This blog covers trips from the book and other favorites. Contact Rob in Seattle: or 206-465-7167


3 NW Paddling Getaways to Escape the Weekend Crowds

Looking to getaway but not sit in long ferry lines then get to your supposed remote campsite to find 30 tents already there?  Here's 3 paddle-in destinations to really get away...

1. Marrowstone Island /Trips 34 and 35.
Just across the bay from Port Townsend, this off the beaten path island is one of the least visited State Parks in the State. On hot summer weekends, the Cascadia Marine Trail campsite adjacent to the standard campsite should be free of other paddlers. Then slip into the park and/or paddle it's quiet shores to escape the masses.

The park is also home to Fort Flagler, a 1890's era harbor defense fort with an extensive bunker system to explore as well as 200' cliffs overlooking Admiralty Inlet, Whidbey and Port Townsend.

Strait of Juan de Fuca
Watch for currents of Marrowstone Point by the Light House. Smart planning with the currents can make it a fun adventure. Use Starpath's Puget Sound Currents to see how current work there.  The app Deep Zoom is another tool for understanding local currents.

The island can be accessed by driving there or paddling from Port Townsend, Port Hadlock, Oak Bay Park or for the hardcore, from Whidbey.

2. Burrows Island, Anacortes. Trip #29
Burrows Island is 10 minute paddle from Skyline Marina in Anacortes. The campsite at Alice Bight is about 5-10 min further. The island is undeveloped short of the historic light house on it's west side. Trails circumnavigate the island for exploring it's very uncrowded rugged shores.

The island is a 1.5hr drive from Seattle with no ferry to Anacortes, then to Skyline Marina. Park in the long term marina parking along Cabana Lane. Then access the beach on the marina's west side where the road ends (below a house perched on a embankment / across from the big boat storage facility).

The Cascadia Marine Trail campsite has the best vault toilet in the region with a nice view as well! Alice Bight feels like SE Alaska, really a nice spot and a beautiful bay.

Watch for tidal currents during the crossing as well as fast moving power boats. If you like surfing standing waves and boat wakes, this can be a fun spot.

3. Skagit Island. Trip #27. 
Close to Burrows Island, Skagit is on the other side of Deception Pass on Similk Bay. The Cascadia Marine Trail campsite rests on an shell midden (native garbage dump) that can be seen the embankment (shells and stuff). Enjoy views of Deception Pass, nearby Hope Island and Fidalgo Island.

Currents can run between the island and Kiket Island to the east. Use your tide/current guide to plan your trip. Walk the island and/or paddle over to Hope Island State Park for additional exploring.

Access from Fidalgo Island at Snee-oosh Point (about 1mile), or via Whidbey's Ala Spit, Cornet Bay, or run through Deception Pass on the flood for the best approach. Park at Bowman Bay.

2 Bonus Options for the adventurous...

Guerilla Camping.
This means camping in non designated spots along the banks of Puget Sound. There's hundreds of miles of undeveloped shoreline under bluffs, cliffs and remote beaches. Use Google Earth to explore the shore and/or play by ear and stop when you find a good place to end the day. Avoid backyards. Years ago, a friend while returning from Ketchikan on his kayak, camped in Carkeek Park. But that was 20+ years ago, I'm not sure I'd want to do that today!

Strait of Juan de Fuca - 2 Options..
-Launch in Port Angeles and paddle west past the Elwha River and Freshwater Bay camp at the Crescent Beach RV Park in Crescent Bay or at Salt Creek Recreational Area. Contact the RV park before landing there as they love to keep people off the beach. Landing at the county park may require portaging your gear up some rocks by Tongue Point. Check each location before going.

Crescent Bay in Salt Creek is a surf area so only enter on a small or no swell if you don't have surf skills. Tongue Point can get gnarly with waves crashing on it.

Salt Creek
-Launch from PA or from Salt Creek and paddle west to Whiskey Creek Resort in Joyce. This is a short paddle from Salt Creek but enjoy sea caves, arches, 500' cliffs and an odd metal door carved below that cliff. Epic paddle I've done a few times.

*Whiskey Creek was recently purchased by a new owner, so call to check their status and book a cabin or camping spot prior to arrival. Their cabins are right on the Strait, powered only by propane. No website, # only. 1385 Whiskey Creek Beach Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98363  /   Phone(360) 928-3567

*Guerilla camping along the Strait is possible but be ready to get up early if needed. Much of it is DNR land, some timber land.

Get my book to better plan your trip!

Learn more about my book Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juans, 60 Trips. I also offer SUP and Kayak lessons available throughout the year at Salmon Bay Paddle. Questions about paddling on the Salish Sea, give me a holler anytime at or 206-465-7167

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