Looking for the best way to see Seattle and the surrounding areas? I cannot think of anything better than flying around for a couple hours with Kenmore Air. The company operates a fleet of seaplanes based in Lake Union, just north of downtown, as well as some “normal” airplanes out of Boeing Field south of town. The flights are generally low and on a clear day the views are simply spectacular.
Lake Union to Friday Harbor Marina
Friday Harbor to Boeing Field
I had a free day last week in between meetings so I decided to take a couple flights. The company offers a 20 minute narrated tour of downtown ($99) which is fun, I suppose, but I wanted more than that. There is also a 2 hour tour flight ($200), basically just out and back to one of the San Juan Islands on a seaplane but I still wanted more. So I built my own tour. I chose an outbound flight on one of the seaplanes, traveling from Lake Union to Friday Harbor Marina. Friday Harbor is fun in that it has both the marina and a paved runway, meaning I could get to fly on both types of planes and some additional routes for my collection. Total cost was about $220 and it included shuttle rides to and from SEA which is where my hotel was; I saved time and money booking it that way (the tour flights do not include the shuttle service). I am probably the only person in the world who was disappointed to receive an email that my one-stop flight home had been changed to a non-stop; I wanted more flying time.
Even with that change (and, yes, I specifically chose flights which had connections) it was still a phenomenal afternoon. The seaplane flight northbound saw me sitting in the co-pilot seat as we cruised 1500 feet above Puget Sound in a De Havilland DHC-2 Beaver.
In between the flights I spent my 90 minute layover walking around the tiny town of Friday Harbor. I had a delicious fish sandwich and then wandered the streets, eventually ambling my way to the airport (add another “walked to it” on my airports collection) for the flight back.
For the return trip (2500′ on a Cessna Caravan C208B) I chose a seat on the left side of the plane, hoping for views of downtown as we made our final approach into Boeing Field. I was not disappointed with that decision.
It is hard for me to think of a better way to spend an afternoon.
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