Prepare for your Family Trip in Deception Pass State Park

No Experience Necessary on this Trip!

Meeting Place and Time

For our Family Kayak Trips please meet 30 minutes before your scheduled departure at our kayak shed at Bowman Bay, in Deception Pass State Park, unless instructed otherwise by our office staff.

Washington State Parks require a Discover Pass for parking at Bowman Bay. You can purchase a day pass for $10 cash in Bowman Bay on the day of your trip; or you can purchase an annual pass for $30.

Driving Directions

Gear You Will Need

Dress appropriately for the weather. We like to say “as if you were going for a walk in the forest that day.” Usually this means layers, preferably non-cotton if you have the choice (no big deal if not). Summer time weather in the San Juan Islands is usually mild and so most days you will likely be fine in shorts, t-shirt, and water-compatible shoes (or old sneakers), but come prepared. Bring an extra layer, a windbreaker, and a change of clothes to leave in your car in case you get anything wet.

  • Shorts or pants (non-cotton if possible)
  • T-shirt (long or short sleeved, non-cotton if possible)
  • Extra layer: fleece/wool sweater/synthetic insulating layer
  • Light rain-jacket or windbreaker
  • Shoes you don’t mind getting wet (flip flops are okay)
  • Sunglasses (important)
  • Binoculars
  • Sunscreen
  • Baseball cap or sun hat with chin strap, (wool or fleece hat if it is chilly)
  • Light snack for on the water (candy bar, granola bar, GORP, etc.)
  • Water bottle (very important, 1 liter per person at least)
  • Any appropriate medications that you might need

Anacortes Kayak Tours will provide

  • All kayaking gear (boat, paddles, spray decks, life jackets)
  • A professionally trained and fun kayak coach/guide, with a comprehensive safety kit
  • Dry bags for your personal gear, usually one 20L bag per kayak.

Age Limits

We’ve found that most kids younger than three years old have a difficult time sitting in a kayak for the duration of the trip. Some older children may also need to move around more. Participants need to be able to sit in the kayak for the full duration of the trip. Also, you’ll be paddling with your child, either by yourself in a tandem kayak or with another member of your family in a triple. Alone in a tandem means that there will be more work involved and you may need to consider your physical strength.

Anacortes Kayak Tours prides itself on being the most family-friendly kayaking company in the San Juan Islands. We consider your kids to be an investment in the future and we want to get them out on the water and developing an active lifestyle and an appreciation of the natural world!

Weight Limit

For your safety and comfort we have a weight limit of 265 pounds (per person) in tandems, and 225 pounds (per person) in singles.

Health / Physical Limits

Our #1 priority is to bring you home safely. In the extremely unlikely event of a capsize we need to know that you’re physically capable of keeping your face above the water (oxygen promotes better living), that you’re able in some fashion to assist with the rescue, and that your heart can take the stress of the immersion and exertion of an unplanned accident. If you think that you may be at risk then please call us to discuss possibilities. We’d love to try and help you find a solution, and if possible to get you out on the water. If you have other health related issues, then please let us know at the time of booking so that we can note it and be prepared—particularly things like diabetes that can be fairly easily controlled.

Deafness and blindness will not prevent you from enjoying our tours, but please let us know at the time of booking.

If you have any health issues on the day of your trip, please pull your guide aside and let him or her know. This includes even small issues (like diarrhea) that can turn a great trip into a nightmare for you. Our guides can then plan the trip accordingly.


We have a 48 hour cancellation policy for these trips. Please refer to our Cancellation Policy page for details.


Don’t worry, even though we personally feel that cloudy and/or rainy days are the best conditions to be kayaking in, we will still take you out when the sun shines!

Seriously though, we enjoy about 250 days of sunshine per year, mostly in the summer. Even when it does sprinkle on us it rarely lasts more than a few minutes. We won’t cancel for rain.

The only weather that will cancel a trip is windy weather. Your comfort and safety are our biggest concern.

A Few Rules—Please Read!

  • No Smoking on these trips. This is a safety concern for us, many people get seasick after being exposed to cigarette/cigar smoke.
  • Please do not litter. Does this really need any explaining?
  • Sorry, no dogs. We like them, but they tend to tear the heck out of the boats and can disrupt the trip enjoyment of other guests.
  • Your guide needs you to follow their instructions. Please respect this.
  • Respect the wildlife who make the San Juan Islands their home. We give the whales plenty of space when they are around, we try not to frighten seals that are hauled out on the rocks, that sort of thing. Your guide will explain this more out on the water.

And at last, The Fine Print

We strive to…no, we virtually obsess about making sure that we are being entirely open and honest with our marketing language and also when we speak to people about what our trips are like. We’ve been burned before on our travels and we never want to be “that company” when you’re reminiscing with your friends later.

To assist us in placing you on the most appropriate trip please let us know if you have any special requests, concerns, or expectations when you call. That will allow us to either recommend the best trip for your needs, or at least to give you a proper explanation about what we can realistically accomplish for you.

This trip to Cypress Island was my first experience kayaking in the San Juan Islands, or Puget Sound. I was glad to realize how much personal interest you two owners took in the guests, yet not over-selling your business, and in providing what I considered was a perfect tour. I would recommend Anacortes Kayak Tours to anyone interested in kayaking in the San Juans.

Warm regards from both of us,
Cynthia Dietz and Susan Larsen

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Why choose Anacortes Kayak Tours?

…and more!

Voted #1 Eco-Adventure Company in Western Washington for 2010 and 2012!
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