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San Juan Islands Women’s Kayaking – Roche Harbor to Stuart Island

Trip Length3 Days
Group Size4-12
Activity level
Starting from
$1,149 for REI Members
$1,249 for non-members
DeparturesMay 2024-Sep 2024

Encounter the soul of the Pacific Northwest on this kayaking and culinary exploration of the San Juan Islands.

This trip is perfect for anyone who wants to learn sea kayaking fundamentals, experience the wild bounty of San Juan Islands, and get away without blowing through a week of vacation. After orientation, we set out exploring in double kayaks. For three glorious days, we paddle with the winds and tides, crossing channels, skimming over lagoons and pausing to picnic in rocky coves while seabirds wheel overhead. Our naturalist guides share insights about the islands’ history and animal inhabitants. Keep your eyes open for Steller sea lions, harbor seals, and curious dolphins. We may even glimpse resident orca whales.

Each evening, we enjoy a remarkable backcountry gourmet dinner, with multiple courses sourced from the Northwest and perfectly paired with Washington wines. We camp on remote Stuart Island, away from crowds. The summer sky frames spectacular sunsets and views of the Cascades, Olympic Range and far-off Mount Rainier. You’ll leave renewed by the peace and beauty of this wild refuge.

Another great day of paddling!

Trip Highlights

  • Kayak through some of the most ecologically rich waters on the West Coast
  • Connect with new friends in a camp arranged to bring you closer to nature
  • Enjoy delicious wine and food featuring fresh Northwest flavors
  • Enjoy sweeping views of Boundary Pass from Turnpoint Lighthouse
  • REI Women’s Adventure—designed for women, guided by women


This trip is rated Moderate [3]. We sea kayak up to 10 miles (up to 5 hours), in open ocean waters and crossing large channels that are frequently impacted by tides, currents, wind, choppy water, and possibly inclement weather. The crossing of large stretches of open water channels requires constant momentum sometimes without taking a break for large periods of time. Guests should arrive confident, comfortable, and fit for these conditions. Previous kayaking experience and the ability to swim is a requirement. For safety reasons, single kayaks are not available and guests will need to actively navigate an approximately 20' kayak in partnership with another person. While our guides will provide insight, planning, knowledge, and outdoor leadership during your trip, it is your responsibility to arrive physically and mentally prepared for your expedition.

  • Sea Kayaking

What's Included

Professional instruction and guiding; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; one group arrival transfer Friday Harbor-Roche Harbor; one group departure transfer Roche Harbor-Friday Harbor; 3-person tents for double occupancy use for 2 nights' camping; cooking gear and eating utensils; tandem kayaks (no singles); related kayaking equipment including paddles, PFDs and dry bags; wine tastings on 2 nights.


Island camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Itinerary map for  San Juan Islands Women’s Kayaking – Roche Harbor to Stuart Island

Important Itinerary Note:

Please note that due to the elevated food and wine pairings experience on this itinerary, there is a slight price difference compared to our standard itinerary. If you would prefer an experience without elevated food and wine pairings, please see our San Juan Islands Kayaking– Roche Harbor to Stuart Island adventure.

Day 1

Paddle from Roche Harbor to Stuart Island while looking for whales

Our trip begins this morning in Friday Harbor, Washington, located in the San Juan Islands archipelago. We meet our guides and fellow travelers at a park near the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. A short van transfer delivers us to Roche Harbor where we’ll prepare for our kayaking excursion and enjoy a picnic lunch. The guides will speak about kayaking technique and safety and share helpful tips to make your journey through the islands more comfortable. We paddle across the open water of Spieden Channel and skirt Haro Strait, a favorite area for orca whale pods to find salmon. Tonight, we camp at Stuart Island Marine State Park, part of the 150-mile Cascadia Marine Trail and one of 16 trails chosen by the White House Millennium Council to represent America's diverse and remarkable natural history and culture. Tonight's dinner, made with locally sourced ingredients, is prepared by our guides. Lunch and dinner included.

Sea kayaking: 7-10 miles on open water with waves, tides, currents

Day 2

Hike to Turn Point Lighthouse followed by a sunset paddle

After a guide prepared breakfast in camp, we set out on foot to explore the treasures of Stuart Island. A hiking tour of the island includes Turn Point Lighthouse, which provides us with sweeping views of Boundary Pass, and the Canadian Border, a stone’s throw away. After our hike we’ll have some time to relax before happy- hour snacks and dinner before embarking on a sunset paddle, discovering tide pools and searching for a variety of Puget Sound wildlife that call this area home. Returning to our camp for the evening, we celebrate the day with a taste a wine selection inspired by the San Juan Islands around a toasty campfire. All meals included.

Hiking: 6 miles; Sea kayaking: up to 5 miles

Day 3

Kayak from Provost Harbor to Roche Harbor via Spiden Channel

Our final day on the water is spent paddling back across Spieden Channel with a picnic lunch stop at one of the small islands along our guide selected route. This section of waterway is famous as one of the most spectacular kayaking routes in the Pacific Northwest. We watch for eagles, seals, porpoise and orca whales; much of the saltwater and shoreline in the islands is a protected wildlife refuge so sightings of birds and mammals are regular occurrences. In the midafternoon we return to Roche Harbor to unpack our kayaks and say good bye to our new friends! The trip concludes with a van transfer to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. Breakfast and lunch included.

Sea kayaking: 7-10 miles on open water with waves, tides, currents

Itinerary map for  San Juan Islands Women’s Kayaking – Roche Harbor to Stuart Island

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.

Already booked this trip? Sign into your online traveler profile for a more detailed list of what you'll need.

REI members can shop for gently used gear online or at most REI stores. Members can also trade in pre-loved used gear online or at any REI store in exchange for REI gift card credit. Check out Re/Supply at REI to learn more.

Provided by REI

  • All Group Cooking Gear
  • Dry Bags
  • Paddles
  • PFD and Spray Skirt
  • Tandem Kayaks
  • Tent(s)

What to pack

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales ( 1 (800) 426-4840 ) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.