The speckle of islands that stretch between the upper northwest corner of the United States (proudly claimed by Washington State) Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada are pure magic. The four islands are accessible by ferryboat via Anacortes, Washington. Each island has its different vibe and highlight but all carry the culture of a different time and place where you feel removed from the chaos of the “mainland” – SUP is the perfect way to slow down and relax to island time.
The San Juan Islands are perfect for paddle boarding adventures, from protected coves and secret beaches which are only accessible by SUP, make this location an explorers mecca. You can day adventure to a perfect secluded picnic beach or multi day paddle to different campsites – just paddle to shore and set-up camp.
The rocky and rugged cliff edges give way to unexpected and hidden sandy coves around every turn. Little dots of grassy mini islands can be reached easily from the main islands.
The terrain of the islands represents the amazing diversity of Washington State – from farmland, to rugged cliffs scattered with succulents and pacific madrone trees and stunning secluded beaches.
WHICH PADDLEBOARD TO TAKE?
This location was kindly shared by the amazing Holly Fiske aka @upsidedownmama
Holly is a SUP Yoga guru and she is often out exploring on her Activ 10’8″ in search of the best spots to truly unwind, stretch and enjoy her practice.
- .Hop on a Ferry from Anacortes, Washington towards Lopez Island
- .Lopez island is named the friendly isle and it is true that every car you pass will wave at you. It is addictive and you find yourself following suit before you’ve taken your first turn off of the ferry road.
- .Lopez is still relatively secretive and it really is an amazing place to “just explore”. Even the locals are still discovering new nooks and crannies on the island.
- .Unmarked trails to secret coves make you have to work a little harder for a sweet reward. When the tide and the wind is right you can paddle out of a cove to discover hidden beaches or grassy knolls of sub islands around every bend. You could possibly see whales or orcas, you most likely will see seals and you definitely will see an epic sunset.
Camp at the campsite if you plan a weekend trip
EAT, SLEEP, SUP
There are two main campsites on Lopez Island which both offer beach front camping. Spencer Spit State Park offers walk in beach camping with a sunrise shore or you can paddle out to an island (rock) off shore to catch a sunset viewing. You must be willing to share the space with a seal that claims the same turf.
Odlin County Park doesn’t have a lot of campsites, but they do offer drive up beach front sites that perfectly fit our retro mini camper trailer. We would recommend reservations at either of these sites.
Blossom Grocery is the towns health food store which I highly recommend. They carry the Barn Owl Bakery bread that make their breads from heritage grains and also make the best loaf of gluten free bread I have yet to try. We had noodle bowls from this location and I can’t recommend it enough! Organic, local and made fresh daily.
Launch from your beachside campsite.
Things to know
- Enjoy and admire this beautiful place but please do it with respect and care. You won’t see plastic in the water or cigarette butts on the shore…let’s keep it that way.
- Beware of the wind direction and the tides, but other than that expect to enjoy predictable weather (40ºF winters - 70ºF summers), ocean wild life and the incredible Pacific Northwest landscape dotted across the ocean.