Top 8 Wildlife Tours in the Seattle Area

In General, SUP Activity Recommendations, SUP Location Recommendations by Perfect Paddles

The Pacific Northwest holds a sense of awe for most travelers who make their way to its shores.

The tremendous amounts of green often envelope vacationers in a wonderful sense of peace as they make their way through the burgeoning forests and clear waters.

Such experiences can leave a lasting impression on anyone lucky enough to have them. But what activity can even further these wonderful events when we take a vacation?

Well, given that this is the Perfect Paddles team speaking, the obvious answer is SUP!

Standing on a paddle board and making your way through the luscious green forest of the Pacific Northwest allows adventurers the amazing experience of being able to immerse yourself into the natural surroundings which have made a huge impact on everyone who visits.

And one of the most popular ways of implementing SUP on your vacation is through a Wildlife Tour of the area.

The immense biodiversity of the pacific plants excitement into the hearts and minds of anyone lucky enough to spot a bald eagle, see a bear rummaging through the rivers and lakes, or even an elk or moose wandering through the forest.

And what better way to understand the natural world than by standing on the water you find yourself in?

So, lets dive into our Top 8 Wildlife Tours in the Seattle areas as to provide our readers an unforgettable choice to supplement their journeys through the northwest areas of the United States.

Harry Oesterreicher (Leavenworth)

First up on our list is SUP guru, teacher, and adventure guide Harry Oesterreicher.

A SUP instructor certified by Professional Stand Up Paddle Association, Harry lands on our list due to his immense experience in the SUP world and the personal touch he provides active lifestyle junkies as he takes them through a variety of tours and adventures.

Based out of Leavenworth, Washington Harry has a personal company which he runs by providing beginner lessons on boards for those looking to make their way into the sport, advanced lessons on technique and maneuvering through rapids as well as guided adventure tours where he takes paddlers on long expeditions through the unique shores surrounding Leavenworth and the Cascade Mountains.

It is on these waterways where Harry will be able to point out to his attendees plenty of opportunities to spot osprey as well as bald eagles as you make your way through the clear waterways of the surrounding mountainside.

For those looking for a guided tour with a personal touch then look no further than Harry Oesterreicher! You will get a first-class instruction in combination with a tour of the local mountainside waterways.

What’s SUP (Kenmore)

This highly accessibly company offers beginner lessons and easy rentals for those looking to take on the sport of SUP while still finding themselves in the novice region of the sport.

What’s SUP offers paddlers a real chance to experience the native wildlife local to the northwest shores by guiding groups to the shores of the Sammamish River where it is likely they will spot bald eagles, blue heron, beavers, even salmon and trout!

The reason why this outfitter makes onto our list at number seven is their highly accessible tours through their beginner lessons and easy renting policy. What’s SUP is the perfect company to contact if you are looking to take to the seas solo and on your own terms.

Salmon Bay Paddle (Seattle)

The best part about this outfitter is the amount of options they supply paddlers of all skill levels with. Offering four tours in total, they range from such choices as a Blake Island SUP Tour, to a Shilshole Bay Tour, a Freshwater Bay Coastal Tour, and even a Cypress Island Overnight SUP Trip where paddlers will camp out in between sessions on their boards underneath the stars on the San Juan Islands.

For the purposes of this list, we will be focusing solely on the Blake Island SUP Tour. A two-day tour, adventurers will have the opportunity to see the birthplace of Chief Seattle or Chief Si’ahl who witnessed as a boy Captain Vancouver’s arrival to the shores of the northwest in 1792.

The island is home to a tremendous amount of wildlife so by paddling around its shores, participants will be able to see deer, bald eagles, raccoons, and marine life such as harbor seals, marine birdlife, otters, and more!

The reason why this tour comes in at number six is due to the level required by paddlers before attending. Participants must have experience on a SUP and be at an intermediate level before signing up. But with these minimal requirements in place, this is a trip not be passed up by those looking for a Wildlife Tour in the Seattle area! Perfect Paddles highly recommends looking at this tour and other offerings by Salmon Bay Paddle to get an authentic tour of the natural world surrounding the city of Seattle.

Also be sure to check out their page on Perfect Paddles to receive additional savings on services through our Buddy Deal!

Northwest SUP and Fitness (Amboy)

This company provides beginners to the sport a comprehensive lesson on paddling technique and tips about standing on the board before heading out on their signature tour of Lake Merwin.

Once the group is ready to head into open waters, guides will take participants through the calm waters of Merwin eventually ending up at the gorgeous Canyon Creek waterfalls. These shallow waters allow paddlers to see a tremendous variety of wildlife including many different species of trout, chinook salmon, coho salmon and more!

In addition, if paddlers set their sights on the sky, it is common to spot bald eagles gliding seamlessly through the air while osprey collect brush to outfit their nests sitting atop the pine trees surrounding the calm bodies of water.

In addition, paddlers will be able to see and experience the soothing sounds of the waterfalls found in Canyon Creek where they will have the chance to take a break, ingest the beautiful surroundings, and chat with their fellow paddlers underneath the warm, clear sky.

