Custom Charters

Wildlife and Family Adventure Tours in the San Juan Islands.

Marty (9 of 32)Whether this is your first time to the San Juan Islands or you’re a long time resident, taking a private boat tour is the best way to experience the majestic San Juan Islands.  North Shore Charters offers the highest quality experience available. An experience that only we offer. We blend over 20 years experience with intimate knowledge of the San Juan Archipelago and your vacation goals, to offer you truly memorable experience.

North Shore Charters offers a variety of boat tours through out the San Juans and Canadian Gulf Islands. Our tours are private and customized to your needs. We will do our best to accommodate your vacation schedule. We do not mix groups or go on a routine route. Every trip is a new experience where the captain may be driving the boat but you are the navigator.

Below are a few of the tours we offer. These are just to give you and Idea of what you could do and see in a few hours.

3 hour San Juan Cruise

Departing from either Orcas Island Deer Harbor Marina or Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Circumnavigating the second largest of the San Juans. You will see everything from rocky shoreline to beautiful sandy beaches and pastureland. San Juan boasts 2 of the 4 light houses in the San Juans. Cattle Point Lighthouse at the Southern tip of the Island over looks the Straights of Juan De Fuca and marks the southern most entrance to San Juan Channel at Cattle Pass. Lime Kiln lighthouse is on the western shore of San Juan Island over looking Harrow Straight opposite Discovery Island Lighthouse on the southern most point of British Columbia.

Orcas Island fishing chartersThese lighthouses guide safe passage to deep draft vessels coming and going from the Pacific Ocean destined for the Inside passage to Alaska or all points in between. On the North side of San Juan is Roche Harbor Resort, the largest of all the marinas in the San Juan Islands. There you will see some of the most magnificent homes in the islands peppering the shoreline. Some of the most amazing mega-yachts lined up as far as you can see. It is a great place to stop for a bite or a cocktail on the deck of the Madrona Bar and Grill. We can pull right up in the boat. Coming from Roche Harbor we will travel by Spieden Island, once owned by John Wayne, with some of the most interesting modern history and its abundance of native and non native wildlife. Beyond Spieden lies Johns island and Stuart Islands. Johns is home to Camp Norwestern a summer youth camp where the summer campers live in dozens of teepees that can be seen scattered along the shoreline.

Stuart island to the north is home to the famous Stuart island lighthouse which marks the North Western corner of the San Juan islands and Washington State where Haro Straight meets Boundary Pass. Stuart Island Has the original one room school house that is still active and a rich historical museum at the Stuart Island lighthouse. There is a local family that looks after the light house and museum and is a wealth of knowledge for those who are interested in taking the tour. Otherwise there is plenty of public land with hiking trails and campsites for you to enjoy. From there traveling southward again down San Juan Channel there is Jones Island Marine State park which is uninhabited except for its large population of deer, and is all public land with a dozen campsites with some of the most amazing views of the north west sunset. From there through the Wasp Islands and back to Friday Harbor. All this in just 3 hours

Orcas Island Multi-Island tour.

Departing from Deer Harbor Marina on Orcas Island. Traveling Past Jones Island and Waldron Island to the North. We arrive first at SkipJack Island, Federal wildlife preserve. Where you can view nesting Bald Eagles, Seals and Sea lions by the dozens sunning themselves on the rocky reefs on the north side of the island. Traveling north by north east we come to the northern most island of Patos Island. Patos is home to the most popular of all the San juan Islands Lighthouses “Patos Island Light Station” Written about in Helen Glidden’s epic adventure book. “Light on The Island” Patos island is kept by the Washington Marine State Parks Service and is open for you to explore. Uninhabited, it is as it was for eons, and is a great place to relax and get away from it all. Also excellent for tide pooling at low tide. There is only 6 campsites and room for 2 safe anchorages in Patos’s Active cove. Therefore you are not likely to run into to many other folks out there.

