5 Amazing Ways to Explore San Juan Island by Boat

Updated May 2018

Assuming you’re not an endurance coldwater swimmer, you will either fly or take a ferry to San Juan Island. Once here, we encourage you to get back out on that crystal clear water and play, explore the mighty Straits, see Orca whales in the wild, and hear sea lions roar with the snow covered Olympic Mountains in the background. Let us help you find the perfect vessel for you.

  1. Whale Watch Tour

Our friends at San Juan Safaris will take you on an unforgettable four to five hour wildlife tour with less than 20 other people. Their fast, stable boat makes this an ideal choice for families, who have their heart set on seeing astonishing wild life without a bumpy ride. There is always a naturalist on board to explain which Orca baby is swimming by and to point to the bald eagle’s nest, us normal mortals would have surely missed.

  1. Sailing Tour

Treat yourself to a sunset sail with San Juan Classic Day Sailing. Escape the crowds for a few hours and connect with nature on the 1934 cutter “Iris”. Or charter the boat for a day and go to the Lime Kiln Lighthouse and Smuggler’s Cove to nurture your inner pirate. Argggh!

  1. Your Own Boat

The Port of Friday Harbor conveniently located 3½ blocks from the Earthbox Inn & Spa, has over 500 slips (100 reserved for overnight visitors), a fuel dock and doesn’t need overnight reservations for vessels under 24’. You’ll be able to talk to Popeye, our locally-famous, one-eyed harbor seal, listen to concerts in the Port park, watch seaplanes land and the ferries dock, explore Friday Harbor on foot and take part in the fun hustle and bustle of a small town port.

  1. Kayak Tour

Sea Kayaking is how the San Juans yearn to be explored, close to the pristine water, calmly blending in with nature, really discovering your surroundings. If it is a family kayak trip, a sunset tour or an Orca search you seek, San Juan Outfitters in Roche Harbor has what you are looking for.

  1. Interisland Ferry

The small interisland Washington State Ferries serving the San Juan Islands are free for walk-on passengers and bicycles, and are fairly inexpensive for cars and then only if you are sailing west. Take a day trip and hop from island to island, pack a picnic, let the occasional local musician dazzle you, get off on other islands, or not, and allow the astonishing beauty of the San Juans take your breath away.