North America Vacations
Washington | San Juan Islands | Family
Spot orcas, humpback whales, porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals, and bald eagles on a family-friendly adventure to the San Juan Islands
6 days / 5 nights
Activity Level Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.
Discover the best of all worlds – spectacular scenery, a rich diversity of wildlife and some of the best wining and dining the Pacific Northwest has to offer on this six-day San Juan Island adventure. Find out for yourself why the San Juan Islands are a destination for peacefulness and relaxation. Listen as your guide explains the intriguing history of the Lime Kiln Park Lighthouse, the last lighthouse in Washington to receive electricity. Perfect your expertise on breaching, spyhopping, and lob-tailing as you keep a watchful eye out for killer whales in the rolling ocean waves. Find out why entering Moran Mansion is like taking a step back in time with its rich mahogany paneling, earthen tone tiles, stain glass lighting, and unique fireplace hearths. Explore the diverse landscape of mountains, wooded countryside and spectacular vistas at Orcas Island. Come visit this paradise of 172 islands, San Juan.
- Picture the San Juan Islands as nature’s theme park as your family hikes, bikes, boats, and kayaks, on San Juan and Orcas, two of the larger islands of this spectacular 100-million-year-old archipelago.
- Explore historic Lime Kiln State Park by foot and bike, making sure to keep an eye out on the coastline for the telltale “blow” of a whale.
- Stop in at Pelindaba Lavender farm to snap some Instagram-worthy photos of the watercolor landscape.
- Hike up to the highest point in the San Juan Islands to take in 360-degree views of the surrounding Pacific Ocean.
- Dip your paddle in Roche Harbor as you kayak around this magnificent area on the lookout for whales, porpoises, and sea lions.
A few more reasons why you've gotta go:
The unique features: Slow down! On San Juan Island there are no traffic lights.
The wildlife: Orcas are some of the most beautiful creatures of the sea. Come here and you can adopt one!
Perfect balance of luxury and adventure: with lodgings like Rosario Resort and Spa, indulge in hot-tub bliss and the best views of the sound.
Seattle, Washington SEA
Seattle, Washington SEA
Seattle / Anacortes / San Juan Island
Morning shuttle from Seattle to Anacortes to catch a ferry to San Juan Island. On board, notice the hustle and bustle of city life begin to fade as we pass the picturesque islands of Lopez and Shaw. Lunch at Blue Water Bar & Grill on the wharf at Friday Harbor. This afternoon, saddle up for your first bike ride to American Camp, occupied by the U.S. Army from July 1859 through November 1874 because of a water boundary disagreement with Great Britain. Tonight we dine at our accommodation, Friday Harbor House
About Discovery Inn
Located minutes from the Friday Harbor ferry landing on beautiful San Juan Island, the Discovery Inn provides affordable comfort in a park-like setting. The handsomely appointed rooms are designed for relaxing and are decorated in restful colors. Each recently renovated room features air-conditioning, free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen TV, Keurig coffee maker, and private bath. The lovely property features yard games, a large outdoor Jacuzzi, deck with flowers, and sitting area. Within a mile of the Discovery Inn is downtown Friday Harbor where you’ll find award-winning dining, art galleries, and fun shops with souvenirs for browsing.
San Juan Island
After breakfast overlooking Friday Harbor, we’ll make our way over to Roche Harbor for a morning of kayaking. Paddle quiet bays and shoreline, keeping your eyes peeled for sea lions, bald eagles, otters, porpoise and – if you’re lucky – orca whales. This afternoon, we drive through cottage country to the National Park, English Camp and later pedal rolling hills back to Friday Harbor with a stop at a winery along the way. Dinner is on your own tonight at one of the many local hotspots in Friday Harbor.
San Juan Island
Today we explore San Juan Island by bike and by foot. We shuttle from Friday Harbor this morning making sure to pause and take in the expansive views along the way. On our way to the historic Lime Kiln State Park, we’ll have time to stop and take in the culture. Upon arriving at the Park we’ll embark on a short hike loaded with picturesque views while watching for the 80+ Orca that call these shorelines home. After lunch, we’ll get on the bikes to pedal over to Pelindaba lavender farm – an experience for all the senses! The day’s adventure ends back at Friday Harbor. Dinner tonight will be served at the McMillian House in Roche Harbor.
After breakfast, ferry to Orcas Island and take a short hike at Turtleback Preserve. This afternoon, board a boat and get ready to go whale watching! This all-afternoon tour will take you to the best spots to look for all the different kinds of whales of this area and learn how they hunt, interact, and migrate. Shuttle back to the Rosario Resort where you will stay for the last two nights of the trip. Enjoy dinner with the group at the resort this evening.