Northwest SUP and Fitness’ tour through their unique location is highly recommended by the team at Perfect Paddles. Don’t miss out if you find yourself in their area!

Vancouver Water Adventures (Vancouver)

This may be a little too much travel if you are setting your sights on a Seattle vacation but since we are covering the surrounding areas as well, Vancouver Water Adventures makes it onto our list.

Their guided excursion takes paddlers on a two-hour tour of Vancouver and its diverse shoreline. In addition to the impressive city skyline, paddlers will also be able to see its surrounding rocky cliffs and its honking sea lions and seal inhabitants.

The tours begin at Granville Island which is in a unique spot in the middle of the city with direct access to the bay and open waters.

Once paddlers are in the open waters, they can expect to see plenty of sea-dwelling birds such as gulls, pelicans, and herons in addition to the water borne species of fish which are abundant in the Burrard Inlet.

This tour makes it to number four on our list due to the unique opportunity to experience paddling through the city as well as seeing the wildlife inherent to the rocky cliffs surrounding the bay.

And be sure to check out their page on Perfect Paddles to receive additional savings through our Buddy Deal!

Northwest Outdoor Center (Seattle)

And coming in at number three is Northwest Outdoor Center in Seattle.

Offering a Lake Union tour as well as a Golden Garden and Full Moon tour, Northwest Outdoors Center’s offering are both exciting and accessible for newcomers and experienced paddlers alike!

While every tour offers something unique and interesting to the area, the Golden Garden sunset tour is the reason for our high ranking of NWOC.

Taking place in the evening the tour entails paddling west, straight into the setting sun allowing the golden streaks to meet your skin as you make your way through the colorful ship canal into the Ballard Locks.

Upon gazing at the impressive ships, guides will lead groups through the gravity fed elevator down to the Puget Sound level before making their way to the Golden Gardens where participants will be able to see the parks pristine beaches, wetlands, as well as picnic areas where breaks can be taken.

Once on or around the island, groups will be able to see mallard ducks, red-winged blackbirds, Canadian geese, eagles, as well as numerous species of fish native to the island.

NWOC’s tour comes in at number three on our list due to its location in the heart of Seattle as well as the opportunity to paddle through the unique waterways of the city while still experiencing the wildlife found in the Golden Garden area.

This tour has it all and is highly recommended by the team at Perfect Paddles!

Norm Hann Expeditions (Squamish, British Columbia)


Again, setting our sights a little farther north, we land on this outfitter due to their exciting and easily accessible tours of beautiful British Columbia.

Norm Hamm offers paddlers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity by providing tours which include options paddling through the waterways of the Great Bear Rainforest or around the outer islands.

While this is mainly for experienced paddlers as well as campers for that matter, this tour makes its way to number two due to the amazing opportunity to see and explore the pined forests of the Pacific Northwest.

A choice between the options is based solely on where and how long you would like to remain in the forests, but either choice will provide participants with the chance to paddle the pristine waters of the areas as well as a chance to see bears, wolves, eagles, as well as the famous burgeoning wild salmon population native to these crystal clear waterways.

Perfect Paddles highly recommends Norm Hann for your next paddling adventure in the Pacific Northwest! What they offer are truly unique and inspiring tours for those in love with the outdoors. This is a can’t miss company to check out!

Wildwater River Guides (Peshastin)

Offering two tours to experience the water, participants have a choice between paddling Icicle Creek and Lower Wenatchee. Both trips are around two to three hours in length and are accompanied by a quick beginner lesson on land before groups are ushered into the waters where they can get comfortable paddling and take in the breathtaking scenery.

The Icicle Creek tour starts off just below the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. From there, groups will make their way onto Icicle Creek where it is possible to see views of what locals called The Enchantments- a basin area of beautiful mountains and glaciers.

Paddlers should keep their eyes open for sights of bald eagles, egrets, freshwater fish as well as deer and otters on the land and in the water. This downwind paddling run on inflatable boards is not to be missed!

The Lower Wenatchee tour is a step up in challenge as paddlers make their way through level 1 and level 2 rapids. The swift moving water will provide groups with an added challenge and a little fun as the swift waters propel paddlers quickly through the water.

Expert guides will of course provide expert lessons on how to best maneuver through the water while at the same time pointing out bald eagles, egrets, fish, and deer on land. Surrounded by the natural beauty of the bright green forests, this tour is a perfect way to get to know the area while at the same time experiencing something wholly unique!



If you happen to find yourself roaming through the Pacific Northwest and want to experience the natural world in a totally unique way, consider contacting any of these shops and outfitters in regard to a wildlife tour.

The perspective offered by the paddling a SUP cannot be compared to any other experience, including a kayak.

The ability to stand and see the horizon as well as the depths below give paddlers a complete 360-degree experience on the water.

And one of the best places to experience a guided tour is in the majestic waterways and forests of the Seattle area.

Go there with no expectations and leave with a truly amazing experience under your belt. Life is about living, so go out there and do it!