be cold. But, if you're a die hard and they are open, they do have rainguards, jackets etc. I would also suggest that if you don't want to get wet, no matter what the weather or how hot, accept the rain guard, it will keep the water from getting to your lower half.
There are many ways to take advantage of the beautiful waters that surround Seattle. You can head down to Agua Verde Paddle Club 1303 NE Boat St. www.aguaverde.com whre you can rent a single kayak for $12 an hour, or a triple for $18, sailboats are also for rent for $35 an hour.
The Center for wooden boats is where you got to experience history in a wooden boat. Prices range between $12.50 and hour to $30 an hour. Historic sailboats are also for rent for $25-$46 an hour. There are also free rides on Sunday afternoons (donations accepted.) 1010 Valley St. www.cwb.org
The UW also rents out road boats for a much cheaper rate of $7.50 an hour or $4 for students. 3900 Montake Blvd 206-543-9433
Probably the easiest way to see Lake Union up close is to rent a kayak. In very little time even newcomers will be zipping across the water like busy water striders, poking in and out of houseboats, pleasure craft and seagoing industrial and research vessels. You can circumnavigate the lake in an afternoon, putting in a lunch break at Gasworks and visiting the "Sleepless in Seattle" houseboat along the way. Spending time in a small boat is one of the prototypical Seattle native things to do and you shouldn't leave without trying it out. There are a couple of places to rent kayaks on Lake Union but we prefer Moss Bay Rowing Club where kayaks cost $10/hr for a single and $15/hr for a double. Don't forget to ask about full or half day rates.
If you know how to sail, the best sailing deal in town is at the Center for Wooden Boats. They are a maritime preservation and education organization devoted to wooden boats of all types. At their home at the south end of Lake Union they maintain a livery of unique sailboats including gaff-, sprit- and Bermudan-rigged vessels. After a one hour checkout, you can be off exploring busy Lake Union. Prices vary from $15-$45 per hour for non-members depending on the size of the boat. You might save money by getting a $30 membership first.
Just remember: watch out for the seaplanes!