About the Rosario Resort & Spa
Over one hundred years ago Seattle Shipbuilder Robert Moran built Rosario with Arts and Crafts ideals in mind – time spent with family, a respect for nature and a return to hand craftsmanship lost in the industrial revolution. One hundred years later, Rosario Resort & Spa on Orcas Island offers comfortable and relaxing guest accommodations with beautiful views of Washington State’s San Juan Islands. Rosario Resort’s guest rooms are surrounded by the natural beauty of the San Juan Islands with views of magnificent East Sound and Cascade Bay on Orcas Island. This beautiful island is an ideal Northwest escape for those who love nature, outdoor activities and cultural attractions. From kayaking and whale watching on Puget Sound to touring artisans’ studios, enjoying the wide array of activities will help create an unforgettable experience in one of the world’s most stunning locations.
Surrounded by small, scenic State Park-designated islands, Orcas Island is a playground for adventurers. This morning we’ll explore one of the many trails of Moran State Park, named for Robert Moran, the Seattle Mayor and ship builder who provided the land for the park. Break for a relaxing picnic lunch. If you’re feeling energetic, take a hike up Mount Constitution to the highest point in the San Juan Islands (it’s worth the effort – the views are spectacular!) Tonight, wrap up your active day with a farewell dinner at the nearby Ship Bay Inn.
This morning, enjoy a final early morning hike to Cascade Lake if the group is up to it. Shuttle to the Orcas Ferry Landing to catch our final ferry back to Anacortes. Lunch on the ferry. Return to Seattle for late afternoon airport and hotel drop-offs.
** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.
Arrival & Departure
Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts at 6:00 am or 6:15 am, with a pickup from your pre-designated Seattle hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Seattle airport (4:00 pm) or your Seattle hotel (4:30 pm)
Hiking: 1 to 5 miles, easy to moderate terrain
Biking: 5 to 20 miles, moderate rolling hills on quiet, backcountry roads
Kayaking: Calm waters, no experience necessary
Whale watching: Take a boat ride to observe the orcas of the San Juan Islands and their habits
All guides are experienced facilitators and regional experts. They will take the time to explain the details of each activity, answer any questions, and demonstrate the use of all equipment. Each activity has been carefully planned to include options for all levels. Most importantly, your guides will help you select the distance that’s right for you.
Discover the best of all worlds – spectacular scenery, a rich diversity of wildlife and some of the best wining and dining the Pacific Northwest has to offer on this six-day San Juan Islandadventure. Find out for yourself why the San Juan Islands are a destination for peacefulness and relaxation. Listen as your guide explains the intriguing history of the Lime Kiln Park Lighthouse, the last lighthouse in Washington to receive electricity. Perfect your expertise on breaching, spyhopping, and lob-tailing as you keep a watchful eye out for killer whales in the rolling ocean waves. Find out why entering Moran Mansion is like taking a step back in time with its rich mahogany paneling, earthen tone tiles, stain glass lighting, and unique fireplace hearths. Explore the diverse landscape of mountains, wooded countryside and spectacular vistas at Orcas Island. Come visit this paradise of 172 islands, SanJuan.
The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions, except one dinner on your own, are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D= Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.
After receiving your reservation and deposit, we’ll send you a pre-trip planner with general information about the area you’ll be visiting, a packing list, exercise guidelines, a guest information questionnaire and a liability release agreement for you to sign and return within 10 days.
Included in the Trip Price
- Double occupancy rooms with private baths. Rooms often accommodate 3 or 4 people.
- All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, except one dinner on own your own, refreshments and receptions.
- Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
- Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment, all safe and well maintained.
- Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
- Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
- Pre-departure and packing information.
- Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in the Trip Price
- Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
- Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
- One dinner on your own.
- Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
- Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
- All types of personal insurance.
- Personal expenses.
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.1 Easy (1)
Activity levels are subjective depending on your general level of fitness and your experience; however, all of our trips are self-paced.2 Moderately Easy (2)
San Juan Islands Expert
Not sure what to expect when you get your boots on the ground—or bike on the road or paddle in the water—in that dream destination? Dan Austin would love to tell you. More than likely, he’s been there, done that, and then some. The founder and president of Austin Adventures, Dan is a boots-on-the-ground influencer in the company, helping guests, ensuring guides lead the way he would, and curating new trips by personally experiencing and evaluating every detail. While always happy to add to his list of 64 countries and counting, Dan most highly values helping guests experience their adventure in the most inspiring and energizing way possible.