Kayaking in the Pacific Northwest is often at the top of travelers bucket lists, and there are many places along the coast to rent kayaks or go on a kayak tour. The place to kayak in the small town of Anacortes, Washington is with Anacortes Kayak Tours. They have been in business for over 15 years and offer half-day, full-day trips, and multi-day trips as well as adventures that include sea kayaking for part of the tour and rock climbing or tree climbing for the remainder.
I had never gone on a tour with Anacortes Kayak Tours, and this spring, that changed. As a liaison for Anacortes post-FAM at the International Food, Wine & Travel Writer Association I joined the group for a half-day tour. The day we set out on our kayaking tour, the waters were calm, and the sun was shining. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for kayaking in the Salish Sea.
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Anacortes Kayak Tours: A Fun Half-Day Kayak Trip in Anacortes
Where is Anacortes Kayak Tours?
Anacortes Kayak Tours is located on the west side of Fidalgo Island, past the Anacortes ferry, and next to Skyline Marina. If you are traveling from Seattle to Anacortes, it is around a 1.5-hour drive. There is a good selection of Anacortes hotels along Commerical Ave. (some along SR 20 as well). The drive from those to Anacortes Kayak Tours will take 10-20 minutes, depending on where you stay. If you’d like someplace closer, Anacortes Ship Harbor Inn is a 3-minute drive.
Anacortes Kayak Tours Orientation
Before our tour, we all went through orientation, which included gearing up in our life jackets and wet skirts, learning about the area and our kayak route around Burrows Bay Island, and picking out our paddles.
James, our guide, hamming it up for my photo.
Afterward, we headed down to the docks. Here we got another lesson on how to get into the tandem kayaks along with tips for paddling and using the rudders. All of us had a kayak partner, and mine was the lovely Sue Frause from Eat, Play Sleep.
Also on the FAM was Tom & Karla Talleur from RoverTreks.com, and IFWTWA President and writer Linda Kissam.
Throughout the 30-minute orientation process, James, our guide, helped adjust gear and made sure everyone felt comfortable for our kayak journey.
From there, the group paddled through the marina!
James instructed us to stay together, and after we exited the marina, we stopped to get some pointers for crossing Burrows Channel.
Paddling Around Burrows Island
From there, our group paddled through the channel and made its way to Burrows Island.
Sue and I took our time paddling around the island. Some paddled closer to shore, others further from shore. Throughout the tour, James made the rounds and spent time talking to everyone and pointing out interesting creatures in the water or formations on the island.
Travel tip: If you are looking to kayak on your own and go camping near Anacortes. Burrows Island has three campsites for up to eight people. The sites are managed by the Washington State Parks water trail and are $12 per night. One of my favorite places to camp is Washington Park which is minutes away from Anacortes Kayak Tours.
The favorable weather really made for pleasurable kayaking. There were moments of paddling and plenty of relaxing moments where we rocked in the water and took in the view of the Olympic Mountains, the San Juan Islands and Rosario Strait.
Burrows Island Lighthouse
One of the most exciting parts for me was getting to kayak past Burrows Island Lighthouse. I’d seen the lighthouse from boats quite a few times, but with a kayak, you can get much closer.
Burrows Lighthouse is currently undergoing renovations.
After we passed the lighthouse, Skyline came into view, which signaled our tour would soon be ending. After a couple of hours of kayaking, my arms were beginning to tire at this point, so this was a good thing. As we cross the channel, a couple of porpoises swam up ahead.
As a group, we paddled back across Burrows Channel and then headed back to the kayak docks at the marina. As we crossed a couple of porpoises were spotted!
I’ve lived in Anacortes for 12 years and this is the first time I’ve gone on a tour with @anacorteskayaktours. I should have done this year’s ago! What fun! And, we had a amazingly beautiful day to be on the water. * * * #dreambigtravelsmall #smalltownwa #amazingsmalltowns #smalltownlove #pnwparadise #pnwwonderland #upperleftusa #pnwkayaking #kayak #pnwexplored #pnwlife #discoveryournorthwest #hosted #ifwtwa2018
Anacortes Kayak Tours Half-Day Tour Tips
- Keep your confirmed reservation PDF handy as it has essential information
- Dress in layers
- Wear shoes that can get wet like outdoor sandals (I wore my neoprene kayak boots.)
- Bring a light rain jacket
- Apply sunscreen to exposed skin before orientation
- Bring a hat
- Bring sunglasses and I highly recommend a sunglass float strap. (I lost a pair of sunglasses to the sea before I got one of these.)
- Bring a bottle of water and a snack (Keep in mind that you won’t be stopping during the tour for a bathroom break.)
- If you want to bring your phone, I recommend a waterproof phone pouch.
Would I recommend Anacortes Kayak Tours?
Yes! If you are looking for fun things to do in Anacortes, and want to get out water, Anacortes Kayak Tours is a great way to experience coastal life in the Pacific Northwest. They have been in business for 15 years, hire friendly and experienced guides, and have plenty of kayaking tour options. We couldn’t have had a better guide; engaging and fun!
Anacortes Kayak Tours Pricing and Booking
Prices vary depending on the tour. The most affordable and shortest is the 1.5-hour tour at $39 for an adult and $35 for children 12 and under. Half-Day and full-day tours range from $89-119 for adults. Multi-day trips range from $399 – 999 for an adult and some tours have inclusive and self-catering options. They also have early bird discounts on some tours and specials such as the Golden Hour, Perseid Shower and Bioluminescence tours. (I really want to do the Bioluminescence trip!) So be sure to check their page as they might have a tour that works with your budget and your travel itinerary.
To book an Anacortes Kayak Tour visit their website.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a tour for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.