Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration
Picture of San Juan Islands Exploration

San Juan Islands Exploration

Destination: San Juan Islands, WA

The San Juan Islands, located off of Washington State, are known as one of the most spectacular island archipelagos in the country. Craggy coasts, deep blue-green waters with abundant sea-life, and pastoral landscapes abound. Known as one of the best sea kayaking places in America, it also offers interesting small towns, a rich human history, diverse marine and bird wildlife, scenic hiking, and a unique opportunity to learn how to sail a traditional wooden schooner. We'll even get an opportunity to zip line. Our trip starts and ends in Seattle and if you have never visited Seattle in July, you'll find out why everyone falls in love with it. Maximum group size: 12

Highlights

  • Sea kayaking in the beautiful archipelago of the San Juan Islands
  • Seeing a variety of wildlife such as seals, bald eagles and much more
  • Hiking to Mount Constitution with 360 degree views of the islands
  • Sailing through the islands on a wooden sailing boat
  • Experiencing island life on two different islands: San Juan and Orcas Island

Inclusions

  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Seven nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from dinner on Saturday through lunch the following Saturday, except for one lunch.
  • Two days and one half-day of sea kayaking
  • A full day learning to sail on a traditional wooden schooner
  • All transportation once you arrive in Friday Harbor and transportation to Seattle airport (Seatac) at the end of the trip

    What's not included:
    Travel to and from Seattle, travel to Friday Harbor at the beginning of the trip, alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, guide gratuities and one lunch.

Departures

Accommodations

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This trip is appropriate for any active woman who regularly walks briskly for exercise and wants a vacation that mixes being active in the outdoors with learning about the human and natural history of the area. No prior kayaking experience is needed. The trip is rated 2. Prior to beginning the trip, participants should be walking regularly, including hills or stairs, at a brisk pace 3 to 4 days a week for 35 - 45 minutes. Rating: 1 [2] 3 4 5.

Since the San Juan Islands are made up of diverse ecosystems, we'll explore it in diverse ways: kayaking, sailing and hiking. We will visit two very unique islands and explore both. Being comfortable in water is important; no experience is needed for any of these activities - we'll teach you what you need to know.

The first 3 nights are at the  Earthbox Inn in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. The double-occupancy rooms are classic retro chic with small kitchenettes. The Inn also has an indoor swimming pool. The next three nights we stay on Orcas Island at the Landmark Condos, each with 2 bedrooms and one bath, living room and kitchen.

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
We will meet at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island at 12pm. After meeting your guides, you will start your adventure with a kayak tour of Griffin Bay. After an introduction to kayak safety and touring techniques, we will set off on a 2 to 3-hour kayak adventure. Unhindered by strong tidal currents, this is an ideal first kayak in a uniquely peaceful environment with superb views of glacier-covered Mt. Baker and the Olympic Mountain Range. We will explore picturesque Dinner Island and its resident colony of chubby harbor seals, then turn south toward quiet coves. Hopefully, you could see bald eagles, Dall's or Harbor porpoise, river otters, mink and migratory sea birds such as scoters, harlequin ducks, loons and mergansers along with our local herons, cormorants, gulls and kingfishers! In the later afternoon we will head back to Friday Harbor for a relaxing dinner, and sunset over the water. Overnight: Friday Harbor, Earthbox Inn. D
DAY 2
Today we'll see the San Juan Archipelago from the perspective of a traditionally gaff-rigged sailboat. Wooden boats run deep in the heritage of this area, from native canoes to tall sailing ships to the modern-day wooden boat renaissance. We'll get a rare opportunity to learn to sail a traditional schooner and work together to handle the lines and take the helm during a full day sailing trip. As we sail the channels and visit the quiet bays and inlets, we'll be sharing the waters with orcas, otters, seals and porpoises as well as a plethora of other sea life and aquatic birds. Our on-board naturalists will share stories and life histories of the fascinating local environment and wildlife. Overnight: Friday Harbor, Earthbox Inn B, L, D
DAY 3
Today we'll enjoy a scenic drive to San Juan Island's west side and launch our kayaks into prime orca whale country! We’ll have a picnic lunch along the way. For a different perspective, we'll take a short walk on a spectacular coastal trail and, from an elevated viewpoint, enjoy nothing but islands and ocean as far as the eye can see.  Diverse wildlife, stunning vistas, and spectacular coastline are the highlights today.  Wildlife can be seen in the sky, in the sea or on the shore, so bring your cameras and binoculars. Overnight: Friday Harbor, Earthbox Inn. B,L,D
DAY 4
This morning we see the island from another perspective - ziplining through the canopy. Then we will take some time to explore Friday Harbor. This seaport village is a bustling place with galleries and museums. Lunch is on your own at one of the charming water view cafes just steps from the ferry landing and docks. After lunch, we will take a ferry to Orcas Island which is slightly larger, but less populous, than San Juan. Orcas is shaped like a pair of saddlebags, separated by fjord-like Eastsound. Overnight: Eastsound Village. B,D
DAY 5
Today we get back in our kayaks to paddle through emerald waters to Sucia Island. Among the northernmost of the San Juan Islands, this horseshoe-shaped island is accessible only by watercraft. Boaters venturing into its coves and harbors quickly discover why Sucia Island is considered the crown jewel in the state marine park system. The main island, surrounded by picturesque rocks and smaller islands, gave pause to the Spanish explorers who navigated its waters in 1791. They called it "sucia" or "dirty," describing navigational obstacles such as the rocks around the island. The island and its waters are, in fact, pristine, and the satellite rocks make for interesting kayaking and beautiful vistas. Overnight: Eastsound Village. B,L,D
DAY 6
After a delicious breakfast, we'll drive to Moran State Park for a hike to the high point on the San Juan Islands - Mount Constitution. At the summit we can climb the stone observation tower, patterned after a medieval watch tower, for panoramic views of the surrounding islands, the Cascade Mountains and on a clear day Mount Baker, Mount Rainer and Vancouver, B.C. The majority of the San Juan Islands are quite hilly, with some flat areas and valleys in between, often quite fertile. The coastlines are a mix of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded bays. Gnarled, ochre-colored madrona trees grace much of the shorelines, while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Hiking 6.7-7.7 miles, 1500' elevation gain. Overnight: Eastsound Village, Orcas Island. B,L,D
DAY 7
Today we must say good bye to these beautiful islands. We will catch a morning ferry back to the mainland to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. From there we will transfer to the Airport Shuttle. You will take the shuttle to either the airport and catch a flight out after 4:30pm. If you want to extend your adventure you can take the light rail into Seattle from the airport.

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Where do we eat?
Some breakfasts and dinners will be in restaurants where you can order off the menu, and other times the guides will cook meals. Before you start the day, the guides will put out lunch 'fixings' and you'll take a packed lunch or occasionally lunch will be picnic style.
  • What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?
    If we know well in advance, we can accommodate vegetarian, lactose-free, and gluten-sensitive diets. We cannot guarantee a completely gluten-free diet and we cannot provide a kitchen guaranteed to be free of cross-contamination. If you are vegan, we ask that you bring some additional protein bars; and if you are gluten-sensitive, please bring some gluten-free snacks. If you have severe allergies, Celiac disease and/or other significant dietary restrictions, please call the office before you register.
  • I will be coming by myself. Do I need to pay a single supplement?
    You only need to pay a single supplement if you want to guarantee you have your own room. Otherwise we’ll pair you up with someone and then switch roommates every time we switch lodging.
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