Itinerary at a glance
Fresh off the ferry in Friday Harbor (2 nights), we take an afternoon walk through the meadows of San Juan Island with views of the Cascades and Mt. Rainier. This is prime Orca whale territory and we meet these spectacular mammals the best way: eye-to-eye in our easily maneuverable sea kayaks (or excursion boat if you prefer).
We bid farewell to the San Juan Islands in favor of Vancouver Island, which lies just across the Strait of Juan de Fuca. A local friend leads us on a fascinating architectural walking tour of Victoria (1 night) before a visit to world-famous Butchart Gardens, 50 acres of lush plantings that flourish in the region’s mild “banana belt” climate. If you prefer some time on your own, wander the beautiful waterfront of Victoria and perhaps even pay a visit to the renowned native art collection in the Royal British Columbian Museum.
The next day we journey to Tofino (2 nights) on Vancouver Island’s rugged western coast. We’ll walk in one of the world’s largest intact rain forests with 500-year-old Sitka spruce, soak in natural hot springs, go gallery-hopping, and join a local friend (an accomplished naturalist and acclaimned photographer) for some beach combing along the wildlife-rich shores near our beautiful lodge before returning to Victoria where the tour ends.