| 02/15/2023 | Planning, Tours |   

Cruise to Sucia Island in the San Juans

The San Juan Islands in the Pacific Northwest are made up of more than 150 islands. Summer vacation favorites include San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island, but there are SO many more islands in the San Juans to explore. The tricky part is accessing them. That's where tour operators come in handy. San Juan Cruises and Hotel Bellwether offer seasonal cruises to Sucia Island, a stunning part of the San Juans that can only be reached by private boat or charter vessel.

Known for its crystal green waters and lush wooded trails, its unparalleled sunsets and unique sandstone formations, Sucia Island is prized by locals and visitors alike for its year-round beauty and solitude. The island is also famous for what was unearthed there. In 2012, paleontologists at Seattle’s Burke Museum discovered part of an 80-million-year-old femur bone from a theropod dinosaur on the island. (Theropods are a group of meat-eating, two-legged dinosaurs, that includes the T. rex and Velociraptor.)

Travel tip: Bring layers! It can be cold if you're sitting outside on the boat but hot on the island in the sun. Make sure to also bring a hat and sun protection, and a rain jacket if there's any precipitation in the forecast.

If you book a picnic cruise with San Juan Cruises, the boat ride departs at 10 a.m. from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven Village (lots of paid parking is available), and returns around 4:30 p.m. 

The journey to the island is roughly two hours long. Along the way, the captain will entertain you with stories about the San Juan Islands along with interesting facts about the area's history and marine life. Chances are good you'll spot a variety of birds, along with possible sightings of sea lions, seals, or porpoises. While you're cruising, enjoy a selection of for-purchase snacks and beverages, including local craft beers and cocktails. 

Once on the island, guests enjoy a picnic lunch and can choose from a narrated beach walk, led by a naturalist, or exploring on their own. 

Book Your Cruise

Hotel Bellwether has partnered with Island Opportunity Charters to offer a bucket list boat cruise adventure, departing from the hotel's private dock on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting May 20 through Sept 16.

Trips depart at 9 a.m and return to the hotel at approximately 3 p.m. Participants enjoy a breathtaking, narrated tour of Bellingham Bay and the northern San Juan Islands all on a comfortable, heated 12-passenger vessel with complementary cold beverages. 

Guests will have three hours on Sucia Island, along with a delicious picnic lunch on the beach, guided activities, and time to explore alone. 

Book Your Cruise

Rather get up close and personal with the Salish Sea? Go on a 3-5 day Sucia Island adventure with Moondance Kayak. You'll launch from Orcas Island for a multi-night kayaking/camping trip in and around Sucia Island. 

Learn about the area's geology and wildlife, explore the island's trails, and spend each night camping under the stars. 

No previous paddling experience is necessary, and Moondance offers both fully-catered or non-catered options to work with your budget and preferences. 

Book A Kayak Tour

Most ship docks at Fossil Bay, a jaw-dropping destination where you'll likely see dozens of other private yachts moored in the bay. Though many visitors sleep on their boats, there is also a park on the island that has camp sites. Though there are no services on the island other than toilets (the solitude is part of the appeal!) Sucia Island Marine State Park offers 77,700 feet of shoreline and abundant camping and moorage.

When walking along the beach, keep your eyes peeled for local marine life. You'll likely spot starfish, anemones, and possibly even some seals. 

For lunch, there are several picnic tables with views of the beach, or you can find a secluded spot near the water. 

        We acknowledge that Whatcom County is located on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples. They cared for the lands that included what we’d call the Puget Sound region, Vancouver Island and British Columbia since time immemorial. This gives us the great obligation and opportunity to learn how to care for our surrounding areas and all the natural and human resources we require to live. We express our deepest respect and gratitude for our indigenous neighbors, the Lummi Nation and Nooksack Tribe, for their enduring care and protection of our shared lands and waterways.
Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism
Visitor Center Located at I-5 Exit 253 - Check Hours
904 Potter Street, Bellingham, WA 98229
Phone: 360-671-3990
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