san juan island kayak tours

Sea Kayaking 3-Hour Tours From Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor

sea kayakingThe San Juan Islands are considered one of the top sea kayaking destinations in the world. Paddling this area offers our guests rugged coastline, expansive ocean views, snow covered mountains, and lots of marine wildlife including Orca Whales, Seals, Sea Lions, Bald Eagles, and more.

Our 3-Hour wildlife tour by kayak is designed for paddlers of all abilities, including those who have never paddled before (6 yrs and up, ask about family specific tours for active families). Our two exclusive locations at Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor with kayak specific finger docks, allow guests to access the kayaks safely and easily while also giving our tours easy access to the best paddling in the San Juan Islands.

See the Full San Juan Island Kayaking Tour Schedule

San Juan Outfitters is owner operated, and many of our guides are local naturalists. We are known for our customer service, and high quality tours. Our guides love taking people out on water, teaching the essentials of paddling and educating our guests about our local ecosystems.

Our 3-Hour tour begins with some instruction on the docks, and getting familiar with your equipment and kayak (15 minutes+). The remainder of your tour is spent out on the water, as your guide takes you out of the harbor past wildlife refuges, and beautiful coastline. Every day brings a new experience, and our guides enjoy getting showing people why the San Juan Islands are considered the jewel of the northwest. Once we get you on the water, we’re certain it won’t be the last time you take a tour with us.

Many of our guests have never been paddling before, and we welcome beginners. Kayaks are extremely efficient on the water, and don’t require a lot of effort to keep moving forward (think of pedaling a bicycle)once they get going. This allows just about anyone to participate in a 3-hour tour.

While on the water your trip will explore amazing sea cliffs, shoreline, kelp forests, and other wildlife rich habitat. On our 3-hour tour, guests can expect to see harbor seals, marine birds, bald eagles, and Killer Whales (Orcinus Orca). Guests are always amazed at the amount of invertebrate marine life along the shoreline including sea stars, anemones, nudibranchs, and more.

The chance to see whales is always best on our longer 5-hour tour (65%) or whale sanctuary tour (75%), however you still have a great opportunity to see whales on our 3-hour departure from Roche Harbor. We estimate your chances (based on 12 years of tracking our sightings) to be greater than 50% in the months of June, July, and August. All of our tours are designed to show our guests great wildlife, and amazing habitat regardless of Killer Whale sightings which sets us apart from other companies. Your chances of seeing whales is best with our company, but we consider a sighting icing on the cake.


Roche Harbor 3-hour Kayak Tour

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Roche Harbor is on the northwest side of San Juan Island. San Juan Outfitters is the exclusive kayak operator from Roche Harbor, which allows us access to areas where no other kayak company can go. This location is ideal for kayaking and wildlife tours, as we have a combination of protected water, wildlife refuges, and access to big open with expansive views of Haro Strait, The Olympic Mountains, Cascade Mountains, and beautiful shoreline. Haro Strait is known as an “Orca Highway”, and any encounter with one of our resident Killer Whale pods will happen here. Roche Harbor is just a short trip from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Guests who choose a tour from Roche Harbor will get to visit our main operation for all San Juan Outfitters activities, also known as the Marine Adventure Center (MAC). If you have any questions about what tour is right for you and you group, please give us a call. You will likely speak to myself, owner and operator Brian Goodremont. If I’m on the water, you’ll speak with one of our other long time staff members . Let us know how we can help plan your activities while on San Juan Island.

Friday Harbor Kayaking | 3-hour Tour

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Our 3-hour tour departing Friday Harbor is more convenient for people without cars who are staying in Friday Harbor, or visitors who will only be on the island for half a day. It’s also a great trip for return guests who have been on our 3-hour tour from Roche, and would like to try something different. Our exclusive location from Friday Harbor allows guests to easily access some of the best paddling in the San Juan Islands. It doesn’t take long to exit the harbor and leave the town behind, as you make your way along the east side of San Juan Island. Where this tour goes is very much tide dependent, and both options are equally fun. To the north, the tour travels along the east side of San Juan Island, along the University of Washington property. This area is a nature reserve, and guests are just as likely to see land mammals as they are marine mammals. To the south, the tour travels past Brown Island toward Turn Island State Park. From this turn-around point, guests get views of San Juan Channel, the Olympic Mountains, Lopez Island and more. Turn Island State Park also provides an opportunity to stretch your legs and enjoy the views before continuing back towards Friday Harbor in a big loop.

Sunset Kayak Tours – 3 hour tour from Roche Harbor

There are few sunsets that rival what you’ll see on our 3-hour Sunset Tour from Roche Harbor. This tour combines our regular wildlife tour by kayak with, the added bonus of an incredible sunset over the Canadian Golf Islands and Vancouver Island to top it all off. On some nights, the sunset lights up the Cascades to the East, as we make our way back into the harbor. The pace for these tours is a little slower than our normal 3-hour wildlife tour, but you’ll still have an opportunity to view most of the wildlife typically seen on any other tour. The biggest draw to this tour is definitely the quiet water and beautiful views, and you will not soon forget the pristine waters that you paddled.

Family Specific Kayak Tours - Age 6 yrs and up

San Juan Outfitters is the only company in the San Juan Islands that offers family specific kayak tours. We can provide this service because we are able to stay in sheltered waters and still show families lots of wildlife. Our exclusive launching facility and kayak docks provide safe and easy access to the water, and our guides have extensive experience working with kids. Our family specific tours emphasize a hands-on wildlife experience-- hold your first jellyfish, sea star, and other shore life! You might also have a chance to explore a kelp forest as you look for seals, otters, and other marine life.

Kayaking is a great way for families to adventure together, and experience the Pacific Northwest. Kids catch on very quickly, and our 3-hour tour is the perfect amount of time on the water. Additional lessons and instruction can be scheduled with our staff if families want to learn more about the sport. The 3-hour family tour is a great introduction to sea kayaking and marine wildlife. You may also want to consider our overnight trips, where we can create special itineraries, meals and activities with the whole family in mind, Call us to schedule your tour, or if you have further questions about any of our sea kayaking tours or services.