The San Juan Islands are a spectacularly beautiful archipelago of over 450 islands, islets, and offshore rocks located astride the US/Canada border in the Salish Sea of Washington state. They are ideally suited for sea kayaking and are the birth place for the sport of sea kayak touring. In recognition of the uniqueness of the archipelago, President Obama signed a proclamation to create the San Juan Islands National Monument on March 25, 2013.
The new San Juan Islands National Monument includes about 1,000 acres of land scattered throughout the islands, many of which are included in an important sea kayaking route known as the Cascadia Marine Trail. The kayak trail begins near Seattle in Puget Sound and continues northward through the Salish Sea and the San Juan Islands to the border with Canada.
The striking seascape of the San Juan Islands National Monument attracts all sorts of visitors. Kayakers are not the only ones attracted to the evergreen forests, snow-capped mountains, wind-swept sea cliffs, and beaches. The San Juan Islands are famous among whale-watchers as the best place to see killer whales in the United States. Abundant orcas, sea lions, seals, porpoises, otters, and eagles attract wildlife watchers and sea kayakers from around the world. It’s no surprise then that TripAdvisor recently recognized the San Juan Islands as #1 among the “Top Ten Islands in America”.
More attractions include historic light house stations, the San Juan Islands National Historical Park, the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and the largest state park in Washington. Excellent day hiking trails are found in all of these locations and many feature small campsites, some of which can only be accessed by sea kayaks. Fishing, crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are also popular with kayakers and boaters of all kinds.
Sea Quest Kayak Expeditions has been the leading operator of San Juan Island kayaking tours for the past 25 years. Headquartered in Friday Harbor, Washington, our company was the first kayak outfitter in the San Juan Islands to develop a program emphasizing marine education and water safety, and to provide guides with degrees in biology and natural science. Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a beginner, you will appreciate our depth of knowledge and training. Our kayaking routes traverse the heart of the orca whale waters and Sea Quest gives you the best chance of seeing killer whales from a kayak.
The protected San Juan Islands National Monument is an ideal place for beginners to have their first sea kayaking experience and about half of our guests have never kayaked before participating in a kayak tour with us. Sea Quest can lead you on a half day kayak tour to the historical Lime Kiln Lighthouse and “orca whale watch park”. Or, if you enjoy camping, you can join a kayak trip from two to five days in length that visits the more remote outer San Juan Islands. Open your horizons by experiencing our newest national monument from a sea kayak!