San Juan Islands Exploration

Destination: San Juan Islands, WA

| Activities: Kayaking, Hiking, Zip Lining

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


  • 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

Departures and Prices

July 10 to July 17, 2021
$3460.00 - FULL
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  • 1 - 2 experienced AGC guides based on group size
  • Seven nights double occupancy lodging
  • All meals from breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on Day 7, except for two lunches
  • 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 Seattle and transportation back to the airport (SeaTac) at the end of the trip

    What's not included:
    Travel insurance, guide gratuities and two lunches

Trip Documents

Trip Intro

The trip is rated 2 and 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. 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, biking, hiking and (optional) biking. Participants must feel comfortable in open water for this trip and have the agility to climb in and out of kayaks. No experience is needed for any of these activities - we'll teach you all that you need to know!

The first night is in a modern and convenient hotel close to the airport. The next 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.

Fly into Seattle at any time and take the convenient and free hotel airport shuttle to our hotel for the night. Lodging is included tonight but there are no group activities planned. What to do with your free night? Grab a book, take a look! Seattle is the most literate city in the U.S., and it shows in its abundant bookstores and coffee shops. If you have time you could also check out the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Museum of Pop Culture and the Chihuly Garden and Glass. Overnight Holiday Inn Express or similar.
Meet at 7am in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express. The group will embark on a 2.5 hours drive north to the Anacortes Ferry. The ferry ride is approximately an hour long to Friday Harbour. Lunch is on your own today and your guides can point you in the right direction for purchasing something tasty prior to ferry departure. Once on San Juan, our adventure kicks off 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. 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. We may see bald eagles, Dall's or Harbor porpoise, river otters, mink and migratory seabirds such as scoters, harlequin ducks, loons and mergansers along with our local herons, cormorants, gulls and kingfishers! After getting checked into our lodgings and cleaning up, we will head back to Friday Harbor for a relaxing dinner, and sunset over the water. Overnight: Friday Harbor, Earthbox Inn. (B, D)
This morning we will 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. This afternoon we’ll visit a world class lavender farm just down the road from our lodging. Overnight: Friday Harbor, Earthbox Inn (B, L, D)
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)
This morning we see the island from another perspective with a steep but rewarding short hike up Young Hill. (The hike is optional and those that wish can relax at the inn this morning instead). For lunch we’ll head to the Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm and find out why their oysters are the best. Here is your chance to participate in a quintessential northwest meal by shucking your own oysters along the beautiful shores of Westcott Bay. Then we will take some time to explore Friday Harbor. This seaport village is a bustling place with galleries and museums. After lunch, we will take a ferry to Orcas Island which is slightly larger, but less populous, than San Juan. Orcas Island is shaped like a pair of saddlebags, separated by fjord-like Eastsound. Overnight: Eastsound Village, Landmark Condominiums. (B, L, D)
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)
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 madrone trees grace much of the shorelines, while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas. Hiking 6.7-7.7 miles, 1500-foot elevation gain. Overnight: Eastsound Village, Orcas Island. (B, L, D)
Today we must say goodbye to these beautiful islands. We will catch a morning ferry back to the mainland. From there we will drive together back to Sea-Tac Airport. You can plan your flight out for any time after 4:30 p.m. If you want to extend your adventure you can take the light rail into Seattle from the airport. (B)

*These are the unfiltered reviews of women who have been on this trip in answer to the question "Did this trip meet your expectations?". We take reviews very seriously and often tweak itineraries based on feedback. Please feel free to contact us about any questions you have.


(11 reviews)
4.3 Food
4.7 Lodging
4.5 Safety
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Most Recent

Mary H.
1 year ago

Elizabeth D.
1 year ago

Donna G.
1 year ago

Loved the variety of activities, loved the guides, loved having down time

Lani D.
1 year ago

Deneice B.
1 year ago

Zip lining, Kayaking, Wildlife watching, (I added a whale watch on my own, and it was the highlight of my trip) I traveled from Ohio and felt it was a shame to be right there and not see whales.

Vicki T.
1 year ago

Enjoyed all of it with the following exceptions: Sailing - since we had no wind, 6 hours of this was too long. If no wind after a couple of hours, abort and go to another activity. Kayaking on Orcas - the outfitter used there was not as good as the one on San Juan Island - they were outstanding. AGC Guides were excellent.

Mary H.
1 year ago

Great place, people, guides.

Katherine H.
1 year ago

Beautiful kayaking opportunities. Nice accommodations. Fabulous guides!

Sue M.
1 year ago

enjoyed the variety of activities.

Celia N.
1 year ago


Lani D.
1 year ago

Ziplining was so fun - company was very professional and local guides were delightful!

  1. 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 for picnics.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.