Excellent kayak trip!

Reviewed August 16, 2014
Our family of 3 had very little previous kayak experience and had a great time on our 3-hour tour. There were four others in the group with our guide Maya. We saw seals, bald eagles and many star fish on our trip. We got the impression that it's not very often you see killer whales on the 3-hour tours, so if you really want to see killer whales on your trip, I would recommend booking a charter with Legacy Charters - the best killer whale excursion (you will see whales!). But if you are just looking for an awesome kayak experience Crystal Seas was great!!!
I just wanted to let you know how great our kayak trip was this past weekend. My friends and I had an awesome time paddling with your company and I'm sure we will all recommend Crystal Seas whole-heartedly to anyone who asks. Your guides were professional, extremely competent, responsive to the guests, and lots of fun to hang out with. I got exactly what I wanted to from my trip with Crystal Seas: relaxation, challenge, and plenty of fun.
Paul Kimball

Multi-Day San Juan Islands Kayak Camping Vacation

Multi-Day San Juan Islands Kayak Camping Vacation

Multi-Day Kayak Camping Summary

No experience is necessary on our sea kayak camping trips. Crystal Seas will provide everything you need to make your kayak expedition an enjoyable, relaxing adventure. Wake-up on an island in the Salish Sea to a beautiful sunrise and a delicious breakfast before spending the day on the water. If this sounds like your ideal kayaking vacation, our multiple day excursions would be a perfect choice.

Length:These tours range from 2-6 days in length.

All Inclusive:We provide: All gourmet meals and snacks made with locally farmed produce when available, safety equipment and first aid supplies, SealLine dry bags, two-person MSR tents, Therm-A-Rest sleeping pads (which convert to camp chairs) and pillows, Kokatat paddling jackets and pants, wetsuit booties, pogies and our incredible attention to detail. You need to bring, a sleeping bag (rentals are available), personal clothing and toiletries, a willingness to learn and a sense of adventure.

Distances & Timing: In an average day of your kayak trip we will paddle 8-10 miles, amounting to approximately 4 to 5 hours of time on the water. The day is split up with a few stops for eating, stretching and necessary restroom breaks on various public-landing spots throughout the San Juan Islands.

Fan produced video:

Helpful Travel Info

Coming just for the day? It’s easy! Just leave your car parked in Anacortes and walk on the Washington State Ferry to Friday Harbor where we will pick you up in our shuttle and take you to our private kayak docks.

Already going to be here? We are happy to pick you up at the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor or you can meet us at our private kayak docks.

  • Bald Eagles
  • Shorelines
  • Sea Stars
  • Seals
  • Dall's Porpoise
  • Lighthouses
  • Orca Whales
  • Beaches
  • Sunsets
  • Madronas
  • Blue Herons
  • Bull Kelp
Lori M

Highlight of our trip!

Reviewed August 11, 2014
Just returned from a 3 day trip to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The highlight of our trip was a 3 hour kayaking tour with Crystal Seas Kayaking. You do not need a car for this adventure as Crystal Seas has a store front right on Spring Street in downtown Friday Harbor. From the store front, they load up all the participants in a cargo van and provide transportation to Snug Harbor on Mitchell Bay where the kayaks are launched. Super convenient for those who walked or biked on the ferry. Our guide, William, was awesome! We felt very safe with him and had a ball. He's very comfortable to be around. He was especially kind and patient with my 8 yr old daughter. We learned all about our surroundings as we were paddling for 3 hours. And YES, we even saw some whales! I would definitely request William as a guide when we return next summer." Our entire experience was "5 star" with this outfitter!

Gourmet Meals:

Starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on the last day we provide all meals during your kayaking vacation. What you eat has a major impact on ones attitude and ability during an outdoor expedition. We pride ourselves on our fresh, quality, healthy and hearty gourmet meals that each guide prepares for our guests. Prior to your trip we send out food questionnaires and customize all of our meals to the various dietary needs and requirements of our guests. Below are just a few dinner selections from our fabulous, first class menu.

-Cinnamon ginger pineapple glazed King salmon served over wild mushroom Couscous, topped with a fresh mango pineapple salsa and a crisp green side salad.

-Provincial butternut squash sweet potato soup seasoned with red pepper and herbs de provance, and served with garlic dipping bread and sun-dried tomato chicken sausage.

-Ginger Thai peanut sauce blended with fresh broccoli, zucchini, carrots, red bell peppers, mushrooms, and your choice of protein, served over basmati rice, and garnished with fresh cilantro, bean sprouts, and a squirt of fresh lime.

