San Juan Islands

Intimate and Undiscovered

San Juan Islands

Intimate and Undiscovered

San Juan Islands

Intimate and Undiscovered

San Juan Islands

Intimate and Undiscovered

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Highlights

  • Custom itineraries and uniquely personal service
  • Cycling along quiet lanes through lush forests and past bucolic farms
  • Island-hopping between four very distinct islands
  • Spotting orca whales in their natural habitat
  • One of the friendliest welcomes anywhere in the United States

Seasons

Late Spring, Summer, Early Fall

Starting / Ending City

Seattle or Friday Harbor, WA

Tour Length

3 to 7 Days

Trip Types

◊ Self-Guided
With our Self-Guided tours an expert local guide takes care of your transfers, route briefing, luggage moves, and planned transfers. They are also available should you need mechanical assistance, help with a dinner reservation, or general questions. You have a GPS unit, maps, and a detailed guidebook to help you select your route, choose where you eat, and, generally, explore the area.

◊ Guided Group
Our Guided tours allow your group to explore a destination with an expert local guide with a dedicated support vehicle. You will also have GPS units, maps and a detailed guidebook to help learn about both the major sights and the hidden gems. Your guide takes care of both you and all the logistics – from route advice to bottle washing.

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Private San Juan Islands Washington Cycling Tours

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    Where do you want to stay?

    Budget

    Two Star Silverton Inn Suites

    Simple B&Bs and more modest hotels but all well-kept with en suite facilities

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    Classic

    Four Star accommodation

    Smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service often including wine tasting

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    Luxury

    Luxury accommodation

    Some of the nicest full-service hotels in the area. Typically include a pool and a good restaurant

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    Sample Itinerary

    San Juan Islands Washington cover photo

    The San Juan Islands are a bucolic wonderland with a pace of life reminiscent of a time long passed on the mainland. Many drivers wave as they pass and you will receive one of the friendliest welcomes anywhere in the United States.

    You ride on quiet lanes through lush forests, past small farms, and around coves where the sun sparkles off the water. The ferries between the islands are all part of the adventure: it is not uncommon to see seals, sea lions, porpoises and even orca whales breaching.

    TOUR LENGTH

    6 Days / 5 Nights

    ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS

    Budget  

    Classic  

    START & END

    Friday Harbor

    SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS

    • Private transfer from ferry terminal or airport with bike set up and full route briefing at the start of your tour
    • Accommodation and breakfasts
    • On-call roadside assistance
    • Optional transfers along the routes
    • GPS units, maps, directions and a comprehensive guidebook
    • Expert guides delivering superior service

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    • Sea kayaking
    • Whale-watching tours
    • Customize your route

    BIKE AVAILABILITY

    DAY-BY-DAY FLOW

    Day 1: San Juan Island Southern Loop

    Day 2: San Juan Island Northern Loop

    Day 3: Friday Harbor to Eastsound (Orcas Island)

    Day 4: Orcas Island Loop

    Day 5: Lopez Island Excursion

    Day 6: Shaw Island Excursion

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    Day One - San Juan Island Southern Loops

    You will be met by your guide in the vibrant port town of Friday Harbor. Your guide will serve you lunch, give you your trip briefing, and then ride with you for a few miles – just to help you get oriented. Your riding today is focused on the southern part of San Juan Island.

    The Intermediate ride heads to American Camp at the southernmost tip of San Juan Island. (American Camp was home to the US Army during the joint occupation of the islands by the Americans and the British in 1859.) Your route then continues around the marine sanctuary at False Bay to Pelindaba Lavender Farm – in full purple bloom during the summer months. You then circle back to Friday Harbor.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate ride above but skip the southernmost tip of the island to loop around False Bay before heading directly back to Friday Harbor.

    Challenge riders follow the Intermediate ride and add on a loop out to Lime Kiln State Park – the nation’s only whale watching park with its iconic lighthouse and old lime kilns.

    Visit American Camp State Park, False Bay Marine Preserve, and Pelindaba Lavender Farm

    San Juan Island Southern Loop cycling tour segment

     

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 900 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 2,000 feet

    Challenge
    40 miles with 2,400 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

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    Day Two - San Juan Island Northern Loops

    Today you do a loop ride in the northern part of the island.

    The Intermediate ride follows rolling back roads to Roche Harbor. This sheltered cove has been a haven for sailors for over 150 years. There are several waterfront restaurants – ideal for a leisurely lunch in the sunshine.

    After lunch, you go on to explore British Camp (the site used by the British troops during the joint military occupation of the Island in 1859). From here it’s a meandering loop back to Friday Harbor along the west coast. In places, you’re less than 3 miles from the Canadian border, and the snowcapped mountains of Vancouver Island frame the western horizon. Sites en route include an outdoor sculpture park, an alpaca farm, and Lime Kiln State Park – the nation’s only whale watching park. Wildlife is a common sight – orcas in the ocean, deer on the land and bald eagles in the air.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate route to Roche Harbor and English camp before heading straight back to Friday Harbor across the center of the island.

