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Choosing the Best San Juan Island Kayak Tour for You

We have guests of all demographics stay with us at the San Juan Island Inn Collection. After years of learning the ins and outs of the local kayaking outfitters, our team can match any guest with their perfect tour. We are happy to get you set up on your tour, but in the meantime here is a guide to help you get started!

Step One: How Long

This is the first question we ask. Are you looking for a half day, full day, or multi day experience? That is a good starting place when determining the right outfitter for you. A half day trip lasts about 3 hours from pick-up to drop-off with roughly 1.5 hours of paddling. A full day trip spans about 6 hours from pick-up to drop-off, with roughly 4.5 hours on the water. Multi day trips (2-6 days) can take two forms: overnight camping with your guide for the more adventurous type, or hotel lodging at night between several days of kayaking for those who enjoy a little more comfort during your multi-day excursion.

If you chose a multi-day kayaking trip:

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers both Kayaking Camping trips or Kayaking Inn trips (with us at the Tucker House Inn & Harrison House Suites!).

Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions offers Kayaking Camping trips from 2-5 days in length. They also offer women-only camping trips!

Outdoor Odysseys offers Kayaking Camping trips from 2-4 days in length.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers Kayaking Camping trips from 2-5 days in length.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions offers Kayaking Camping trips from 2-5 days in length.

San Juan Island Outfitters offers Kayaking Camping trips from 2-3 days in length.

Visit these outfitters’ awesome websites to learn more about what each company offers in terms of gear, meals, etc. and each one’s price. Once you’ve narrowed it down, let our concierge team take care of determining availability and finalizing those logistics for you.

If you chose a half or full day trip, move on to step two!

 


 

Step Two: Time of Day

Now that you’ve chosen a three to four hour trip, would you prefer a morning, midday, sunset or even a late night bioluminescence tour? Most all kayaking outfitters offer some combination of these trips. See our lists below:

Half Day Trips

Morning:

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers four hour tours (from meeting time at the downtown Crystal Seas office to drop-off) throughout the day from 9:00am to 6:00pm during the season. They launch from Snug Harbor but shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions offers three hour morning tours (from pick-up to drop-off at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at approximately 8:00 am. They launch from either Jackson Beach or San Juan County Park and shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $89.

Outdoor Odysseys offers three hour morning tours (from pick-up to drop-o at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at 10:45am. They launch from Jackson Beach for a loop around Griffin Bay, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $89.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers four hour morning tours (from meeting at the Discovery Seas local office to drop-off) at both 8:30am and 11:30am. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island , shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions offers both three hour and four hour morning tours (from meeting at their downtown office to drop-off). The three hour tours begin at 8:30 am and launch for a trip around Griffin Bay. The four hour tours begin at 9:00am and launch off the West side for a trip to Lime Kiln State Park. Food not included. $79/$94.

San Juan Outfitters offers a three hour morning tour (from departure to landing) out of their exclusive Roche Harbor launch site at 10:00am. If you need a ride to the Roche Harbor launch site, just ask for their complimentary shuttle. Food not included. $99.

 

Afternoon:

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers four hour afternoon tours (from meeting time at the downtown Crystal Seas office to drop-off) throughout the day from 9:00am to 6:00pm during the season. They launch from Snug Harbor but shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

Outdoor Odysseys offers three hour afternoon tours (from pick-up to drop-o at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at 2:30 pm. They launch from Jackson Beach for a loop around Griffin Bay, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $89.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers four hour afternoon tours (from meeting at the Discovery Seas local office to drop-off) at 1:30 pm. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island , shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions offers both three hour and four hour afternoon tours (from meeting at their downtown office to drop-off). The three hour tours begin at 1:30 pm and launch for a trip around Griffin Bay. The four hour tours begin at 2:00pm and launch off the West side for a trip to Lime Kiln State Park. Food not included. $79/$94.

San Juan Outfitters offers a three hour afternoon tour (from departure to landing) out of their exclusive Roche Harbor launch site at 2:00 pm. If you need a ride to the Roche Harbor launch site, just ask for their complimentary shuttle. Food not included. $99.

