Paddle the Northwest

We all have in our heads a notin of what makes a great trip, some experience that we know will change our lives for the better. Some folks want to climb the highest peak, others to sip fine wine in an Italian villa. Then there are those who want to see their favorite fauna in the wild. Well, if you’ve ever wanted to see an Orca, you’re best bet is to paddle the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Three large pods (whales, you know, travel in pods, as opposed to lions which travel in prides, and lawyers who travel in cheats), um, three large pods ply the channel here, in a wilderness filled with an assortment of wildlife that will make you proud to be an American.

The best time to head to the San Juans is now, when the weather is good. The whole Northwest is, IMHO paradise on earth this time of year.

And paddling the San Juans is easy. You can paddle around the San Juans on your own or you can hire an outfitter who knows the area to take you around. For the former, consider renting a kayak at an outfitter like San Juan Safaris, and bring a map. Or you can go with an outfitter like Sea Quest Expeditions or San Juan Kayak Expeditions, and friendly guides will point out local flora and fauna and tell you a bit of the history of the place.