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Kayaking at Keyport Saltwater Park

(Warning: this spot is great to kayak if it's high tide but kayaking at low tide kinda sucks--read on to find out why).

If you want a sheltered, calm place to kayak, Keyport Saltwater Park is a nice little spot to put in. It lies on the shore of a small inlet to Liberty Bay. The inlet is maybe about two km in circumference, and on clear days has a view of the Olympic mountains. (In the picture above, you should be able to see said mountains only a big, fat cloud is covering em.)

The inlet is a quiet place to kayak. The only potentially tricky spot can be where the tide rushes in from Liberty Bay--the closer you paddle to the bay, the rougher it can get. But normally it's pretty flat. I kayaked out to the bay once where the waves seemed a little too much for my little Oru Inlet, and so I quickly paddled back into the shelter of the inlet and was fine.

But that's one nice thing about this inlet. You can kayak out of it and head up towards Poulsbo. You can also put in at the Keyport Marina and paddle to Poulsbo, but you would then have to kayak through an area where boats speed through on their way out to deeper waters and the wakes can sometimes get a little nerve wracking. By putting in at Saltwater Park, heading out to the bay and then hugging the coast towards Poulsbo, you end up kayaking in an area where the big boats have to go slower so the wakes aren't as bad.

We end up kayaking here more than any other spot mainly because it's the closest put-in point to our house. But we have to time it right. High tide is the perfect time to put in at this park because the tide meets up with the grassy part of the beach and it's easy to slide the kayaks in and take them out. But God help you if you get stuck here at low tide. The mud flats suck on your shoes, and last time I tried kayaking here at low tide I put my knee down on a barnacle-encrusted rock and sliced it right open (now I carry kneepads in my dry sack for rocky places like this).

However, I really like kayaking here. It's just pretty to me, and sheltered, and I feel safe paddling around it. Plus, I can get at least a mile of paddling in if I kayak the entire circumference. And the inlet is very quiet. I've only paddled out there once where other people were actually out on it too. I've never encountered a motorboat in the inlet, so no wakes to deal with here either.

This is the slightly choppy area that leads out into Liberty Bay--you can see the opposite shore of the bay on your right.

The parking at the park is very limited---two cars comfortably, three at most. However, I've never been to the park where the lot was full. You have to walk down a slightly sloped but paved or graveled trail to the put-in point-. It isn't a difficult or long trek. And after you're done, you can head to the little town of Keyport and grab a bite at Keyport Mercantile or our favorite Mexican restaurant, Casa Mexico.

One big drawback: absolutely no toilet facilities. The other drawback: a lot of people like to come down here and smoke weed, mainly because it's an out-of-the way spot. They're mostly kids and I'm sure they're perfectly friendly, but I wouldn't feel comfortable coming to this spot by myself. It's a little too secluded for me to feel entirely comfortable.


Pro: The path to the put-in spot is flat enough so you could potentially roll a wheelchair down it (I've carried my boat down there using my rolling walker and had no problems)

Pro: Getting into the water at high tide is easy.

(Conversely, Con: Getting into the water at low tide super-sucks)

Con: No bathroom facilities or other facilities of any kind. And unlike some secluded spots, this place isn't secluded enough so you could find a tree to pee behind. It's a little too exposed for that.

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