This site has oodles of information about boating and the San Juans, it helps to use the search box BELOW to find what interests you.
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try - kayak - try CAMPING - try Anchoring

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Where can you rent a boat for cruising the San Juan Islands

    Renting a yacht is a very viable option.  
We have rented and recommend you consider renting too, why? see below.

San Juan Island boat rentals
Ahoy savings

Lets see why you would rent:

  • you may not have a boat
  • your boat is not trailerable from Kansas or Kentucky
  • your drift boat is trailer ready but it sucks for camping
  • renting is a chance to try something different, like a bigger boat
  • because it doesn't make sense to own a boat and only use it once a year  (unless your afflicted with  boaters syndrome where you may own many boats you don't use)
  • switch from power to sail or sail to power
  • because you can't afford to throw your money into a hole in the sea
  • to find out if sailing/boating is ok with your family pet, wife, kids, self
Now lets dispel some myths that are true some of the time: 
  • renting is cheaper than owning  - yes, with some exceptions
  • you must have a competency certificate to rent - absolutely not but you must have your state issued boaters card anytime you operate any boat.
  • is it safe to do this as a novice that has good sense - yes
  • is it safe to do this as a novice if some relatives that know you well caution you not to - no!
    (listen to friends and relatives) they know if your an idiot and a menace to all around you - just kidding but bring a level headed 1st mate to help with tough choices like - red on the right! or red on left! or red on bottom?
  • can a power boater but non sailor rent a sailboat and have a great vacation and learn to sail - absolutely, but the competency thing may come up for bigger boats so bring a sailor friend
  • can you rent power and sailboats in the San Juans - yes
  • how much will it cost - small boat $100 - $200 a day (power or Sail)
  • how much for a bigger rig - $500 and up, up and away
  • should I get the added insurance offered - probably talk to your agent
  • how many days should I plan for  -  5 / 7 days is very nice but two weeks would be awesome
  • only go in mid June to mid Sept. - yes, unless you can save big and don't mind a little snotty weather tossed your way, then go anytime but be prepared for unpleasant things.

The 38 foot boat we rented for about $3000 a week, slept eight and handled bad weather very nice, but as you can see, the weather was not bad. Rental boats should be fully equipped with safety gear and navigation supplies for your travel area but don't assume anything. The boat above came with a 12 foot sailing tender, economical single diesel, thruster, chart plotter and radar.

Rent boats in Anacortes or Bellingham, but do some online research and find private rentals too.


Camping, Campgrounds and Parks, in the San Juan Islands


Camping, Parks, and Campgrounds in the San Juan Islands:   

     Nestled within the serene waters of the Pacific Northwest, the San Juan Islands offer a picturesque setting for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. With its stunning landscapes, diverse wildlife, and a myriad of outdoor activities, the islands have become a sought-after destination for camping and boating enthusiasts.  Traveling in the San Juan Islands provides an unparalleled opportunity to immerse oneself in nature's beauty while experiencing the unique charm of the Pacific Northwest.


Camping and campgrounds in the San Juan Islands

The Allure of Camping in the San Juan Islands:

     The San Juan Islands boast breathtaking natural beauty and are characterized by lush forests, rugged coastlines, and sweeping views of the surrounding bays, coves, straits, and sounds.  This inland sea is sometimes referred to as the Salish Sea, honoring the first inhabitants of the region.  When campers pitch tents, park RVs, or tie up their boats, they are greeted by panoramic vistas and outstanding sights at every turn. Sunset views overlooking the water create an ethereal ambiance.  Evenings around the campfire become an unforgettable experience.


Reservations, yes or no?

     When planning a camping trip to the San Juan Islands, it is essential to make reservations in advance, during peak seasons if you are car camping, but not if you are traveling by boat.  There are approximately twenty plus campgrounds that are only accessible by boat, and none of them may be reserved.  There are about six or so public, county and state campgrounds accessible by vehicle, all of which take reservations.  It is strongly recommended that anyone planning car camping,  visit the appropriate state, county, or private website to familiarize themselves with rules and regulations. 

     Those going to water-access-only parks are advised to expect to be able to anchor, but do not expect to get a space at the dock or an empty anchor buoy.  Dock space and anchor buoys become available as boaters come and go without notice throughout the day, week, and month depending on the weather and an entire host of reasons.  It is always best to arrive prepared for anything.

Follow these links to complete park and campground listings on this website.

Marine Parks of the San Juan Islands Area:  Marine Parks

Waterfront vehicle access county parks: Car and hiking/biking campgrounds

State of Washington Parks website:   State Park website

Free camping:   Free camping

Kayak camping:  kayak launch points

More Kayak camping: Kayak camping

Bike and hiking campgrounds: beach camping




San Juan Islands Travel Guide

Stuart Island lighthouse and Turn Point, San Juan Islands Cruise and Travel Guide
Turn Point on Stuart Island

   Planning your vacation should be as enjoyable as actually implementing your plan. Therefore you need information to glean through so that you can make some educated choices. What is less helpful are  glitzy ads and one sided sponsored reviews.  Ask a friend for ideas and if they have visited or traveled to the same area, you may save yourself some time and possible mistakes. We offer our friendship and as a friend, our experience.

     Our first visit by car was over forty years ago and by boat was over twenty years ago and we have come back every year since which should attest to the allure of the Islands.  During visits our family has explored, hiked, biked, and created wonderful memories. Of course some experiences are best not repeated and to be avoided if possible.

    In 2014, we published the "San Juan Islands Cruise Guide," specifically for sharing our knowledge of resources and what works, what doesn't work and how to make the most of visiting the area.  In 2017 we came out with "San Juan Islands Travel Guide," a by land and by sea guide and in 2019 updated the original cruiser's guidebook.

     In writing the guidebooks we strived for providing the basic information that new visitors needed to create their own special visit to the San Juan's that we love and adopted long ago.

     For planning your next great adventure to the San Juan's, I suggest you dig into this website using the search box feature, mark a departure date on your calendar, and order our guidebooks. E-mail us your questions.

Our best,
John and Linda

 click here for the  San Juan Islands Cruise Guide

click here for the  Land and Sea Travel Guide

Friday Harbor, Spring Street, Main st old town
Main Street in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island

Eastsound county dock, Orcas Island, Travel Guide
Eastsound public dock on Orcas Island