Splash Therapy

Everything you encounter in the Northwest—the weather, and, most of all, the adventure—comes from the ocean. Here are the best trips on our wildest coast.

Pacific coast

Pacific coast     Photo: Wouter Kiel

Paddle the San Juans. You can’t go wrong sea-kayaking amid any of Washington’s 400 San Juan Islands, but some trips are better than others. Take, for instance, Anacortes Kayak Tours’ three-day lap around 5,500-acre Cypress Island. Days are spent paddling open passages and gawking at puffins and the resident orca pod; by night you’re camping beneath limestone cliffs. $549; June–September; ­anacorteskayaktours.com

Sleep on the Beach. Drive to the northernmost end of Washinton’s Makah reservation on Highway 112, through Olympic National Park. Pull off at the parking lot for Shi Shi Beach. Hike 3.3 miles over a rickety wooden footbridge, pitch a tent on the beach, and ogle the otherworldly sea stacks and the crashing Pacific. Camping permits, $5 plus $2 per person per day, from the ranger station at Olympic National Park; 360-565-3104

Ride the Wind. Flores Lake, a 255-acre freshwater body separated from the Pacific by a narrow sandspit, may be the easiest place on earth to learn to windsurf, thanks to the warm water temps (70 degrees in summer) and steady wind (20 knots from the northwest). Flores Lake Windsurfing and Kiteboarding School offers half-day lessons. $60; floreslake.com

Steel Your Nerves. Southern Oregon’s Rogue and its tributaries—the ­Illinois and the Chetco—­offer some of the best rafting and fishing in the country. Book a day trip with guide Tyson Crumley (September is prime time) and float the ten miles between Lobster Creek and Gold Beach, trolling for salmon or swinging big ugly flies in pursuit of steelhead, the fierce anadromous trout that drive local anglers nuts. $400 for two people; fishtc.com

From Outside Magazine, Aug 2011 Get the Latest Issue

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