Kayak Camping in the San Juans

Category: Outdoors

I met Doug during the NWOC whitewater kayaking class a couple of years back and we had done some whitewater kayaking together. He was more into sea kayaking though, so we decided to do an overnight trip to explore some of the San Juan islands.

We launched from Washington Park in Anacortes and headed across the Guemes Channel. We skirted along Cypress Island and eventually made our way over to the tiny Strawberry Island where we found a sheltered cove and we went ashore for lunch. It was really fun having the entire island to ourselves and looking out over the ocean and other islands in the distance.

Rocky cove on Strawberry Island

After lunch, we headed west toward Blakely Island and then turned south towards Decatur Island and James Island. The currents on the west side of James Island were flowing very strong and it was fun and exhilarating to try to manuever in them.

James Island is entirely a state park with boat-only access and a great Cascadia Marine Trail campsite and was our destination for the night. The campsite sat high above a nice beach with great views of the surrounding area.

The well-marked campsite

Stairs from the beach to the campsite

Home for the night

We had plenty of day left so we hiked around the island to check it out. There was another campsite on the other side of the island and lots of great views.

View of our kayaks from on high

The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast and then headed out. We paddled due east across the Rosario Straight and encountered a minke whale and some giant container barges heading out to sea. Once across, we explored the tide pools along the western edge of Fidalgo Island before returning to our stating point.

The weather was gorgeous and it was a super fun trip. Definitely need to get out and paddle this area some more.




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