Half-day morning and sunset kayak tours are the perfect choice for time limited kayak enthusiasts! In a short amount of time, you can still fully experience sea kayaking in the San Juan Islands. Half day kayak trips also work well for beginners or first time kayakers. If you aren’t sure if you will enjoy sea kayaking, come get a brief first taste of the sport! Join one of our half-day kayak tours. The only requirement is a healthy sense of adventure!
Kayak Tour Half-Day Routes!
The east side route is a the best location for Bigg’s killer whales close to Friday Harbor.
There are huge seal populations in the area which provide food for the orca whales.
Both the west and south side routes take you to the best salmon orca whale watching waters in the United States.
Our local salmon orcas follow a pattern that loops back and forth between the two sites.
Route Selection: Half-Day Kayak Tour From San Juan Island
You may explore either the east, south, or west side of the island. We choose the best route for you based on recent whale reports, weather forecasts and wildlife sightings. All half-day kayak trip routes are scenic and visit parks and refuges home to diverse marine life.
Orca Whale Sighting Information
Time of day is not important to killer whales. However, the total time spent in orca whale habitat is important. Our statistics show that your chances of a killer whale watching experience are twice as good on the longer afternoon (6-hr) kayak trip. If you only have time for a half-day kayak tour you should consider these stats to set realistic expectations. From 2005 to 2018 we found orca whales on close to 20% of the 3-hour kayak tours during the peak months of June through September. The entire whale watching season runs from April through October and our sightings were about half that rate in the shoulder months.
There Are Two Species Of Killer Whales In The San Juan Islands.
Bigg’s killer whales hunt marine mammals. They are thriving and number over 400 in our area.
Salmon orcas are endangered. They struggle every day to find enough salmon to eat.
Most of our historic encounters on half-day kayak tours have been with the friendlier salmon orcas. Bigg’s killer whales travel in small, quiet stealthy pods and are harder to locate. Due to the mismanagement of our salmon spawning rivers, we can no longer count on salmon orcas to be as frequent as they once were.
Our Experience As Local Guides And Prime Location Still Afford You The Best Chance Of Seeing Orcas Whales In The USA
Please read our Whale Watching Info page for important details.
Please note: Orca whales may be absent during your kayak trip. Killer whales may move quickly out of range, or alter their normal patterns. Weather and waves may interfere with whale watching success and may force us to alter our normal routes to prioritize safety.
Trip Details For The Half-Day Kayak Tour From San Juan Island
- Schedule: Morning Kayak Tours offered daily; Sunset Kayak Tours only available from spring to early fall
- Trip Fee: $109 per person plus 8.3% state tax & $10 government launch fee. On rare dates, the fee is $129 due to limited resources, and this will be noted in the online reservation system.
- Meeting Place: Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Look for our van and kayak trailer in the traffic circle. The circles is near the Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal.
- Meeting Time: Half-day San Juan Island kayak trips usually begin at 8:00am and 5:00pm. On some days these times may be altered slightly. However, our online reservation system will indicate altered times if you specify a date. If the times don’t work for you, ask us about a custom start time!
- Finish Time & Place: Friday Harbor Ferry Terminal; 11:00am for the morning tour and 9:00pm for the sunset tour.
- Total Time: Approximately 3 hours from meeting your guides to finish. Be aware that whales, winds or currents can occasionally delay half-day kayak tours! But there will always be plenty of time to catch one of several departing ferries if you are planning to leave the island.