Hike. Paddle. Repeat.

Discover the best of the Pacific Northwest on an adventure cruise.
By Cassandra Overby, Washington Trails

I sat at the knobby summit of Eagle Cliffs on Cypress Island in the San Juans in a warm spot of sun, enjoying a moment of solitude away from my hiking group and looking down at the water far below me. It was an incredible sight, the deep blue of the Salish Sea broken only by a series of small, picturesque islands as far as the eye could see. I counted my blessings but didn’t bother counting the islands. I knew the stats by heart—there were 172 named islands out there. Only four of them had ferry service, but I’d already explored more than that in the last week, making a small dent in the 168 that are only accessible by water taxi or private boat. I’d paddled their rocky shores and hiked their woody interiors with abandon, and in the process I’d gained a far better appreciation for this landscape that I’d always somehow taken for granted. And it was all thanks to an adventure cruise.

Like many of the 43 other guests aboard UnCruise Adventures’ Wilderness Discoverer, a relatively small cruise boat traveling through the San Juan Islands and down to Olympic National Park, I was on my rst adventure cruise. I’d signed up for it months before after falling in love with the concept. It o ered enough active outdoor opportunities—hiking, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding—to scratch your adventure itch and enough creature comforts— hot tubs, happy hours, three-course gourmet meals—to give you a relaxing vacation. It seemed like the best of both worlds, even for a logistics junkie who normally likes to have her hand in everything related to trip planning. The thought of tackling several bucket-list adventures while letting someone else take care of the details was enticing—and ultimately, that’s what sold me.

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