5-Day Kayak Expedition to
The Outer San Juan Islands
Up near the international border between Washington State and Canada lies a series of islands known collectively as the Outer San Juan Islands. Sucia Island, Patos Island, and Matia Island are the three primary islands, with many other tiny islets surrounding them. On the edge of the San Juan archipelago, these islands are as remote as they come in Washington State. With five days to spend exploring, you are very likely to become familiar with most of them.
What makes this sea kayak trip unique is that we are departing directly from Orcas Island. A short crossing over to Sucia Island gets us immediately into the “sweet spots.” This is the easiest way to get to the Outer San Juans, and for the entire duration of the trip, you will be exploring these amazing shorelines.
May - September
All Inclusive: $1449 | Self-catered: $1299
Prices are per person, based on double occupancy, 4-person minimum. **Single occupancy, private tent: $50 fee.
More Info: Rates & Schedules
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The Outer Islands rest on the southern edge of the wildlife-rich inland sea named the Strait of Georgia, which guarantees great views of seals, porpoises, bald eagles, and their nests. A large herd of sea lions is seasonally present in the Outer Islands, as are other exciting marine mammals. Low tides expose the most abundant intertidal life in the region.
The highly eroded Chuckanut sandstone on Sucia, Patos, and Matia islands are formed into bold shapes; honeycombed cliffs, whimsical hoodoos, arches, and caves. This is one of the only places in the San Juan Islands where this unusual golden rock appears. Adding to the scenery are massive views of Mt. Baker, a slumbering volcano that appears to rise abruptly from the sea and is covered in glaciers. Surrounding Mt. Baker are the rest of the craggy North Cascades and the snowy peaks of the Canadian Coastal Range. Wide-open waterways surrounding the campsites give visitors a sense of remoteness unique to the Outer Islands.
Our hope is always to exceed your expectations regarding the food we serve. We understand that the one thing that you are sure to remember is whether the food was enjoyable. On our tours, you won’t go hungry! As the company's owners, we see to the creation of each meal plan on our multi-day camping expeditions. We source most of our food from local organic farms here in the Skagit and Samish River valleys and use the freshest seasonal ingredients possible in all of our dishes. If you have any special dietary needs, then just let us know; we can accommodate almost any request.
This is a true expedition camping experience! Once you depart from Orcas Island, you will be entirely self-sufficient, carrying all that you need in your kayaks. Sucia Island Marine Park and its nearby neighbors are well maintained by Washington State Parks. Water is available at Sucia Island, and we carry our water to the other more remote islands. Washington State has installed composting toilets for your convenience. All of the campsites in the Outer Islands are located immediately next to the beaches, ensuring gorgeous views for everyone!
No Experience Necessary!
Like all our kayak tours, this one requires no previous paddling experience. Our fun and professional guides will take care of the details so that you can relax and enjoy yourself. The Outer Islands expedition is best suited for people in moderate physical condition due to the required channel crossing from Orcas Island and between the other islands. If you have any questions about whether this trip is appropriate for members of your group, then please call us to discuss it.
What is included (Fully Catered package*):
- Professional guiding service.
- All of your kayaking equipment (boats, paddles, lifejackets, dry bags, etc).
- All meals (from lunch on Day One to Lunch on Day Five) plus snacks, hot drinks, and limited cold drink mixes. Please feel free to bring your own alcohol of choice.
- Cooking Equipment.
- Complimentary insulated travel mug to take home with you afterwards!
- All camping equipment including tents, insulated Thermarest sleeping pads.
- All land use permits/fees.
- The best customer service support in the industry.
Please check our packing list carefully to make sure that you have the appropriate gear. If you plan to bring any of your own equipment then please let us know prior to arrival so that we do not bring unnecessary duplicates.
*Self-Catered package includes everything above, except food, cooking equipment, travel mug, and camping equipment. This is a great option if you already have your own camping gear and want a budget conscious choice.
What is not included:
- Flights, airport transfers, taxis, transportation to launch site.
- Travel/Medical insurance.
- Alcoholic beverages.
- Sleeping bags.
- Rain Gear.
- Personal Items (toiletries, clothing, headlamps, etc.).
Sleeping bags can be rented for $35/trip if you prefer to travel without one.
About The Area
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The northern San Juan Islands are collectively referred to as “The Outer Islands”. Sucia Island itself is a horseshoe-shaped island which is accessible only by watercraft. Sea kayakers and boaters venturing into its many coves quickly discover why Sucia Island is considered the crown jewel in the state marine park system and a boating destination that is truly world class. Nearby Matia Island is much smaller, but has an amazing old growth forest at its center. Half of Matia Island is set aside as a National Wildlife Refuge and is home to a large number of seals. Patos Island, at the extreme northwest edge of Washington, is one of our favorite destinations anywhere. A historic lighthouse is a short walk from the campsite, and savvy visitors know to be there when the Sun goes down in the evening. It’s simply amazing.
The main island, surrounded by picturesque rocks and smaller islands, gave pause to the Spanish explorers who navigated its waters in 1791. They called it “sucia” or “foul,” a nautical term describing navigational obstacles such as the rocks around the island. In fact, the island and its waters are pristine, and the satellite rocks make for interesting sea kayaking. A large population of Harbor seals use many of these rocks as haul-outs to rest on, providing visitors with ample viewing opportunities. These same seals also attract their main predator, the Orca whale, groups of which are frequently seen prowling the shorelines.
In 2012 a large dinosaur leg bone was excavated from the banks of Sucia Island. Belonging to the group of dinosaurs known as Therapods (which includes the T-Rex!) this is the first time we have had evidence of these massive creatures appearing in the island rocks. While large dinosaur remains are rare, the southern shores of Sucia Island are thick with smaller fossil beds. Intrepid explorers can spend hours walking along the beaches among these signs of ancient times. Collecting fossils is strictly forbidden, but looking at them is highly encouraged.
Known for its emerald waters and forested trails, its magnificent sunsets and sandstone formations, Sucia Island is prized by locals for its off-season beauty and solitude. Sucia Island Marine State Park is a 564-acre marine park with 77,700 feet of shoreline and abundant camping and moorage.
Is this for you?
We specialize in small group, all inclusive, multi-day sea kayak trips in the San Juans.
- On these multi-day sea kayaking expeditions we strictly adhere to a 6 guest per guide ratio.
- All trips larger than 6 people will have two guides.
- Groups of 6 or more guests can choose to have a private kayaking experience! (multi-day trips only)
- A small sea kayaking group can move much more efficiently. We need less time attending to logistical issues like setting up or breaking camp and have more time for exploring and having fun in the San Juan Islands.
The longer multi-day sea kayaking expeditions are best suited for folks in reasonably good shape. Occasionally there is a need to make a long push to get to the next campsite and we would not want to wear anyone out on a long crossing. We actually design these trips to be a little more physically involved. 5 day trips might average 8-10 miles per day paddling.
Anacortes Kayak Tours reserves the right to change or cancel available departure dates and prices. Once you book a kayak tour with us we will run it, as long as weather conditions permit us to conduct a safe sea kayaking excursion.