Motors Allowed?
Easy / Class A
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
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Mercer Island is a city on an island of the same name, and it is among the most populated lake islands in the United States. Named after the Virginian Mercer family, the island was first settled in the mid 1870s by brothers Thomas and Asa Mercer. Thomas Mercer was responsible for the naming of both Lake Washington and Lake Union in 1858. The towns of East Seattle and Mercer Island merged in 1970 to become the island-encompassing city of Mercer Island.

The Mercer Island Boat Launch is the only publicly accessible boat launch on Mercer Island, and it is located under the I-90 overpass on the eastern shore. Kayaking around Mercer Island illustrates just how much the I-90 floating bridge acts as a wave break. The waters south of I-90 tend to be protected and much calmer, while the waves can pick up considerably north of the floating bridge. Even though there are frequent buoys proclaiming a no wake zone, don't expect many of the boaters in the area to abide by the posted speed limit. The tour around the island provides an excellent training opportunity for longer island hopping trips where there are no places to disembark the kayak, as the only landing point on the island aside from the Mercer Island Boat Launch is located at Luther Burbank Park on the north end of the island. Lovers of architecture will enjoy the abundant multi-million dollar houses that populate the shores of the island. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Close to Seattle. Good practice for long trips.


Busy. No shore access. Repetitive views. Few boats follow the no-wake speed limit.


Picnic tables

Site characteristics: Water


Portage required




4.00 mi (6.44 km)??

Umm, perhaps 1/3 is 4.00's more like 12+ miles.
There are other launches for hand-carried boats such as kayaks, canoes, SUPs and rowboats. My favorite is Proctor Landing on the west side of Mercer Island, south of the boat launch mentioned here. It's at the street end of SE 32nd Street. Parking for about 10 cars, small dock and beach.

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