We buy our produce from local farmers markets and purchase organic whenever possible to provide the freshest, most flavorful ingredients to our guests.


Great Introduction to Sea Kayaking

Reviewed August 10, 2014
Our daughters enjoyed their first Sea Kayaking adventure. The staff were professional and friendly. The kids felt safe and the guide did a good job monitoring the small group. Although the group assembles in Friday Harbor, they left from nearby snug harbor which was a comfortable place to wait and watch them start and end their trip. They got to see lots of wildlife and said they had a wonderful time.

Our Kayak Guides:

Our excellent knowledgeable and friendly naturalist kayak guides: We strongly believe that an outstanding guide can make the difference between a good trip and a fabulous kayak vacation. We choose our guides carefully; many are locals with years of experience in the San Juan Islands and Pacific Northwest, while others come from across the world to offer their knowledge and personal experiences. Our guides are skilled, friendly, and knowledgeable, they have a positive attitude and are passionate teachers but most importantly, they love what they do.

No previous sea kayaking experience is required: We begin each of our sea kayak tours with a thorough safety/kayak lesson to familiarize you with your equipment and adequately prepare you for your adventure. The lesson includes paddling technique, sea kayaking safety, tips on loading and unloading of your sea kayak, familiarization with our safety gear and providing other helpful and necessary skills for our kayak expedition.

Flo S

Bit of dad and daughter time

Reviewed August 5, 2014
Teen daughter and Hubs have raved about their sunset tour. Perfect time of day and length of trip for them. Lovely guide, they said. Thanks Crystal Seas - we hope to be back.

Small Personal Groups:

Small personal groups: Providing an excellent kayak trip involves a combination of many factors. One key aspect is the group size. A smaller group is safer on and off the water, allows for more interactions between the guide(s) and guests as well as gives our guests a chance to get to know each other. We adjust and modify each trip to the individual desires and interests of the group, allowing our guests to participate in various activities the San Juan Islands have to offer. Our regularly scheduled San Juan Island kayaking multi-day tour group size is limited to 8 guests or less.

At least two guides on all of our multi-day kayak expeditions with groups of 6 or more: One of our guides will provide a great trip, but two will double the fun. We ensure at least two guides on all of our multi-day expeditions with groups of more than 6. This makes sure the trip is safer, more intimate and allows our guides to offer twice the experience and knowledge, as well as entertainment and local folklore.

Camping on the smaller outer islands: The real scenic beauty of the San Juan Islands resides away from the main islands. Our multi-day kayak expeditions take you to various smaller outer islands. These islands offer non-crowded beaches, abundant wildlife, peaceful nights and pristine views. We stay in established campsites with composting toilets and running water. We usually, weather dependant, move to a new campsite every day or two for the full island experience.


A perfect evening

Reviewed July 31, 2014
Hannah was our guide for a sunset cruise. There were 4 guests (in 2, 2 person kayaks) and Hannah. The weather was perfect with glassy water and a gorgeous sunset. We saw a lot of seal and eagles as we paddled by beautiful cliffs on the way out from Snug Harbor. I highly recommend this tour.

Kayaking Heaven

Reviewed July 31, 2014
This was the high point of our visit to San Juan Island. The Kayaks were high quality, comfortable and easy to maneuver. Prior to embarkation from the charming Snug Harbor, our guide trained our small group in proper Kayak technique and throughout the tour, occasionally entertained us with insider information about the local sea life and ongoing local scientific studies. We saw an Eagle chasing a seagull and took a break in a kelp bed near Jacque Cousteau's son's dive boat. The sea is crystal clear and must be a perfect place to dive. Experiencing the breath taking coastal scenery left a lasting impression to savor and enjoy. This was money well spent.

Great for families of varied ages and abilities

Reviewed July 30, 2014
We were a group of 6--3 kids (9-12) and 3 adults--of varied ages, experience, and abilities. Our guide was great at helping us all have a good time and helping each of us at our level. We also learned a lot about sea life living in the inter-tidal area. She helped us raft up when, much to our glee, orcas came into view! A great trip!

Multi-Day Kayak Camping Rates, Itineraries & Schedule:

Turn Point Lighthouse Expedition
2-Day/1-Night - $369 per person

In Prime Orca Whale Territory.

Day 1: Today we paddle along the west side of San Juan Island, heading North through an area renowned for orca whale sightings. Tonight’s campsite is in one of the harbors of Stuart Island State Park. Once we arrive we will set up camp for the night and get settled. If you choose, you can hike among giant Douglas firs and Western Cedar trees, along a path leading to a historic lighthouse. Sit on the rocky ledges of Lovers Leap and watch the sunset or near the waters edge where seals, kingfishers, osprey, eagles and blue heron feed in the shallow waters of the bay. Your guide will prepare your hard earned dinner and afterwards enjoy entertaining stories around a warm campfire. Head to bed early, for a good nights rest while falling asleep to the night sounds on this remote island.