 

Sunset:

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers four hour tours (from meeting time at the downtown Crystal Seas office to drop-off) throughout the day from 9:00am to 6:00pm during the season. They launch from Snug Harbor but shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions offers three hour sunset tours (from pick-up to drop-off at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at approximately 5:00 pm. They launch from either Jackson Beach or San Juan County Park and shuttle guests there and back  from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $89.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers four hour sunset tours (from meeting at the Discovery Seas local office to drop-off) at 5:30 pm. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $102.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions offers three hour sunset tours (from meeting at their downtown office to drop-off), time varies. They launch for a trip around Griffin Bay. Food not included. $79.

 

Bioluminescence:

Outdoor Odysseys offers three hour bioluminescence tours (from pick-up to drop-o at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at 8:30 pm. They launch from Jackson Beach for an unforgettable, late night loop around Griffin Bay, shuttling guests there and back from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $109.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers four hour bioluminescence tours (from meeting at the Discovery Seas local office to drop-off) at approx. 8:45 pm. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island, shuttling guests there and back from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $125.

San Juan Outfitters offers a three hour bioluminescence tour (from departure to landing) out of their exclusive Roche Harbor launch site departing between 8:00-9:00p m. If you need a ride to the Roche Harbor launch site, just ask for their complimentary shuttle. Food not included. $119.

Full Day Trips

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers seven hour full day trips (from meeting time at the downtown Crystal Seas office to drop-off) beginning at 11:00 am. They launch from Snug Harbor but shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Lunch not included. $125.

Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions offers six hour full day trips (from pick-up to drop-off at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at approximately 10:45 am. They launch from San Juan County Park and shuttle guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $99.

Outdoor Odysseys offers six-seven hour day full trips (from pick-up to drop-off at the Spring St. roundabout) that begin at 10:30 am. They launch from San Juan County Park Beach, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Vegetarian lunch included. $109.

Discovery Seas Kayaks offers six hour full day trips (from meeting at the Discovery Seas local office to drop-off) at 11:00 am. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Food not included. $119.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions offers six hour full day trips (from meeting at their downtown office to drop-off) at 10:30 am. They launch from the West side of San Juan Island for a trip to Lime Kiln State Park, shuttling guests there from downtown Friday Harbor. Deli lunch included. $119.

San Juan Outfitters offers a five hour full day trip (from departure to landing) out of their exclusive Roche Harbor launch site at 11:00am. If you need a ride to the Roche Harbor launch site, just ask for their complimentary shuttle. Lunch not included. $119.

 


Step Three: Kid-friendly

Do you have kids with you? Some kayak outfitters have age/weight restrictions:

Crystal Seas Kayaking offers tours for children as young as 5 years old.

Sea Quest Kayaking Expeditions has a minimum age of 5 or 12 depending on the length of the tours, call for specific questions.

Outdoor Odysseys has a minimum age of 12 for most tours, call for specific questions.

Discovery Seas Kayaks has a minimum age of 12 for day trips, 16 for camping trips, and maximum weight of 250 for any trips.

San Juan Kayak Expeditions can take children as young as 10 years old with limited availability.

San Juan Outfitters welcomes all ages, minimum age of 13 for bioluminescence tour and 6 for camping trips.


Step Four: Availability

Before you get your heart set on the perfect kayak company, tour type, and date, remember that availability is always fluctuating! Narrow it down, but give yourself a little wiggle room while our concierge team ensures there are still spots left on the tours that works best for you.


We’ll see you soon!

We hope this guide brought out the adventurous spirit in you! Truth is, you really can’t go wrong with paddling the San Juan Islands. We have voucher programs in place for several of these outfitters, so peruse their sites and then let our concierge team take care of the boring part. We will make sure you have an up-close and personal island experience you won’t soon forget.

If you need any inspiration before you call us, check out our newest blog about the Ten Reasons to Kayak the Salish Sea.

 

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