From Patos Island east by southeast to what is by far the most popular of the Marine State Parks…Sucia Island. It is the Largest of the marine state parks, With some very intersting history. The following couple of paragraphs are from Wikipedia:  Sucia Island is located 2.5 miles (4.0 km) north of Orcas Island in the San Juan IslandsSan Juan County, WashingtonUSA. It is the largest of an archipelago of ten islands including Sucia Island, Little Sucia, Ewing, Justice, Herndon, the Cluster Islands Islets, and several smaller, unnamed islands. The group of islands is about 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length and just short of a half mile wide. Sucia island is roughly the shape of a hand. The total land area of all islands is 2.74 km² (1.058 sq mi, or 677 acres). The main island of Sucia Island by itself is 2.259 km² (0.8722 sq mi, or 558.1 ac). There was a permanent population of four persons as of the 2000 census, all on Sucia Island. Sucia Island State Park is a Washington State Marine Park. Sucia Island’s name originated with the Spanish Captain [Demi Helena], on his map of 1791. He named it “Isla Sucia”. Sucia in Spanish means “dirty” or in a nautical sense “foul”. This word was chosen because the shore was deemed dangerous due to reefs and hidden rocks.[1]

Patos island san juan islands charter fishing salmon lingcod halibutThese reefs and broken shorelines are from a geologic folding of the Earth’s crust, which brought many interesting marine fossils to the surface. Some good examples can be found on the southeast arm of Sucia Island.

The isolated coves and bays of Sucia Island once served the Lummi Indians in their seal hunting days[2]. They later provided excellent hideouts in the 1800s for smugglers of illegal Chinese laborers, as well as for hiding illegally imported wool and opium[citation needed]. Still later, the islands played a large role in rum-running during liquor Prohibition of the 1920s and 1930s, and in recent years they have figured in drug traffickin. If you desire to learn more you can go to the Wiki page and type in Sucia Island. This is always a great place to stop for a hike and a picnic lunch.

Moving on to the east is Matia Island State Park. Much smaller than Sucia it also has an interesting history and the most beautiful hikes through one of the San Juan islands last stands of old growth forest. Matia Island also is home to several nesting Bald Eagles and some of the only Puffins in the San Juans.

South bound down Rosario Straight past Pea Pod rocks off the eastern shore of Orcas Island we come to Obstruction Island and Obstruction pass marking the eastern boundary of the San Juan Islands. Orcas Island the biggest of the San Juan islands has some of the most pristine shoreline in the islands. With a great fjord in the center leading into Eastsound, the largest hamlet on Orcas.

Cruising westbound through Obstruction pass to Lopez Island the friendliest and flattest of the San Juan Islands and then up past Shaw following briefly the Washington State Ferry route until we get to West Sound and Pole Pass. Orcas Islands Star tour begins.

shapeimage_5At any time during the tours we have the potential to run into any of the resident Orcas Wales from J, K, or L pod or all three traveling together.

We most certainly will see any number of local Harbor and Dall Porpoise, along with Harbor Seals, Stellar, Elephant  and California Sea Lions. River Otters and the occasional mink or deer swimming between islands.

Since we also offer Salmon and Halibut Fishing you can combine any tour or any aspect of a tour with a few hours of Fishing, Crabbing or Prawning.

We offer Cruises from the San Juan Islands to Victoria BC. North Shore Charters is the only way you can depart Friday Harbor, Orcas Island or Lopez Island cruise to Victoria BC, spend the entire day touring, shopping or just checking out the multitude of street performers in Victoria and return in the evening to the San Juan’s.

We also offer tours through the Canadian Gulf Islands with stops anywhere you desire. Any of these tours as well we can combine with an opportunity to see some Orca Wales.

San Juan Islands Lighthouse Tours.

The Pacific Northwest is a lighthouse lovers dream.  There are 17 lighthouses or light stations between the US San Juan Islands and the Canadian Gulf Islands of British Columbia. 90% all viewable on a single days charter. All of the San Juan lighthouses can be viewed in just a few hours.

Here is a list of the local lighthouses starting at the southern most point:
Cattle Point lighthouse on San Juan Island
Lime Kiln Lighthouse on San Juan
Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island
Patos Island Lighthouse
Burrows Island Lighthouse
Discovery Island lighthouse Victoria BC
Trial Island light station Victoria BC
Ogden Point Light Victoria BC
Albert Head light station Victoria BC
Race Rocks lighthouse Vancouver Island BC
Fisgard Lighthouse Victoria BC
East Point Lighthouse Saturna Island BC
Active Pass Light station Mayne Island BC
Portlock Point Lighthouse BC
Virago Point Lighthouse Galiano Island BC
Race Point Lighthouse Valdes Island BC
Entrance Island Lighthouse Gabriola Island BC

North Shore Charters operates the newest, swiftest and most stable charter vessel in the San Juans.  The advantage to our passengers is that it enables us a substantially greater nautical range with greatly reduced travel time compared to other tour boats in the San Juans allowing more “time on scene” with viewable wild life. This effectively maximizes you dollars spent by allowing you to simply experience more.