Washington San Juan Islands - Inn to Inn

Trip Dates:
Sep 06, 2014 -- Sep 13, 2014
Anacortes, WA
Booking Status:
Additional Departures:
Sep 13, 2014 - Sep 20, 2014

This weeklong inn-to-inn tour weaves along the glorious northwestern coastline of Washington’s Puget Sound and through its famous San Juan Islands, offering an irresistible combination of manageable daily mileages and world-class scenery. Since we’ll leave our camping and cooking gear at home, it’s the perfect tour for cyclists who enjoy bicycling self contained but prefer sleeping in a bed rather than on the ground.

On this tour, we’ll spend our days leisurely pedaling the waterfront or spinning inland through fertile farms and rocky shores. We’ll cycle through many small scenic villages and towns full of interesting shops and top-notch seafood restaurants. On many days, our cycling will be broken up by ferry rides, on which you might glimpse Orca whales, seals, or bald eagles!

Grab your bike, camera, and sense of adventure — you’re in for a week of Pacific Northwest bicycling that you’ll never forget!

Start Date: Sep 06, 2014 End Date: Sep 13, 2014
Start Location: Anacortes, WA End Location: Anacortes, WA
Total Days: 8 Riding Days: 7
Rest Days: 1 Miles: 203
Average Daily Mileage: 29.0 Surface: Paved
Riders: 13 Airport: Sea-Tac (SEA)
Tour Leader: Joyce Casey Meals: Indoor Dining
Accommodations: Indoor (Inn to Inn) Type: Self Contained
Physical Difficulty: Intermediate Level of Support: Inn to Inn
Cost: $2,119.00

Day 1

Anacortes. Our group will assemble in the evening in the town of Anacortes, gateway to the San Juan Islands. In fact, our trailhead lodging is located right next to the Washington State Ferry terminal, which is the hub of most water travel in this area. Nearby, we’ll enjoy dinner together and have our first map meeting, before socializing a bit and resting up for our week of adventure.

Day 2

Anacortes to Port Townsend, 41 miles. Today’s ride is an island-hopping excursion on part of Adventure Cycling’s Pacific Coast Bicycle Route. After leaving Anacortes and Fidalgo Island, we’ll travel to Whidbey Island by way of the very high bridge spanning Deception Pass, from which we’ll look down on the swirling tidal flows in the narrow passage below. We’ll ride briefly through Deception Pass State Park and around the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station, followed by a lovely spin along the western shoreline of the island. Next, our route takes us along the shore of Penn Cove (famous for its mussels) to Coupeville, a picturesque small town that will surely tempt us to linger for some sightseeing and lunch. A short ride later brings us to the ferry terminal at Keystone for the 35-minute ferry ride to Port Townsend, a seafaring community noted for its gracious Victorian architecture, the Wooden Boat Foundation at the Northwest Maritime Center, and the ridiculously delicious confections at Pane d’Amore Artisan Bakery.

Day 3

Port Townsend to Friday Harbor, 18 miles. First thing in the morning, we’ll load ourselves and our bikes onto one of the Puget Sound Express boats for a 3-hour whale-watching cruise to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Upon arrival at Friday Harbor, the “capital city” of the islands, we’ll have lunch, drop our bags, and set out for a loop trip around the northern half of the island. We’ll pass through the “English Camp” section of the San Juan Island National Historical Park, and also visit the famous Roche Harbor Resort at the northern tip of the island. The final leg of the day’s ride will take us to the Lakedale Resort, where we’ll spend the next two nights in true comfort.

Day 4

Loop ride around southern San Juan Island, 38 miles. Today’s journey will lead us along pastoral country lanes and the western coastal road of San Juan Island. We’ll visit the “American Camp” section of the San Juan Island National Historical Park and the Cattle Point Lighthouse at the island’s southern tip. Continuing our loop, we’ll arrive back in Friday Harbor for some lunch and sightseeing before returning to the Lakedale Resort.

Day 5

San Juan Island to Olga, Orcas Island, 26 riding miles. After a quick 5-mile zip into Friday Harbor,, we’ll board the morning ferry for the short boat ride to nearby Orcas Island. We will ride across the entire arc of this horseshoe-shaped island, from the ferry landing at the southwest tip to the little village of Olga on the southeast tip. Along the way, we’ll ride past inland farms and shellfish farms on the shore. We’ll pass through the island’s main town, Eastsound, around lunchtime, and then spin through Moran State Park and past its freshwater lake. Our destination, situated at the far end of the island, is Bayside Cottages in the village of Olga, where we’ll spend the next two evenings.

Day 6

Olga to West Beach or Deer Harbor, Orcas Island, 32 miles. Today is a relatively big day for this relaxed trip, in terms of both the miles ridden and vertical feet gained. This trip’s most notable climb occurs early in the day: the 4.5-mile, 2,300-foot climb to the top of Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park. The magnificent views from the summit and the thrilling descent back down the biggest mountain in the San Juans will make this signature part of the tour worth the effort. Once at sea level, we’ll pass again through Eastsound on our way to the western arm of the island. We’ll also enjoy a stop at the famous Orcas Island Pottery Studio as we work our way down the western shoreline and the Crow Valley.

Day 7

Orcas Island to Lopez Island, 43 miles. On our final day of cycling, we’ll start with a 7-mile ride to the ferry landing, hopping aboard for the short ride to Lopez Island. Our counter-clockwise loop around Lopez starts down the west side of the island, where we’ll quickly enter Lopez Village, location of the island’s only grocery, eateries, and other stores. After departing the village, we’ll ride through a pleasing mix of farmland and shoreline terrain. On the southwest corner of Lopez, we might stop at Shark Reef Sanctuary and hike to the shore, which is a prime location for viewing grey whales and orcas. At the southernmost point of the island, Agate Beach County Park offers beautiful picnicking and beachcombing for the variegated round rocks and pebbles that have been worn by the constant action of the ocean waves. We’ll then ride up the eastern side of Lopez to Spencer Spit State Park and back to Lopez Village, where we’ll spend our final evening afield at the Lopez Islander Resort. We’ll also celebrate with a sumptuous farewell dinner at the heralded Bay Café.

Day 8

Lopez Island to Anacortes, 5 miles. We’ll begin our final day with a quick 5-mile ride to the ferry landing at the northern tip of Lopez Island, where we’ll board the ferry for the ride back to the terminal in Anacortes. Although this leg of the journey ends where we set out a week ago, the friendships forged and the memories we’ve made will leave us feeling fresh and renewed!

This is a new tour, or one we have not offered in awhile. Sign up and be one of the first cyclists to contribute to this testimonials page! For now read what past tour participants have said about some of our other trips.

"The trip was a wonderful experience. The tour leaders were excellent and we had a fantastic group of riders. I am looking forward to taking more trips with Adventure Cycling Association."

2008 Tour Participant

"A fantastic and challenging tour. Our leader was the best I could imagine. The mechanic had the right bolt at the right time and saved my trip. Beautiful scenery."

2008 Tour Participant

"As always, extremely pleased with the total experience."

2012 Tour Participant

"It was great to meet people from different places and experiences who are all drawn to touring. Having that common thread put us all at ease right away."

2012 Tour Participant

Photo by Mark Gardner