One of the best ways to soak up the sights of San Juan Island  is to haul out of Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor  in a sea kayak and paddle along the shoreline. Doing so can give you a good vantage point to check out the lighthouses, madronas, and neat rocky outcroppings of the coast. It can also put you in prime position to look for whales, particularly along their favorite stretch of waterway, Haro Strait, which passes along the west edge of the island.
Those with little to no experience paddling should definitely consider a guided tour, as currents and tides can be tricky in these parts.
Crystal Seas Kayaking (360/378-7899 or 877/732-7877, www.crystalseas.com ) offers a six- to nine-mile round-trip out of Snug Harbor resort for $89, which includes free transport from Friday Harbor.
f you'd like to see the island washed aglow in the sunset, check out the sunset kayak trip offered by Discover Sea Kayak (360/378-2559 www.discoveryseakayak.com ), which leaves out of Friday Harbor and lasts about four hours. Discover also offers a longer day trip for the same price and full moon trips for $69.
Another well-respected outfit is San Juan Safaris (360/378-1323 or 800/450-6858, www.sanjuansafaris.com ), which offers three-hour tours out of Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor for $69. It also features five-hour Orca search tours out of either harbor for $85.
If you prefer to do it yourself without a guide, you can rent a sit-on-top kayak from San Juan Safaris from Roche Harbor, but you'll be limited to the protected waters around Roche Harbor  and British Camp . The cost is $90 per day for a single and $108 per day for a double.
For a bit more freedom and better equipment, check out San Juan Kayak Expeditions (360/378-4436, www.sanjuankayak.com ), which offers fiberglass kayaks for rent and advice on where to go and what to watch for while on the water. Cost is $90 for single-day rentals and $80 per day for multi-day rentals. This outfit also offers expeditions led by experienced guides.