Day 2: After a hot cup of coffee/tea and a delicious breakfast, we pack up our gear and head back to San Juan Island. During the paddle back we will follow the rocky shoreline in search of harbor seals and eagles, while keeping our eyes peeled for any whale sightings along the way. Lunch will be on a pebbled beach to refuel for a relaxing afternoon paddle home. The trip will end on San Juan Island in the mid afternoon, getting you back to Friday Harbor in time for the next leg of your journey.

Custom dates are available...just ask us.

Every Saturday-Sunday from April - October


Turn Point Lighthouse Expedition
3-Day/2-Night - $579 per person

In Prime Orca Whale Territory.

Day 1: This morning, after picking you up in Friday Harbor, we depart from Snug Harbor Marina on the west side of San Juan Island kayaking northwest in the prime orca whale territory. We stop for a fresh lunch on Posey Island and then continue paddling on to Stuart Island. We will set up camp here for the next two nights. Now you can hike to the Turn Point Lighthouse and watch as the sun dips out of sight or sit by the water and enjoy the peaceful harbor… you now remember exactly why you chose to kayak Washington. Simply amazing!

Day 2: Wake up for a relaxing campsite breakfast and get ready for the days activities. Today we circumnavigate Stuart Island by paddling next to the U.S.-Canadian border. Enjoy the calm waters of Reid Harbor, the abundant wildlife on the shore and the beauty of the Canadian Rockies while out for the day.

Day 3: We will pack up our camp in the morning and then paddle across Spieden Channel back to the shores of San Juan Island. Here we will enjoy our last lunch together on a remote beach and then continue the days paddle back to our takeout spot. The trip will end mid-afternoon and get you back to Friday Harbor in time for your next adventure.

Custom dates are available...just ask us.

Every Friday-Sunday & Saturday-Monday from April - October


San Juan Islands Kayak Vacation
4-Day/3-Night - $739 per person

Days 1-3 in Prime Orca Whale Territory.

Day 1: We depart from San Juan Island and kayak north past Henry Island. Along the way we see a huge Bald Eagles nest, Harbor Seals lounging on the rocks and cormorants nesting in the cliffs. After lunch we cross the channel continuing on to Stuart Island where we will set up camp for the next couple nights.

Day 2: After a leisurely campsite breakfast we get ready to circumnavigate Stuart Island. Hugging the shoreline most of the day, we will have great views of the picturesque lighthouse, some outer islands that border Canada and plenty of wildlife sightings. Today there should be plenty of opportunities to take photos of wildlife and scenery or work on your paddling technique.

Day 3: This morning we pack up camp and head out for a day of island hopping. We’ll journey past the rugged shorelines of Spieden Island, witnessing exotic game grazing on the hillside. Then we will pass through the Cactus Islands and stop for a reenergizing lunch. The last part of the paddle takes us across to Jones Island, where we will set up camp for the night.

Day 4: Watch the sunrise from a quiet bluff or through the door of your tent, before getting ready to paddle back to San Juan Island. Our return paddle will take us down San Juan Channel, through the heart of the San Juan Islands and then back to Friday Harbor.

Custom dates are available...just ask us.

Every Monday-Thursday & Tuesday-Friday from April - October


San Juan Islands Kayak Vacation
5-Day/4-Night - $919 per person

Days 1-3 in Prime Orca Whale Territory.

Day 1: This kayak trip starts paddling along San Juan Islands West-Side, north through Mosquito Pass to Posey Island, where we will break for lunch. After lunch we cross Spieden Channel continuing toward Stuart Island. Arriving at our campsite late in the afternoon we will spend some time setting up camp and relaxing while getting to know your fellow kayakers.

Day 2: Today we may circumnavigate Stuart Island in search of orcas and eagles or take a picnic up to the Historic Lighthouse at the far Northwest point of the island. Either way, the day will be spent enjoying the beauty of the island and embracing some of the local color. Return to our camp in the evening, where your guides will prepare a delicious dinner for all to enjoy.

Day 3: Go for an early morning walk in the woods on one of the many trails, before packing up camp to set out for our next destination, Jones Island. Jones is well known in the boating and kayaking community for its quiet harbors and friendly deer. Tonight, pick your favorite vista to watch the sun as it melts away.

