Spend the day paddling between small remote islands in search of sea birds, seals, porpoise, river otters, humpback whales, and killer whales (orca whales). We have real-time information about where whales have been spotted; increasing the odds of seeing them. Love food? You'll love our meals. We have the best food in the industry and we plan our meals around our guests' desires and dietary restrictions. At the end of the day retreat to comfortable beds in the the most luxurious inns and dine at top restaurants where you can order off a full menu. Let Crystal Seas take care of all the logistical details and provide you with all the activities and fun you will want on your next vacation!
Length: These tours range from 2-6 days in length.
Includes: We provide all accommodations, transportation, kayak gear, breakfast, picnic lunches, dinner* and a happy hour beverage of your choice after the days activity**. Our guests enjoy ordering off a full menu. You will need to bring personal clothing and toiletries, a willingness to learn and a sense of adventure.
*Our 4, 5 and 6 day tours allow one night for the guests to explore town on their own. This evening's dinner is not included in the cost of the trip. **We do not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages with dinner.
Accommodations: Our Family Inn to Inn Kayak Tours include staying at the Tucker House and the Friday Harbor House on San Juan Island and Outlook Inn and Turtleback Farm Inn on Orcas. Each inn will cater to the most discerning guest as we choose the best of the best. Enjoy breakfast at your inn with ingredients from local farms. If your expectations are high then this tour will exceed them!
No experience is necessary. Please note that the vast majority of our trips follow the routes and itineraries listed on our website, but changes may occur for reasons of safety, weather, logistics and guide or administrative judgement.
Family Focused Kayak Inn to Inn Highlights
Why Go with Crystal Seas?
The local experience
You’re not just another tourist when you travel with Crystal Seas. Your family can experience island life through the eyes of a local, we are passionate about sharing these beautiful islands with you and letting you in on all our local secrets. We always keep the tides, currents, and weather in mind when planning our day to keep your family safe. We will take you to best beaches for tide pooling and select routes that allow for the best wildlife viewing.
Top Notch Accommodations
Our Inn to Inn Kayak Tours include staying at the Friday Harbor House or Tucker House on San Juan Island and the Outlook Inn or Turtleback Farm Inn on Orcas Island. Each inn will cater to the most discerning guest as we choose only the best rooms available at these relaxing inns. Enjoy breakfast at your inn made by your innkeepers with ingredients from local farms. If your expectations are high then this tour will exceed them!
Small personal groups
A great trip involves many factors. One of these is the group size. A smaller group is safer, allows for more interactions between the guides and guest and gives our guests a chance to know each other. Furthermore, we can also adjust and modify the trip to the individual desires and interests of the group, allowing our guests to participate in various activities ranging from birding, to advanced kayaking, to photography opportunities. For all these reasons and more we keep our regularly scheduled multi-day expedition group size to 8 guests or less ( unless a private trip ).
Private and custom tours are available upon request.
Best Island restaurants
Our all inclusive trip involves eating at the most desired restaurants in the San Juan Islands. On all of our trips our guests are allowed to choose from the full menu and select anything and everything they want**. We select all the top quality restaurants, giving you the best dining experience the San Juan Islands have to offer.
**We do not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages with dinner.
Gourmet family meals
Starting with lunch on the first day and ending with lunch on your last day we provide your family with all meals in between*. We feel that what you eat can be a major factor in the quality of your expedition and therefore we proute ourselves on the quality and heartiness of our well prepared meals. Prior to your trip we send out food questionnaires and customize all of our meals to the various dietary requirements of your family.
*Our 4, 5 and 6 day tours allow one night for you and your family to explore town on your own. This evening's dinner is not included in the cost of the trip.
**We do not cover the cost of alcoholic beverages with dinner.
We strongly believe that an outstanding professional guide can make the difference between a good trip and a fabulous trip, therefore we place a lot of emphasis on providing the best guides available. We choose guides who are family friendly, knowledgeable, have a great attitude, are excellent leaders, great teachers and who love what they do. We provide two guides on all of our bicycling expeditions groups of 6 or more.
Family Friendly TIMES AND DISTANCES
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.
Tailored to your skill level
We begin each of our tours with a thorough safety and kayak lesson to familiarize you with your equipment so that you are adequately prepared for your adventure. This lesson includes paddling technique, sea kayaking safety, becoming familiar with our safety gear and other helpful and necessary preparation for our expedition.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I fit in the kayak and gear?
Here’s a good way to get an idea if you will fit in the kayak. Most people of average body weight and height can fit into the kayak. All of our kayaks are doubles so there is more space that one might think.
NOT SURE? PLEASE DO THIS: Take a measuring tape and measure the circumference of the widest part of your body (hips/stomach/chest).
Our SPRAY SKIRTS fits up to 43 inches including clothing, around the largest part of the midriff. The spray skirt is what you will wear around your torso. It connects to the kayak cockpit to keep you dry. You can wear it above or below your chest. There is a string to synch it to your body. If you can comfortably fit into it, you should be good to wear the spray skirt.
Our COCKPIT dimensions are 31" Long x 16" Wide x 14.5" Deep.
The cockpit is the opening area to get into the kayak. You will need to be able to sit down past it to get onto the kayak seat. Remember that your body parts can move and the boat is fiberglass so if you have hips that are around these dimensions, you can typically still sit into the kayak. What we want is for you to be able to safely exit the kayak. *Please send us a message through our website or give us a call, if you question whether you or someone in your group might not fit.
Am I too tall?
The kayaks are most comfortable for people who are 6' 4” ft. and under. If you are above this height, you may not feel comfortable. We can put tall people in the front of the kayak to give them more leg room. *Please send us a message through our website or give us a call, if you question whether you or someone in your group might be too tall.
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 kayak route offers one of the best opportunities in the world to see wild orca whales from a kayak because we paddle 1-2 days (depending on trip type) in a federally designated whale habitat. Since we can’t guarantee that they will show up on every kayak trip, we offer the option to increase the odds to over 90% by spending one afternoon aboard a whale watch cruise aboard the Odyssey. 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.
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.
Are all meals and drinks included in the cost of the trip?
We cover all meals on our 2 and 3 day trips, from lunch on the first day to lunch on the last day. On our 4, 5 and 6 day trips we allow one night for our guests to explore Friday Harbor on thier own, this evening's dinner is not included in the cost of the trip. Our guides will give you some suggestions of places that are popular among the locals. We provide all our guests with refeshing, non alchohlic, beverages throughout the tour. If you have a favorite drink that you would like us to have on hand, please note your favorite drink in the questionairre you return to us. Our guides will also provide the group with a 'happy hour' beverage after the days activity. We provide Washington state wines or if you perfer beer, we can pick up a cold 6 pack of your favorite Washington variety.
Even More Relaxed cancellation and refund policy
30 or more days before the trip date, full refund of all payments less a $30 per person cancellation fee. 0-29 days before the trip date, guests will be charged 100% of the entire trip cost and no refunds will be made. All cancellations must be in writing and charged amount is determined upon the date of receipt.
We ask for a 50% deposit when you make your reservation for a trip that is more than 60 days in the future. If the trip is 60 days or less in the future, then full payment upon making your reservation is required.