Washington

Best of the Pacific N.W.: Exploring Three of Washington’s San Juan Islands

Program No. 18520RJ
Enjoy nature, learn about orca whales, visit a lighthouse, discover museums and immerse yourself in history and tradition as you explore San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands.

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At a Glance

Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the San Juan Archipelago while you uncover the cultures and landscapes unique to San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands. Meet historians, artists, farmers, preservationists and other islanders who make up the fabric of these communities, and explore scenic shorelines, mountain vistas, rare coastal prairie and the region's iconic evergreen forests.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking between 1-2 miles over the course of each day, with some paved paths, and some dirt or uneven paths or trails with exposed roots. Standing up to one hour in museums and outdoor classroom locations. Elevators unavailable at most locations. Buses do not have lifts.

What You'll Learn

  • Spend a day on Orcas Island to enjoy the panoramic marine vista from Mount Constitution and a unique schoolhouse from the 1800s.
  • Ride the Washington State Ferry to Lopez Island to discuss and view sustainable farming and housing on the islands.
  • Take field trips on San Juan Island to National Historic Parks, a picturesque lighthouse and more.

General Notes

Select dates are designated for small groups and are limited to 24 participants or less.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
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Michael Vouri
Michael Vouri retired as the chief of interpretation and historian for San Juan Island National Park after more than 21 years. He has written books about the Pig War, the Royal Marines and San Juan Island. He has worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers, a U.S. Air Force public affairs officer, and as assistant director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Michael has been a Road Scholar instructor on San Juan Island since 1997 and a Group Leader since 2016.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Michael Vouri
Michael Vouri View biography
Michael Vouri retired as the chief of interpretation and historian for San Juan Island National Park after more than 21 years. He has written books about the Pig War, the Royal Marines and San Juan Island. He has worked as a reporter and editor for newspapers, a U.S. Air Force public affairs officer, and as assistant director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs. Michael has been a Road Scholar instructor on San Juan Island since 1997 and a Group Leader since 2016.
Profile Image of Shona Aitken
Shona Aitken View biography
Shona Aitken has a degree in ecology and a background in environmental education in her home country of Scotland, and from two years spent in Sweden. She is currently the education coordinator for Wolf Hollow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center on San Juan Island. She teaches people about local wildlife and increases awareness of the impact of human activities on wild creatures.
Profile Image of Kevin Loftus
Kevin Loftus View biography
Kevin Loftus is the executive director at the San Juan Historical Museum. Kevin spent his formative years in Chicago before heading to Northern Arizona University. After graduating, he answered a call to the corporate world in Dallas, Texas. A love of cycling led to learning about the San Juan Islands. Upon first visiting San Juan Island in 2000, Kevin realized the Islands were calling, becoming his home in 2005. Kevin became the executive director of the San Juan Historical Museum in 2008.
Profile Image of Keith Keyser
Keith Keyser View biography
Keith Keyser has spent more than four decades in the Pacific Northwest. He has backpacked and camped in the Cascades and Olympics and has explored the wilds of the foothills of the Rockies in Washington and Idaho. He enjoys kayaking with either his single or double mahogany kayaks that he built from blueprints. An amateur naturalist, Keith has had a longtime interest in birding, wildlife tracking, habitat preservation, and wild plant identification and uses. Retired from teaching, he now gardens, landscapes, and makes natural furniture.
Profile Image of Andre Entermann
Andre Entermann View biography
Originally from Southern California, Andre Entermann grew up surfing and wanting to be a firefighter. After serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, a visit to Lopez Island in 2005 stirred a stronger desire for a simpler life. In 2008, he relocated to Lopez and began working as a farm apprentice. He met Elizabeth Metcalf in 2012, who shared his dream of owning a dairy. In 2014, the Washington State Department of Agriculture granted Sunnyfield Farm a license to sell raw goat milk and cheese.
Profile Image of Kelley Balcomb-Bartok
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok View biography
Kelley Balcomb-Bartok spent his early summers in the San Juan Islands immersed in Orca whale culture. As a researcher for the Center for Whale Research, he became intimately familiar with the Southern Resident Orca whale population as they traveled through the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia. Kelley's experiences with whales led him to a career in the media communication field, developing a greater appreciation and understanding of the beauty and diversity of the San Juan Islands and surrounding region along the way.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.





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