Hope Island and Deception Pass
Hope Island is not in the San Juans but a beautiful trip none the less. Located near Deception pass between Fidelgo and Whidbey island. Easily reachable in about two hours out of La Conner. Great crabbing opportunities and Hope Island is fun to explore. If we have time to sight see we can take the boat close to Deception Pass for an awesome view.
Located about 3 hours from La Conner, to the north, near Anacortes, Saddlebags Island is a great place for an overnight trip. A Washington State park with no permanent residents, hiking trails allow a chance to row ashore and explore. You will most likely see Seals, Eagles, Blue Herons, and Porpoise on the island and surrounding waters. On a clear night the stars are magnificent. During crab season (usually July and August) we can drop pots and have a crab feast on deck. I supply the pots and bait.
James Island is a state park and we have a nice protected anchorage near Decatur Island. This is a longer trip (4 hours) so more opportunities to sail. Two years ago during a February outing, we had the pleasure of seeing a mother and baby orca pass right behind the sailboat. Lots of eagles and seals. The crabbing can be very productive there. Beautiful scenery and a lovely place to spend the night.
Doe bay is a resort on the east side of Orcas Island which has camp sites, yurts, geodesic domes, tiny houses, and a tree house. They have a great restaurant there, pescaterian (fish and veggies), often live music, good selection of libations. The thing I like best about Doe Bay is the spa but I will warn the modest and timid, it is clothing optional. The spa has three hot pools and a sauna. If we rent a mooring buoy, the spa fee is included. We will have to row ashore. On a multiple night trip, Doe Bay is a good stop the first night. The journey is about 6 hours, depending on wind, tide, and current. This is one of my personal favorites.
This state park is located to the north of Orcas Island. Best on a second night since it takes about 8 hours to get there. This island is great to explore and is gorgeous. The very spacious and peaceful harbor is the essence of the San Juan experience. The island is large enough that you can’t explore the whole place in one shore trip. I really enjoy this destination.
This is a marina with a dock, so you have a grocery, fuel, restaurants, showers, and other amenities. On the West side of Orcas, the trip will take us past many other San Juan Islands on the way there. A nice respite from the wilderness and a place to stretch your legs without having to use a dinghy. Sometimes the marina is full but I know a close by spot where we anchor up if we are denied. The trip takes us through calm channels between islands and is very scenic. This is about 8 hours from La Conner. Also a destination which I would suggest for the second night out. I have caught some great crab at that secondary anchorage I mentioned.
Your choices are not limited to the places I have mentioned above. The only requirements are that it is safe, good anchorage, legal, and reachable within the time limits of our trip. Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, and Reid Harbor are all nice places to visit.