San Juan Islands from Anacortes


Sea Kayak - San Juan Islands from Anacortes

A nine day trip to circumnavigate the two largest islands in the San Juan archipelago, Orcas and San Juan Island. Starting and ending at Washington Park, this trip is rated SK IV for long crossings, currents, and the potential for wind and waves.

  • Mon, Jul 29, 2024 — Tue, Aug 6, 2024
  • Seattle Sea Kayaking
  • Sea Kayaking
  • Adults
  • Sea Kayak IV
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 90.0 nm
  • Maximum Wind: 20 kts
  • Maximum Waves: 4 ft
  • Maximum Currents: 5 kts
  • Pace: 3

Meet in the parking lot next to the Washington Park Boat Ramp by at least 7:30 am for an 8:45 am shore talk and 9 am launch (this is a hard launch time).  After loading our boats we will move cars to the long-term parking (lot B) where the cost is $11 per night.  Allow time to move your car and walk back to the beach.  There is a porta-potty at the launch site.

The San Juan Islands are a classic summer paddling destination and we will enjoy a relaxed trip during the high-season.  Our plan is to cover about 90 nm while circumnavigating the two largest islands, Orcas and San Juan in a figure eight.  The last two nights of the route are on Cypress Island, so we can enjoy day-hiking the trails there.  We will paddle with current assistance most days and may take a rest day along the way (if we elect to take a rest day, we may forgo the 2nd night on Cypress).

Currents mandate a couple of early starts, and one or two longer days (still less than 20 nm).  Our nominal itinerary is shared below, but we anticipate making changes based on campsite availability and group enthusiasm.  Miserable mid-trip weather may slow us down (we could stay two nights at one site), or cause the trip to be truncated.

Participants must be comfortable paddling in wind and waves and have the stamina to paddle two consecutive 20 nm days (though this is unlikely based on the current plan).  You must have previous multi-day kayak camping experience and be able to pack supplies for 10 days (water for 4 days).  We may have to share campsites so small-footprint tents are required.  

Immersion wear, preferably drysuits, is required.

This trip will fulfill the San Juan Island circumnavigation and the Orcas Island circumnavigation of the San Juan Island Paddling Experience Badge.

Planned Itinerary

Day 1. Washington Park to Doe Island
Day 2. Doe Island to Point Doughty
Day 3. Point Doughty to Turn Island
Day 4. Turn Island to San Juan County Park
Day 5. San Juan County Park to Jones Island
Day 6. Jones Island to Blind Island
Day 7. Blind Island to Cypress Island
Day 8. Stay put, hike or current play (we may forego this day and return to Washington Park)
Day 9. Cypress Island to Washington Park


  • Parking costs $11 per day at Washington Park.
  • Participants are responsible for their own campsite fees, ~$10 to $15 per day (payable at the site with cash or check).  We will share sites where possible.


  • Have a great time, and stay safe.
  • Enjoy each other’s company.
  • Take time to observe wildlife when opportunities arise. 
  • Circumnavigate San Juan and Orcas Islands.


  • Ability to paddle in currents, strong winds and lumpy water for multiple days in a loaded boat.
  • Participate in an online pre-trip planning meeting.
  • Ability to camp, and remain cheerful, in the rain.
  • Participate in group decisions.
  • Abide by the decisions made by the leaders or the group
  • Do not take risks that others are uncomfortable with.
  • Be ready to launch at agreed-on times.


  • Paddle as a group
  • Support each other
  • Low-impact camping

San Juan Islands from Anacortes

  • Rosario Strait & Bellingham WA001

    Sea Trails Lopez, Blakely, Decatur & Shaw Islands WA002

    NOAA Bellingham to Everett No. 18423

    NOAA Strait of Juan de Fuca to Strait of Georgia No. 18421
  • See full route/place details.
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

These eight essentials plus The Ten Essentials are required on all sea kayaking trips.  All but the whistle and clothing should be provided with any kayak rental.

  1. Floatation in both ends of the kayak
  2. U.S. Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD)
  3. Paddle
  4. Spray skirt
  5. Bilge pump with floatation
  6. Self-rescue paddle float
  7. Waterproof whistle
  8. Appropriate clothing for the conditions encountered seasonally
Trip Reports