Day 4: Today is spent leisurely paddling through the Wasp Islands in search of seals and eagles. Enjoy lunch on Little McConnell Island and then head over to an island owned by the Nature Conservancy, Yellow Island, for a short walk. Return to Jones Island for some more island exploring and a gourmet campsite dinner.

Day 5: Today we cross San Juan Channel to Shaw Island and then continuing across to the shores of San Juan Island. We will stop for lunch on Turn Island before ending the kayak expedition on San Juan Island, returning to Friday Harbor by mid-afternoon.

Custom dates are available...just ask us.

Every Monday-Friday from April - October


Salish Sea Kayaking Expedition
6-Day/5-Night - $1,049 per person

This kayaking trip is designed to the specific desires and skill levels of our guests. When you first decide to kayak Washington for an extended trip and narrow it down to a San Juan Island kayaking vacation then contact us to set up a truly unique kayaking expedition.

Six days in the San Juan Islands gives one many options for exploration and refinement of your skills. We can modify an itinerary from one of our shorter kayak tours or create something entirely new. Just contact us for more information.


Complimentary transportation. Prices, times and tour location subject to change. Includes launching and landing fees. Does not include 7.8% Washington state sales tax or gratuity. Prices per person in US$.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long of a drive is San Juan Island from Seattle?

We are about a 2 hour drive from Seattle to Anacortes and then a beautiful 1 hour 20 minute ferry ride to Friday Harbor. Arrive to the Anacortes ferry terminal about 30-45 minutes before scheduled departure time if you are walking on the ferry and 1.5 to 2 hours before scheduled departure time if you are bringing your car to San Juan Island. We have a shuttle from the ferry in Friday Harbor to Snug Harbor on Mitchell Bay where our tours depart from, for those who wish to leave their cars at the Anacortes ferry terminal. For ferry fees and schedules visit the Washington State Ferries website. You can also fly to the San Juan Islands from Seattle, click on Kenmore Air & San Juan Airlines

Do you take beginners?

Yes. All of our tours are designed with the beginner in mind. On all of our tours we give a safety & kayak lesson. All of our tours are guided so you will have an instructor near you the whole time.

What happens if there is a single person or an odd numbered group?

We use tandem (double) kayaks for all of our San Juan Island tours. If there is an odd number then one person will be in a kayak with a guide or someone from another odd number party.

Can you accommodate my food requirements on your multi-day tours?

Yes. We will send you a questionnaire when you make your reservation and our guides will plan accordingly.

Will I see whales on my tour?

Our tours are located in the area that whales are most commonly seen but we can't guarantee them. The resident J, K and L pods of orcas have recently been put on the endangered species list so our goal is to respect them, abide by the guidelines and not to paddle aggressively into their path. We will give you a lesson at the beginning of the tour for appropriate kayaking behavior near wildlife.

Are showers available on the camping tours?

Because of the remoteness of the outer islands, we do not have access to showers on our kayak-camping tours however, on our kayak-bicycle-camping tours, WE DO have access to showers at our campsites.

What kinds of wildlife could we see?

Some of the local flora and fauna are Bald Eagles, Cormorants, Black Oystercatchers, Pigeon Guillemots, Pacific Harbor Seals, Orcas (Killer Whales), Dall's Porpoise, Great Blue Herons, Ochre Sea Stars, Blood Stars, Pacific Madrones, Douglas-firs, Western Cedars, Bull Kelp forests and Eel Grass beds.

Daniel D

Had to cancel but received excellent service”

Reviewed July 28, 2014
I unfortunately had to cancel my trip with Crystal Seas because of a family situation. The folks at Crystal Seas were very understanding and provided a prompt refund. Excellent business practices, and I hope to actually do the trip next year--very much looking forward to it.

Fun Kayaking!

Reviewed July 26, 2014
First time kayaking, made an excellent experience by Hannah, our guide/instructor. She was very knowledgeable of the area, wildlife, sea vegetation. Everyone we encountered dealing with Crystal Seas Kayaking were friendly, helpful, reassuring. Loved this experience, would recommend it to anyone looking to see the area from a kayak.

Second Trip with Crystal Seas

Reviewed July 22, 2014
This was my second Crystal Seas tour and both were absolutely fantastic. The first was a 5 day Kayaking/Biking trip with Jordan and Albert and it was just what I needed. Off the grid Island glamping at it's best. The second trip was a quick three hour Kayaking trip off of San Juan Island with Micheal. Did we see whales? OMG, on both trips I would have believed that Crystal Seas released them in front of our Kayaks at just the right time. While they can never guarantee you will have that experience I am 2/2 so far. Thanks for the great experiences.

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