21786
Washington

The San Juan Islands by Land and Sea: Hidden Anchorages

Cruise the San Juan Archipelago aboard a private chartered yacht, visiting national parks, spotting Orca whales and other wildlife, and enjoy guided scenic walks as we explore trails.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 21786RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
1,999
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Seattle
D
Crowne Plaza Seattle Airport

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration & Orientation: After you have your room assignment, head to the conference room at 5:00pm to register with the Road Scholar program staff, which is also where our Orientation session will take place. You’ll receive a welcome packet with your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, and other important information. If you will arrive later than 8:00 p.m., please ask for your packet when you check in. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: In the Conference Dining Room, we’ll enjoy a catered buffet meal featuring green salad, an entrée, sides, and a choice of dessert, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continuing to get acquainted with our fellow Road Scholars, we’ll settle in for a short presentation given by our Group Leader on the Salish Sea and the San Juan Islands, during which we’ll learn some of the basics about the archipelago and prepare for what we will see and learn throughout the program. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
2
To Bellingham, South San Juan Islands Cruise
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Getting on/off motorcoach; driving approx. 100 miles; about 2.5 hours total. Walking approx. 1/2 mile throughout the day. Getting on/off boat, requiring walking up/down stairs and ramps; ride is approximately 5 hours; up to 40 miles depending on currents, sightings, etc.

Breakfast: In the hotel breakfast room, we’ll have a buffet featuring an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads, waffles, a variety of fresh fruit, yogurt, and hot and cold cereals, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll board a motorcoach for transfer to Bellingham where we will meet our vessel, the M/V Chinook, a 72-foot yacht. Upon clearing Bellingham Bay, we will work our way south to explore the southern end of the San Juan archipelago and keep our eyes on the sights as we cruise past Burrows Island Lighthouse and other points of interest such as Iceberg Point, Deadman's Island, and Cattle Pass. Our yacht captain and Group Leader will provide informative and entertaining commentary on the area’s history and native species as we progress on our field trip.

Lunch: Aboard the boat, we’ll have a hearty buffet meal, plus salad, bread, and dessert; coffee, tea, water included.

Afternoon: The vessel will make its way down and around San Juan Island before finally docking at the port of the quaint town of Friday Harbor. Upon arrival in Friday Harbor, we will transfer with our luggage to the hotel. Afterwards, a local resident expert will give a presentation highlighting contemporary life in the islands, with emphasis on current issues facing the islands.

Dinner: At the nearby community center, we’ll choose from a selection of delightful Northwest-style plated meals provided by a local favorite restaurant, plus salad, sides, and dessert; coffee, tea, water included. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Cruise around Fidalgo Island, La Conner, Deception Pass
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Early rise and walk less than 1 mile to the dock. Getting on/off boat; full day field trip. Riding approx. 37 miles total throughout the day; about 6 hours total, with stops. Getting on/off mini-buses; minimal driving. Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; paved, and uneven dirt trails with exposed rocks and tree routes.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat, we will be served a buffet breakfast featuring an egg dish, breakfast meats and breads, jam and honey butter, fresh fruit, and a choice of juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: As we eat, we will be making our way east through the San Juan archipelago to circumnavigate Fidalgo Island. In order to do this, we’ll venture into the narrow Swinomish Channel through the Skagit River Delta farmland area. We’ll dock in the to the quaint historic port town of La Conner. Settled in 1867, La Conner is filled with art, history, and scenic beauty. Many of the buildings in the town’s historic downtown corridor are listed on the National Historic Register. Upon arrival, we’ll visit the Museum of Northwest Art. If you prefer, you may wish to explore on your own. In the early afternoon, we’ll re-board the Chinook for lunch aboard and continue our journey.

Lunch: Aboard the boat, we’ll enjoy buffet meal - an old fashioned cracked crab feast, featuring a choice of entrée, sides, bread, and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: As lunch is served, we’ll cruise out under LaConner’s iconic “Rainbow Bridge” and out the southern end of the Swinomish Channel for an exciting exploration through Deception Pass. This dramatic saltwater gorge is rich with native and European lore, and known for its extreme tidal currents. The seascape and scenery is stunning as we pass under the twin bridges connecting Fidalgo Island to Whidbey Island, making Deception Pass one of the top “must see” locations in Washington State. As we navigate Rosario Strait and the the southern San Juan Channel in the late afternoon, we will be treated to an early evening wine tasting led by the crew during our cruise back to Friday Harbor. With some local Northwest wines in our glasses, we’ll marvel at the evening sunset and unforgettable day. Upon arrival at the dock, we’ll take the short walk back to the hotel.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the hotel (served buffet-style), with dessert, plus coffee, tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Cruise to Sucia Island Hike
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Early rise and walk less than 1 mile to the dock. Getting on/off boat; ride is approx. 35 miles roundtrip; about 3 hours each way. Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; gravel and uneven dirt trail with exposed rock and tree roots.

