Kayaking the San Juan Islands

san juan islands kayaking

A group we met kayaking the San Juan Islands

There is an elegance captured in sea kayaking the San Juan Islands that simply can’t be matched by a boat. Efficiently and silently cutting through the water, getting up close and personal with otters, wales, and porpoises, and looking down into shallow water and observing all the undersea life below you. These are experiences unique to sea kayaking.

If you are considering a guided sea kayaking trip to the San Juan Islands, I highly recommend that you check into Crystal Seas Kayaking based out of San Juan Island. This company has been operating for over 20 years and is staffed by local island residents. Being staffed with locals is important for a recreational business. Their guides know the best spots because they live there. They can speak with authority on the local flora and fauna because they have observed the natural habitats for years. This not only improves the customer experience, it also increases the safety for the customers.

Another great feature of Crystal Seas Kayaking is that they are ‘walk-on’ friendly. If you park your car in Anacortes and catch the ferry to Friday Harbor, they will pick you up at the ferry dock at shuttle you to the launch site. This can significantly cut down on your cost and waiting time – especially during the summer when whale watching is at its peak and so is ferry traffic.

Tour Packages

Crystal Seas has several tour packages that range from 3-hour trips to 5-day extended tours. Their 3-hour mid-day and sunset tours along the northwest coast of San Juan Island puts you in prime whale watching territory. Their all-day tours take your further south to Lime Kiln State Park, which is widely regarded as the best place to whale watch in the San Juan Islands.

They also offer several multi-day trips for those who want to get a real San Juan experience. The Kayak Inn to Inn tour takes you to several different islands and allows you time to enjoy local inns and restaurants after a long day of Kayaking. I consider this innovative partnership with the various inns in the San Juan Islands to be a stroke of genius. It’s perfect for those who want to kayak, but don’t want to ‘rough’ it. My own mother springs to mind as a perfect candidate for this trip.

For those who look forward to the sea kayaking and camping experience, Crystal Seas also offers multi-day Kayak & Camping tours. They have several islands and camping spots to choose from. If you have a particular island or campsite in mind, contact them and I’m sure they will be willing to accommodate you.

Just as touring the coastline in a sea kayak is considered by many to be the ultimate way to experience the islands, many also consider a bicycle tour the best way to experience the inland parts of the islands. Crystal Seas has combined a kayak and bicycle tour which give you the best of both worlds. This tour can also be combined with overnight camping and inn visits. Their flexibility and local knowledge allow them to cater to the personal tastes of any client.

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