San Juan Islands Women's Weekend

Trip Length 3 Days
Group Size 4-14
Difficulty
3

Starting from

$799

for REI Members

$875 for non-members

Departures

Sep 2019-Sep 2020

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.

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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

Activities

This trip is rated Moderate [3]. Trip members should be capable of ocean kayaking for up to 6 hours per day, in calm to moderately rough seas and weather conditions. Basic swimming skills, while not required, are recommended to provide a level of comfort when kayaking on open waters. We always wear PFDs when kayaking.

  • 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.

Accommodations

Island camping, 2 nights

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Paddle from Roche Harbor to Stuart Island while looking for whales.

Our trip begins today in Friday Harbor, Washington, located in the San Juan Islands archipelago. We meet at 9am at a park near the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. We transfer to Roche Harbor to prepare for our kayaking excursion and to 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 along 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 and kayak coves along Stuart Island.

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. In the afternoon we return to our kayaks to discover tide pools and search for a variety of Puget Sound wildlife that call this area home. Returning to our camp for the evening, we celebrate the day with happy-hour snacks followed by a dinner and wine selection inspired by the San Juan Islands. All meals included.

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

Day 3

Kayak by Stuart, Henry and San Juan islands, return to Friday Harbor.

Our final day on the water is spent paddling through Spieden Channel and winding our way along Stuart, Henry and San Juan Islands. This section of waterway is famous as one of the most visually 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. The trip concludes with a transfer to the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal. We plan to arrive by 4pm; departures by float plane or ferry can be booked any time after 5pm. Breakfast and lunch included.

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

San Juan Islands Women's Weekend Departures

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.

What to pack

Packed by REI

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

Packed by you (Required)

Recommended

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Travel Documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Photo Identification

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.

Meet your guides

Emily S.

Emily’s love of the water started early, with frequent visits to the Oregon Coast. She pursued her passion for the sea by earning a BS in Marine Biology and later dedicating her life to introducing others to the waterways of the San Juan Islands.

Meet your guides

Jess

Jess’s thirst for adventure leads her from her hometown of Park City, Utah, in the winter to the quiet corners of the San Juans during the summer. She’s also an accomplished backcountry cook and takes great pleasure in creating well-rounded outdoor experiences.

Adventure Expert

Heather

Loading up a kayak and paddling out to explore the San Juan Islands is my ideal weekend away. I can't imagine a more authentic way to experience these islands.

Seattle Sue

Force of Nature Kayak Trip


Our trip was first class from start to finish! Enthusiastic, knowledgeable guides who delivered amazing meals, and let us have a real vacation. We were fortunate to have picture perfect weather too! The trip was stren...

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