    Lunch in the beautiful cove of Roche Harbor – a haven for sailors for over 150 years

    San Juan Island Northern Loops cycling tour segment thru Roche Harbor

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    25 miles with 1,400 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    30 miles with 2,000 feet

    Challenge
    N/A

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

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    Day Three - Friday Harbor to Eastsound (Orcas Island)

    Today you head across the water to Orcas Island. Here, dense forests, placid lakes and multiple inlets create a rugged, unspoiled beauty. The day starts with a ferry ride from Friday Harbor to Orcas.

    From the ferry terminal, Intermediate riders follow the curving shoreline past a series of small inlets to Deer Harbor. The little sandy beach and dock make this a great place for a picnic lunch. Crow Valley Road then takes you across the heart of the Island past Turtleback Mountain Preserve and a succession of small farms. A short detour takes you to Orcas Island Pottery – a world-renowned institution perched on a 100-foot-high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. From here, it’s just a short ride to Eastsound.

    Leisure riders start out on the Intermediate route but head straight for Crow Road and Orcas Island Pottery – skipping the out-and-back to Deer Harbor.

    Orcas Island Pottery is set in old-growth woodland and perched on cliffs 100 feet above the Pacific Ocean

    Friday Harbor to Eastsound (Orcas Island) Washington cycling tour segment

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 1,000 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 1,500 feet

    Challenge
    N/A

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Eastsound

    Eastsound is a charming seaside town and artist community. The laid- back atmosphere here can make even Friday Harbor seem hectic by comparison. That said, the clutch of galleries and stores are enough to while away a pleasant couple of hours. Eastsound also has the best ice cream on the archipelago.

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    Day Four - Orcas Island Loops or Out on the Water

    Be as active or as relaxed as you choose. The cycling routes are focused on the eastern side of the Island. The non-cycling options get you out on the water.

    The Intermediate route heads south past the placid waters of Cascade Lake and through the densely-forested Moran State Park. After a side-trip to Obstruction Pass you head to the idyllic beach at Doe Bay for lunch.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate route but skip the detour to Obstruction Pass.

    Challenge riders follow the Intermediate route but add in a steep out-and-back to the top of Mount Constitution. At 2,400 feet, this is the highest point on the San Juan Islands.

    For those wanting to get out on the water, we can arrange guided full- or half-day sea kayaking tours. Another option is to join a whale-watching cruise to see orca, gray, and humpback whales. See Services & Options at the end of this itinerary for more details. There are also kayaks and stand up paddle boards to rent on Cascade Lake.

    Ride past placid lakes and through dense forests to lunch overlooking an idyllic beach at Doe Bay

    Orcas Island Loops or Out on the Water options on this segment of the cycling tour

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 2,000 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 2,500 feet

    Challenge
    35 miles with 4,300

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Eastsound

    Eastsound is a charming seaside town and artist community. The laid- back atmosphere here can make even Friday Harbor seem hectic by comparison. That said, the clutch of galleries and stores are enough to while away a pleasant couple of hours. Eastsound also has the best ice cream on the archipelago.

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    Day Five - Lopez Island Excursion

    Today, you head over to Lopez Island – the “Friendly Isle.” This 15-mile island is one of the most peaceful and relaxed islands in the San Juan chain.

    Once on Lopez Island, Intermediate riders cycle past driftwood-scattered beaches to Spencer Spit with stunning views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains. After cycling past small farms that produce fruits and vegetables, you get to Shark Reef Sanctuary where seals bask in the sunshine. From here you head back up to Lopez Village.

    Leisure riders follow the Intermediate route but head straight to Lopez Village from Spencer Spit – skipping the loop to Sharks Reef.

    Challenge riders follow all of the Intermediate route but also add in an extra loop to MacKaye Harbor on the southern tip of the island.
    For all routes, the best place for lunch is Lopez Village; beautifully situated at the north end of Fisherman Bay. At the end of the day, you take the ferry back to Friday Harbor

    Lopez Island is the most friendly, peaceful, and relaxed island in the San Juan chain

    Lopez Island Excursion in the San Juan island chain

     

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    20 miles with 1,100 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    25 miles with 1,500 feet

    Challenge
    35 miles with 1,900 feet

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    Friday Harbor

    Friday Harbor is a quaint, well- preserved town with several art galleries, bookshops, and boutiques dotted along its historic streets. There is a whale museum and whale-watching tours. There are also several great places to eat. As you would expect, seafood is a major feature on many menus.

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    Day Six - Shaw Island Excursion - Last Day

    Shaw Island is today’s destination. Shaw is the smallest of the islands serviced by the regular ferries. On Shaw Island you will find sandy beaches, quiet roads and a historic general store – but not much else. And that’s just how the population of 240 likes it.

    One of the few places to visit – other than the beaches and parks – is the Benedictine monastery. The resident nuns farm the land here and welcome visitors. Indeed, nuns operated the store and ferry terminal here until 2004. The island is small and the riding is leisurely.

