Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Family sitting on the Seattle Donut Boat ready to take off to see the city skyline

Explore Lake Union on a donut-shaped boat

Ride a boat named Glazed and Confused

Looking for a unique way to experience Lake Union? Check out the Seattle Donut Boat Company. My family and I recently got to take a ride in one of these fun boats on a gorgeous day in Seattle, and it made for the perfect day trip. What a great way to enjoy the beauty of Seattle, with views of iconic landmarks like the Space Needle and Gas Works Park!

A very close look at Seaplanes on Lake Union

The Donut boat that floats

Each of the four electric boats has an adorable donut-themed name like Cinnamon or Sugar and Sprinkles. We ended up getting Glazed and Confused, my family’s first choice. One of the staffers shared that they’ve recently expanded from originally having two boats in the rotation to now four. It was really easy to book too- just book a date and time online. If the weather is poor (as we know Seattle weather can be) there are no refunds, but the company is willing to offer a raincheck. If you have littles, stay close and keep their life jackets on. This excursion is great for the whole family, but if you have seasick kids this probably isn’t the ride for you, although our excursion was smooth sailing.

A highlight for my 7 and 4-year-old boys was seeing all the seaplanes landing and taking off closer than they’d ever seen before. Waving to those on the other boats was also fun. There’s a comradery that comes with being on the water together.

Seattle city skyline from the wate

How to book and other info

  • Reservations can be done online
  • Pick your boat, time of arrival, and length of the trip. You can choose from a 1-hour or 2-hour excursion, with times offered in the morning, afternoon and evening, including a sunset ride
  • The boat holds up to 6 people
  • Once you arrive, you’ll get a map and a quick tutorial about navigating the boat. No boating experience is necessary!
  • Each person on the boat will have to sign a waiver
  • Any adult over the age of 25 can drive the boat with a valid driver’s license
  • You don’t have to pay for fuel
  • You have to go out and come back to the same location and cannot dock in other areas. Dock is located near the White Swan Public House at the South end of Lake Union.
  • Cost of ride: $135 for  a 1-hour trip; $220 for a 2-hour trip
  • Open March 15- November 1, making for a wonderful summer or fall activity

What to bring on your boat adventure

  • Sunscreen: While there is an umbrella on the boat that provides some shade, be prepared to see a lot of sun, if you’re out on the water on a warm day. There aren’t that many shaded places to veer off once you’re on the water. Plus, you can’t dock the boat anywhere outside of its designated spots.
  • Snacks: There is a round table in the middle of the donut, where you could set up food to eat.
  • Life jackets: They are provided, including for the kids. However, if you have babies or toddlers, I recommend bringing your own to ensure you have one that fits.

Out to lunch at a nearby restaurant eating fish and chips and other seafood dishes

After your excursion: Fish and chips

Since we took a morning ride, we were ready for brunch afterward. There are so many places to choose from in the South Lake Union area, within walking distance, but we decided to go to the spot most convenient. The Seattle Donut Boat docks are right in front of the White Swan Public House at 1001 Fairview Ave. N.

Since it was so close and we’d never eaten there before, we decided to give it a try and weren’t disappointed. The kids loved their fish and chips (the fish pieces were huge), and my husband and I loved sharing the Shrimp Etouffee and Fishwich. Can you tell we were all in the mood for seafood? They also had other meats and vegetarian options.

Less than a mile away is the South Lake Union Saturday Market, which runs from 11-4 p.m. every Saturday until September 30. A nice stop if you happen to be taking your boat ride on a Saturday.

Overall, I was really impressed by how well my two boys did on this ride. The water didn’t feel too choppy.

This would definitely be a trip we’d save for a special occasion with grandparents or friends. I could also see it being a great experience for a mom’s night out!

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About the Author

Janet Kim

Janet Kim works in tech during the day and can be found adventuring with her family outside of her day job. A former broadcast journalist, her passion has always been to share stories that can help her community. You can find her sharing tips from her family adventures on Instagram at @JanetKimTV.