Summer 2024 Bioluminescence in Puget Sound: Best Dates

Hands-down, the best thing about paddling at night is bioluminescence. While we have seen this phenomenon in many different locations and seasons, your best bet to see it for yourself are dark summer nights. As Puget Sound paddlers, we don’t generally see displays of glowing waves crashing into the beach. If that’s what you’re looking for, it’s probably best to head for the coast. But we do see sparks fly through the water as we paddle. We see droplets from our paddles exploding like fireworks. And we see wakes (our own bow wakes or those from other vessels) glow.

If you are new to this adventure, be sure to read the tips & tricks we shared in 2020 and also check out some recommendations we’ve put together for night paddling in general. We’ve found that the biggest factor is less about where to kayak and more about when to go. This is a naturally-occurring event that doesn’t come with a map or a schedule, so even with our best advice, we can only wish you Happy Hunting!
Visualization of daylight length 2024

Summer 2024 Bioluminescence

If you’re local to our home base of  Tacoma, we’ve pulled together the days and times you’re likely to be able to see summer 2024 bioluminescence in the Pacific Northwest. Your local timing will vary – more info in the article linked above. We also only listed nights that have at least an hour of total darkness. That’s when we’ve always seen the most impressive displays. For ease of planning, we’ve listed each night with two dates – times listed are for the night between. In several instances, you’ll notice that total darkness actually begins the morning of the second date.

These are our best predictions of when you’ll be able to see bioluminescence while you paddle during the summer of 2024, but there are a few factors at play:

  • If we have a lot of cool, stormy weather, you’re less likely to find a light show those nights.
  • If we have hot, sunny days followed by overcast* nights, the moon might not interfere with your experience. Therefore, dates not listed below might be exceptional bioluminescent nights.
  • Dates in bold indicate the new moon. You’ll likely have even better than predicted darkness in the days right around the new moon. Extreme crescent moons don’t tend to light up the water the same way that full (or nearly full) moons do.

*During a recent overnight paddle, the intense cloud cover to our east made it appear that sunrise was happening in the west. That was not at all confusing for sleep-deprived brains, of course.

June 2024

From the time summer begins on June 20 to the end of the month, the moon will be in the sky most of the night.

June 29/30 12:06am – 1:23am
June 30/July 1 12:04am – 1:44am

July 2024

The majority of July is predicted to have good conditions. Remember: if you’re paddling at night on Independence Day and the following weekend, be sure to be extra careful. It’s common to encounter other boaters with unsafe practices near holidays.

July 1/2 12:03am – 2:11am
July 2/3 12:02am – 2:26am
July 3/4 12:00am – 2:27am
July 4/5 11:59pm – 2:29am
July 5/6 11:57pm – 2:31am
July 6/7 11:55pm – 2:33am
July 7/8 11:54pm – 2:36am
July 8/9 11:52pm – 2:38am
July 9/10 11:50pm – 2:40am
July 10/11 11:48pm – 2:24am
July 11/12 11:54pm – 2:45am
July 12/13 12:08am – 2:47am
July 13/14 12:23am – 2:49am
July 14/15 12:40am – 2:52am
July 15/16 1:01am – 2:54am
July 16/17 1:29am – 2:56am
July 28/29 11:06pm – 12:13am
July 29/30 11:01pm – 12:45am
July 30/31 11:01pm – 1:26am
July 31/August 1 10:59pm – 2:20am

August 2024

Warm August temperatures can provide the best experience – this month is often your best opportunity to see really intense bioluminescence.

August 1/2 10:56pm – 3:24am
August 2/3 10:54pm – 3:38am
August 3/4 10:51pm – 3:40pm
August 4/5 10:49pm – 3:42am
August 5/6 10:46pm – 3:45am
August 6/7 10:44pm – 3:47am
August 7/8 10:41pm – 3:49am
August 8/9 10:39pm – 3:51am
August 9/10 10:36pm – 3:54am
August 10/11 10:43pm – 3:56am
August 11/12 11:02pm – 3:58am
August 12/13 11:26pm – 4:00am
August 13/14 11:59pm – 4:02am
August 14/15 12:43am – 4:05am
August 15/16 1:43am – 4:07am
August 16/17 2:56am – 4:09am
August 26/27 9:53pm – 11:24pm
August 27/28 9:51pm – 12:14am
August 28/29 9:48pm – 1:15am
August 29/30 9:46pm – 2:24am
August 30/31 9:43pm – 3:35am
August 31/September 1 9:41pm – 4:38am

September 2024

September bioluminescent displays are highly impacted by weather. Look for warm, sunny days for your best chances. Earlier sunsets provide opportunities that won’t interfere with bedtime too much.

September 1/2 9:38pm – 4:40am
September 2/3 9:36pm – 4:42am
September 3/4 9:33pm – 4:44am
September 4/5 9:31pm – 4:45am
September 5/6 9:28pm – 4:47am
September 6/7 9:26pm – 4:49am
September 7/8 9:24pm – 4:51am
September 8/9 9:28pm – 4:52am
September 9/10 9:56pm – 4:54am
September 10/11 10:34pm – 4:56am
September 11/12 11:25pm – 4:57am
September 12/13 12:31am – 4:59am
September 13/14 1:49am – 5:01am
September 14/15 3:13am – 5:02am

We hope you have a great time – drop a comment to let us know how it went. We’d love to hear all about your summer 2024 bioluminescence paddling trips!


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