your paddlesports destination

Quartermaster Harbor in Washington

Trip Overview

From the put-in at Owen Beach, it's a straight shot across a mile of open water to the southern shore of Vashon Island. Once there, we followed the shoreline going east and rounded the corner into Quartermaster Harbor. There was a bit of wind out in the main passage, but once we got into the harbor, the relief of the surrounding land sheltered us and calmed the water.

The harbor is long and shaped like a reverse question-mark. There are a couple places to stop along the way (Burton Acres Park and Drayton, both with restrooms), and once we got all the way up to the end of the harbor, we got out on a float and walked into town to the store. There really isn't a great place to stop in ton, but my experience is that you can usually find a float at the marina for a short period.

It is possible to paddle right to the isthmus that connects Vashon and Maury Islands, get out of your kayak, and portage to the out side of the island. It's about a 100-yard walk and it is a great way to circumnavigate Maury Island. Allow a whole day from Tacoma though.

We didn't have that long, so we followed the falling tide back out of the harbor and paddled back to the beach at Point Defiance. Great trip!


Restrooms available at Owen Beach. Plenty of parking.




Owen Beach is in Pt. Defiance Park in Tacoma. Take Hwy 16 off of I-5 and exit at 6th Ave. Get on Pearl St. heading north and follow the signs to the park.


"A Sea Kayaker's Guide to South Puget Sound" by Ken Campbell.
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Water Type: Open Water/Ocean
  • Group Rates: No

Locations on this Trip