Kayaking the San Juan Islands!!!


New Member
May 1, 2005
My wife and I are vacationing in the San Juan Islands, WA. in June. We have about 3 days to sea kayak. Are there any spacific routes or camping sites we should consider.
I'm an avid whitewater kayaker and have plenty of outdoor training are the routes easy to follow? Any dangerous currents? GPS needed??

Any suggestions would be appreciated!!!

Thank you,

I haven't paddled in the San Juans yet but I used to do a lot of cycle touring there. One spot that I particularly like is Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island.

I'd actually like to roll by boat onto the ferry in Sidney and spend a week or so over there exploring all the little islands.

I believe there are a few good books out there as well specifically about paddling in the San Juans.
I haven't explored the San Juans enough to be able to comment on the best places to explore or visit, but you should be aware that there are some spots throughout the Canadian Gulf Islands and the US San Juan Islands that you'll have to keep an eye out for currents. Most wider passages can have currents up to about 3-4 knots (the comfortable paddling speed of most kayakers), but there are some narrower passages where currents can exceed 10 knots and contain potentially dangerous whirlpools and other such features. Don't be dissuaded though - there are some great places to paddle. Just do a bit of research on the web or at the library first, so you know what to expect and what areas are best to avoid. Local tide and current tables are something of a neccessity as well.

Have a great trip!
To go along with Tide and Current tables, it would be a good idea to pick up some charts of the areas you plan to paddle -- the data on them is very useful and can keep you out of trouble.

Here's a link to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration where you can purchase charts:


Hope this helps.

i spent 9 day's paddling the san juans last summer and camped at 6 different islands, where ever you choose to paddle you will have some great memory's. i used randel washburne's "kayaking puget sound, the san juans and gulf islands" to plan our trip.
sea trail marine maps are great for the area! the maps are designed for kayakers and have current reference points, camp sites, rip tide warning areas, crossing distances and degrees. the maps are laminated and fold to 8.5 by 11. the only drawback is it takes 5 maps to cover the entire san juans but with 3 days you won't need them all.
i use a map gps but once you see the charts of the area i think you will find a gps is not a must.
the most remote and nicest sunsets in the san juans can be found on patos island, of the thousands of pic's i've taken with my digital the sunset shot from patos get's the most compliments.
Thanks for the Info---Keep It comming!!!

Thanks eveyone!!!

I was refered to this site from www.boof.com the Sierra Whitewater Page.
Your Info and warnings will be payed attention too.
I'll be headed to Barnes & Nobel today after a class IV run on the North American here in California!!

Good Boating Everyone!!

PS keep posting trip suggestions