    Today is also a good day to enjoy sea kayaking or whale-watching or you can simply relax in Friday Harbor – shopping, browsing the galleries or visiting the Whale Museum.

    Your guide will meet you at the end of your tour and transfer you and your luggage to your chosen means of transport for leaving the islands.

    Visit an island with sandy beaches, a monastery, and a population of just 240Shaw Island Excursion, see Benedictine monastery, sandy beaches and more

    RIDE OPTIONS

    Leisure
    15 miles with 900 feet of climbing

    Intermediate
    N/A

    Challenge
    N/A

    OVERNIGHT TOWN

    None

    As this is the last day of your tour, there is no overnight accommodation unless explicitly requested on booking.

    Friday Harbor:

    Discovery Inn

    This small family-owned inn has a friendly staff and a mid-20th century rustic charm. The rooms are clean, pleasant, well-appointed and recently renovated – all with private bathrooms. Most rooms are spacious with the exception of those on the third floor where there are sloping ceilings

    Eastsound:

    Inn at Ship Bay

    This eleven-room inn is set at the top of a bluff with unobstructed views over the water. The Inn is built around the historic 1869 Adam’s orchard farmhouse. All rooms have views, are nicely furnished and well maintained. The staff are extremely knowledgeable and friendly.

    San Juan Island budget hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in our Budget category are typically simpler B&Bs and more modest inns or hotels. However, all the properties are well-kept with en suite facilities.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    The Discovery Inn is on the outskirts of town; less than a mile from the town center and the ferry.
    The Inn at Ship Bay is 1 mile from Eastsound but has a good restaurant on site (closed Sunday & Monday).

    Friday Harbor:

    Tucker House
    Stay as the guests of Anna and David in this luxury inn. Just a block from the bustling downtown, this charming inn consists of a cluster of buildings centered around two charming Victorians. Rooms are romantic and tastefully decorated while breakfast is a three-course feast with some ingredients flown in on the owner’s plane!

    Eastsound:

    Outlook Inn

    One of the original buildings in Eastsound – built in 1888 – this classic hotel sits in the center of town commanding superb views across the bay. There are a range of tastefully renovated rooms on the property. We typically book rooms with views and private bathrooms. The hotel’s restaurant – the New Leaf Café – is one of the best in town.

    Friday Harbor – Upgrade:

    Friday Harbor House 

    A modern boutique hotel right on the waterfront. Most rooms have balconies and fireplaces and many have water views. While the hotel has its own restaurant it is also within easy strolling distance of the town’s other dining options. There is no spa but an in-room massage can be arranged.

    San Juan Islands classic hotel features

    ACCOMMODATION NOTES

    Properties in the Classic category are typically smaller hotels or luxurious B&Bs with very personal service sometimes including wine tasting or evening hors d’oeuvres.

    Mix & Match
    You can choose accommodation in different categories in different towns. Please ask for prices.

    Tips & Notes
    The Outlook Inn only serves breakfast Thursday through Monday. When not available, we provide vouchers for breakfast elsewhere in town.
    The New Leaf Restaurant is typically open Thursday through Monday.

    A hotel upgrade is available in Friday Harbor to the Friday Harbor House Hotel for $220 per room per night.

    BIKE CHOICES

    Hybrids bikes, a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike

    Hybrids bikes are a cross between a mountain bike and a road bike. They have a relaxed riding position and are great for beginners and intermediate riders. A typical model is the Trek 7.3 FX with Shimano components and high-pressure road tires for better cycling efficiency than your typical hybrid.

    Road bikes, a racing style bike with drop handlebars

    Our road bikes are a racing style bike with drop handlebars. The road bikes are faster bikes than the hybrids with less upright riding position. A typical model is the Émonda ALR 5 with aluminum frame, carbon forks, and Shimano 105 components. (NOTE: Some of the smaller roads in Puglia can be a little rough making a hybrid bikes a better choice for some riders.)

    eBikes, designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills

    Our eBikes are designed to give you a little extra assistance when climbing hills. The ride position is very similar to our hybrids. We typically rent Scott E-Sub equipped with a 250W E-drive Bosch motor. If one rider in a couple is stronger than the other, an eBike can be a great choice for the less-strong rider.

    Your Own Bike, if you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there

    If you have a favorite bike, we can help you get it to your destination as well as set it up once it is there. Please ask about options for bike shipping and assembly.

    group of cyclists

    OPTIONAL EXTRAS

    Receiving & Assembly
    per bike charge to receive bike from shipper, assemble the bike and repack it and deliver it to a shipper at the end of the tour.

    Bike Boxes 
    a per box charge for the extra logistics needed to handle bike boxes during a tour. Note: this fee can be avoided if you leave your box with your start/end hotel.

    Tandem Bike 
    a per bike fee for the extra logistics to handle a tandem bike that is brought by a guest.

    LIFECYCLE ADVENTURES LOCAL CYCLING GUIDES

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