Seattle Day Trip: Cruising the San Juan Islands

Eager for a Seattle getaway, the plotting and planning began. Most of our Seattle weekends are mini-vacations involving fly-in, fly-out foodie trips with a little shopping thrown in.  This time, I wanted something different. Our teen-aged sons were joining us and both needed as much time relaxing as we did.

I booked us on a full-day Clipper Vacations Whale Watching and Sealife Search cruise. We started early, boarding at around 7:30 a.m., grabbed a booth inside, a cup of coffee, snacks, and sat back for the ride. We would be cruising most of the morning before arriving at Friday Harbor to disembark for a short stay – as it turns out, several guests planned overnight stays on the island.

Cruising was chilly, foggy, and invigorating. The tour guides were chatty, as tour guides can be, but we enjoyed the narration and watched the city fade into the distance. The cruise was full and latecomers found themselves without window seats (if you want to ride inside the vessel). Seats outside were available, but warm clothing is a must!

Navigating the channels of the San Juan Islands

We followed two orca pods that day, one with a calf, and marveled at their size and grace. Our cruise offered up glimpses of dolphins and various sea birds as well.

Orca and calf

Halfway through the day, we arrived at Friday Harbor and disembarked for lunch and a quick tour of the harbor shops. Charming, to be sure, and worth a look.

Friday Harbor, WA

We arrived back in Seattle in time for dinner, feeling as though we’d been a world away for the day – just as I’d hoped!

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