Breakfast: Aboard the boat.

Morning: Making our way toward the top of the San Juan archipelago aboard the boat, we’ll keep our eyes peeled for orca whales, bald eagles, harbor seals, Dall's porpoise, minke whales, sea birds and other magnificent wildlife. Catching a glimpse of these animals in their natural environment is always a treat to behold! On our way up north to the unique, horseshoe shaped destination called Sucia Island State Park, we’ll continue soaking in the informational narratives of our Group Leader focused on the islands, their history, and marine life. We’ll then have an opportunity to stretch our legs by taking a short hike with our Group Leader through the forest and along the coast while enjoying some of the most stunning shorelines and views that the Northwest has to offer. During our exquisite private island adventure, we’ll take in the untamed flora and fauna while keeping our eyes peeled because we may just happen upon some marine fossils on the beaches of Fossil Bay on the Southeast arm of the island. After returning to the boat, we’ll transfer back to San Juan Island.

Lunch: Aboard the boat on our return trip back to San Juan Island, we will be treated to a freshly prepared buffet meal with various dishes, plus dessert, champagne or non-alcoholic cider, water.

Afternoon: On our final leg of the voyage traveling through channels and past islands not yet explored, we’ll return to the hotel.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
San Juan Island Creativity & Art, Island Parks by Land
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Walking approx. 2 miles total throughout the day; sidewalks, paved walkways, uneven pathways, dirt trails with exposed rocks and tree roots. Getting on/off mini-buses; driving approx. 55 miles total; 5 segments of about 1/2 hour each.

Breakfast: In the hotel conference room, the breakfast buffet will feature a variety of fresh fruits, assorted hot/cold cereals and breakfast breads, cottage cheese, and boiled eggs, plus juice, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Joined by a local artist, we’ll enjoy a presentation showcasing the creative and artistic spirits that are abundant in the archipelago. Following our presentation, we will split into two groups and each will set out for a walking field trip to either the San Juan Island Historical Museum or the Whale Museum. A docent will lead an exploration showcasing the exhibits at each. Tomorrow, these activities will be repeated and the groups swapped so everyone will have a chance to do both. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a buffet meal with a variety of choices and dessert, plus coffee, tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Afternoon: Then, we’ll set out via mini-buses for a field trip with our Group Leader around the south end of San Juan Island to American Camp National Park where we will stop at the Visitor’s Center for an overview of the Pig War, during which both American and British troops occupied the island. Afterwards, we’ll walk to the redoubt area and view the remaining American Camp structures. Our field trip will continue with our Group Leader at Limekiln Point State Park, one of the best places in the world to view whales from land, and home to Orca research outpost and lighthouse. Keeping an eye out for the whales as they search for their main food source, salmon, we’ll make our way with our Group Leader to the lighthouse research center to see the studies being done on orcas. We’ll then return to the hotel.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a tasty buffet meal featuring salad, entrees, sides, vegetables, and dessert, plus coffee, hot and iced tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you.

Evening: Then a local area expert historian will join us for a presentation on the history of fishing in the region and its impact on marine and human life in the islands.

DAY
6
Island Preservation, Historical & Whale Museums, Free Time
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B,L,D
Friday Harbor Suites

Activity note: Walking approx. 1 mile total during group activities; more dependent on personal preference; some sidewalks and paved walkways.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll gather in the hotel conference room for a presentation by a local expert from San Juan Island Preservation Trust Stewardship, which will highlight the island's most precious resource: undeveloped land! Swapping activities from yesterday, we will then split into two groups and set out for walking field trips to either the San Juan Island Historical Museum or the Whale Museum. A docent will lead an exploration showcasing the exhibits at each.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: Free time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Some excursions may require a reservation in advance. Please plan accordingly.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a buffet meal featuring salad, an entrée, sides, and dessert, topped off with coffee, tea, water. You may bring other beverages of your own with you. During dinner, our Group Leader will also review departure details for the conclusion of the program. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: We'll then gather for a quick wrap-up and review of the program before going over closing details. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 7:15 a.m. Ferry transfer to Anacortes, WA, is approx. 20 miles; about 1.5 hours. Driving approx. 100 miles from Anacortes to Seattle; about 2.5 hours. Drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel will be at approximately 12:30 p.m. and 12:45 p.m., respectively. Scheduling outbound flights after 2:30 p.m. is advised.

Breakfast: Early hotel buffet.

Morning: Once checked-out of the hotel, we’ll depart Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, via the Washington State Ferry. Upon docking in Anacortes, we’ll transfer to a chartered motorcoach and ride to Seattle with drop-offs at SeaTac International Airport and the starting hotel. This concludes our program. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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