A few hours away from Seattle await the awe-inspiring San Juan Islands. If you’re planning on going on the adventure of a lifetime, then take the whole family out and marvel at this region’s breathtaking sights and more.
Set Sail and Get Away
Tourism authorities say that the best way to appreciate the beauty of this archipelago is by boat. Booking private charter cruises for couples, the whole family, or a group of friends is more affordable than one might think. Departing daily from the iconic Friday Harbor, a timeless wooden schooner will be your vessel as you traverse the waters. Try your hand at the helm, as your captain and his experienced crew will guide you as you set sail on your adventure. Kids will surely appreciate this once-in-a-lifetime trek across the Salish Sea, as they can be navigators and explorers for a day.
You can choose to go on half-day sails, with tours lasting for a couple of hours. If you really want to unwind and explore further, a 6-hour full-day tour will work best for your group. Don’t fret about getting famished while you’re aboard, as these private charters will provide expertly-prepared snacks, refreshments, and delicious meals to satisfy your cravings.
Take the Scenic Route
Your sailboat charter in the San Juan Islands will take you to see the smaller islets in this picturesque region. Head northward from your departure point and you’ll find the Jones Island State Park. This 76 hectare piece of paradise is a fond destination of boaters and kayakers. View through your binoculars and you may catch a glimpse of black-tail deer, grazing along the lush greenscapes of the park.
Further along, your captain may steer your vessel towards the famous Yellow Island, now being kept as an ecological preserve by the nonprofit Nature Conservancy. From your boat, you will see a cornucopia of bird species, such as oystercatchers, ducks, eagles, and more. Another isle you’ll admire is the evergreen Spieden Island, home to species of sheep as well as fallow deer and Sika deer.
As you reach the northern tip of the San Juan Islands, you head southwestward through the Haro Strait, acting as a borderline which separates the archipelago from Canada. This water channel also serves as a major shipping route, and it is very popular among tourists who truly want to witness the stars of the islands — the whales.
Find the Nature Lover in You
Going on a sailboat charter will definitely let you appreciate wildlife even more. Whale watching is serious business in this area, and such activities are regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other groups. These majestic marine mammals freely swim the waters of this strait, and they are even studied and monitored to ensure their health and safety.
Regulations state that your vessel should be at least 200 yards away from any whale pods. It is important to keep engine noise and chatter to a minimum, as this can disturb and stress the animals. Your charter guides are highly-experienced in these tours, and they will provide you with all the information and safety guidelines you need. If you want to help the cause, the local Whale Museum on Friday Harbor accepts donations and adoptions to spread awareness and to protect these species.
Adventures Are Waiting
For young and old visitors alike, there truly is more to discover along the waters of the San Juan Islands. Beyond the crystal clear waters and the verdant landscapes, one can commune with wildlife and discover a love for nature. For further info, consult with the tour specialists who can best showcase what this region has to offer. Head out on that well-deserved break, and book a private charter today.
Guide to the San Juan Islands, SeattleMet.com
Whale Watching in the San Juans, WhaleMuseum.org