Ferries. Whale watching. Lavender farms. Oysters. You can’t go wrong with a summertime road trip in the Pacific Northwest. From hipster coffee shops in Seattle to remote outposts in the San Juan Islands to a quick stopover in Canada, this action-packed sea kayaking journey will take you from land to water and back again.
Begin your journey in the city of Seattle, Washington. Fuel up for the road at Espresso Vivace in Capital Hill or wait in line for a hot, dripping Cuban pork sandwich at Paseo in Fremont. Travel Interstate 5 north, then veer west toward the Washington State Ferry Terminal in Anacortes. You can drive your car onto the ferry headed for Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands.
If you’re passing through Anacortes on a Saturday from May to September, don’t miss the weekly farmers’ market for souvenirs like local honey, handmade granola, eco-friendly soap, and more.
The port town of Friday Harbor is the gateway to the San Juan Islands. Book a guided sea kayaking day trip or multi-day trip or rent your own kayak from San Juan Kayak Expeditions, where you’ll scope for orca whales and paddle amongst seals, sea otters, bald eagles, and more with views of the Olympic Mountains in the distance. Snag a homey room or stand-alone cottage at the Tucker House Inn and take a tour of the Pelindaba Lavender Farm (don’t miss a scoop of their lavender ice cream).
Depending on which way you go to reach Victoria, if you pass through the seaside town of Port Townsend, take a quick detour to visit the Hama Hama Oyster Company, a family-owned oyster farm on the Hood Canal with an oyster saloon that serves fresh and grilled oysters.
It’ll require a couple of ferry rides and an international border crossing into Canada to reach Victoria, located on British Columbia’s Vancouver Island, but trust us, it’s worth the trek for Victoria’s charming and historic downtown. Fuel up with eggs benedict at the Blue Fox Café for breakfast, then book a Victoria Harbor sea kayak tour or kayak and camp overnight on Discovery Island with Ocean River Sports. It’ll take you around five hours, including ferry rides, to travel back to Seattle when your time is up.