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A handful of emeralds off Washington's north coast, Puget Sound's San Juan Islands sparkle with vistas of the Olympic Mountains, glimpses of whales at play and bald eagles. Explore four islands in one glorious week: Orcas, San Juan and Lopez in the San Juan islands chain, and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Ride, kayak and enjoy lusciously fresh island cuisine. Stroll Friday Harbor, which Conde Nast Traveler recently named one of the 'Most Beautiful Towns in America.' See why the League of American Bicyclists called this "the best and most popular place to bicycle in the United States."
*Note: Transfer to and from Seattle is included.
Meet in Seattle for a complimentary shuttle north. Ride from historic La Conner to Anacortes, on the sparkling waters of Puget Sound. Board the ferry to Orcas, the largest of Washington's San Juan Islands.
Meet in Seattle, Washington for a complimentary van ride north to La Conner, a lovely town tucked between the San Juan Islands and the Cascade Mountain Range. Warm up your cycling legs with a short spin to Anacortes for lunch, then bicycle aboard a Washington State Ferry to sail across the glittering waters of Puget Sound to Orcas Island.
Tackle the switchbacks of Mt. Constitution, the island's highest point. Or hike up. Whatever you choose, the view from the top is spectacular. This afternoon: ferry to San Juan Island.
Challenge Mt. Constitution, highest point in the islands. It's a solid ride to the summit - or if you'd prefer to hike, take the forest trail to the top. The stone observation tower at the summit boasts a magnificent view across Puget Sound: Vancouver, Canada to the north; Mt. Baker, the Cascade Range and Bellingham to the east; the island chains of the San Juan and Canadian Gulf Islands; Anacortes and Washington State's Olympic Mountains to the south. This afternoon, ferry to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island for a delectable dinner at Duck Soup. Enjoy the next three nights at Tucker House Inn, a beautifully restored 1898 Victorian property just around the corner from the lively waterfront of Friday Harbor.
Ride to American Camp for a history lesson on the 'Pig War' between England and the United States. Bicycle to Lime Kiln State Park, a renowned feeding grounds for Orca whales. Explore Friday Harbor.
Bicycle to American Camp, a national historic park featured prominently in the 1859 "Pig War" between England and the United States. Pedal onward to Lime Kiln State Park, the only state park in the country devoted to observing orca (killer) whales. Most of the filming of movies about orca whales has been done in this part of the Salish Sea, as there are three resident pods here for much of the year. Wind and currents bring nutrient-rich waters to the park's rocky shores. The waters tempt the small fish; the small fish tempt the salmon - and voila! - an orca feast!. If you're lucky you'll see several of these magnificent animals play and leap from the water. This afternoon, take time to explore Friday Harbor and enjoy dinner at your choice of the town's award-winning restaurants.
Ferry to Lopez, the 'Bicyclist's Island.' Ride to Spencer Spit, Agate Beach and Shark Reef.
Board the ferry to Lopez Island this morning to explore its rolling pastures, picturesque
shorelines and pebbled beaches. Lopez is considered the cyclist's
island because of its extensive network of low traffic roads and lack
of major hills. Be sure you learn the 'Lopez Wave' from your guides while on the ferry en route! Take a break from riding to stroll into Shark Reef
Park and watch playful harbor seals basking on the rocks below and gaze out at
San Juan Island just a mile away. Tonight: dine at Coho Restaurant, winner of Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence.
Ferry to glorious Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Kayak the peaceful side of Victoria's Inner Harbor.
This morning, ferry to Sidney, on Canada's Vancouver Island. Hop into the van for a short shuttle south to the vibrant city of Victoria, British Columbia. Enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch in the Japanese gardens at the Inn at Laurel Point, home for the next two nights. Then it's off for a guided kayak tour of Victoria's Inner Harbor: seals, seaplanes, eagles and the famed Empress Hotel. It's the perfect way to get a feel for this lovely area.
Ride to gorgeous Butchart Gardens. Explore!
Bicycle to world-famous Butchart Gardens: 55 acres of perfectly manicured grounds that are a National Historic Site of Canada. After lunch and plenty of time to 'ooh' and 'aah', it's off to Victoria's Inner Harbor and its oh-so-British offerings and curiosity shops. Don't miss Rogers Chocolates! Rather ride? Pedal from the gardens back to your lodging at the Inn at Laurel Point, where your spacious and well-appointed room overlooks the harbor.
Explore Victoria, or take a morning ride along the coast or an inland paved bike trail - your choice.
This morning, take a guided out-and-back ride on the Lochside Trail, part of a national system
linking trails from coast to coast. Or if you prefer, ride Dallas Avenue along the waterfront. Didn't get enough time to shop? Spend the morning exploring the museums and galleries of downtown Victoria. Following lunch, head back to Seattle on the Victoria Clipper passenger ferry.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.