San Juan Island & Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

April 16 – 23, 2023 • 8 Days • $2875

Washington’s Skagit Valley has the largest tulip farms on the continent and one the largest tulip bulb producers in the world!

But tulips are a relatively small part of this Washington highlights Adventure. Our tulip experience is sandwiched between lovely Leavenworth, a delightful Bavarian-themed village on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains, and the islands of the Puget Sound, cruising to the natural wonderland of San Juan Island then delightful Whidbey Island. April offers a cornucopia of color in the Pacific Northwest, and no place is more colorful in April than the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley!

Join us for this multi-faceted odyssey across Puget Sound and through Western Washington’s colorful April highlights!

Tour Type: Classic Curated

Bordered by Canada on the north and the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound on the west, Washington State is a blessed corner of the Pacific Northwest!

The Cascade Range runs north and south, ancient volcanic mountains producing snow-mantled behemoths like Rainier, Baker, and the bad boy of the Cascades, Mount St. Helens.

Vast Puget Sound is a geological phenomenon nestled between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula! A complex inlet of the Pacific Ocean and part of the Salish Sea, Puget Sound harbors 35 islands, including the San Juans, once rated by TripAdvisor as one of the best island destinations in the world!

North of Seattle, the Skagit Valley boasts the largest tulip fields in North America, a kaleidoscope of color in April!

One of our newest Adventures strings together a splendid series of these delightful only-in-Washington experiences:

  • plunging waterfalls in the Cascades,
  • delightful, Bavarian-themed Leavenworth,
  • two nights in charming Friday Harbor on San Juan Island,
  • a couple days of exquisite nature walks on San Juan Island and enchanting Whidbey Island, and of course,
  • the incomparable colors of the tulip fields of the Skagit Valley during the April Tulip Festival.

Join us for the second edition of San Juan Island & Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Adventure!

What’s Included

  • All land travel by motorcoach as outlined
  • Tourist class or better hotel accommodations
  • All breakfasts
  • 5 walk routes as listed
  • Walking fees for 5 walks for those collecting AVA walk credit (if AVA sanctions approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy. A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $575. We also provide a roommate matching service.

Visits to/Admission fees

  • Snoqaulmie Falls
  • Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth
  • Deception Falls
  • Entrance to two of our country’s most beautiful tulip farms – Tulip Town and Roozengarde Tulip Farm
  • San Juan Islands ferry
  • Pelindaba Lavender Farm
  • San Juan National Historic Park
  • Lime Kiln State Park
  • San Juan County Museum
  • Deception Pass State Park
  • Ebey’s Landing National Historic Park
  • Fort Casey State Park
  • Whidbey Island Ferry
  • More fun and educational stops than we can list!

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

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Important Info

Group

Maximum 24 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Tourist Class accommodations or better

Transportation

Included. We use motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 40-55 seats.

Airfare

Not included. Travelers will fly into and out of Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA).

Meals

All breakfasts. When possible, optional group meals may be offered.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Scott with daughters

Scott Isom

Scott has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family.

Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners.

After all these years of worldwide wandering, Scott still loves returning to the great state of Washington after every tour because of its incredible beauty and diversity. He is super-eager to show off his home turf this Spring and tiptoe through the tulips with a happy group of walkers!

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. B refers to meals included ~ Breakfast.

Day 1-April 16: Arrive Kent, Washington

Travelers arrive today into Kent, Washington. Our starting hotel is conveniently located in the Kent Valley near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and nestled along a peaceful golf course in close proximity to the Green River Trail should you decide to do some strolling before our Welcome Orientation this evening at the hotel.

Day 2-April 17: Kent - Leavenworth (B)

Leavenworth Bavarian Village Walk – 5 or 10 km, rated 2B

We leave Kent to transit through the Cascade Mountains stopping on the western slopes for a visit to mighty Snoqualmie Falls. On the eastern slopes, we take a break in the fun little town of Cle Elum at Owens Meats, one of Washington’s oldest businesses boasting the best beef jerky ever! Tucked away in the Stuart Range and Wenatchee Mountains is the Bavarian-themed village of Leavenworth.

Time for lunch here is followed by the local club walk featuring the ambiance of Leavenworth with scenic mountain views and lovely trails along Wenatchee River and on Blackbird Island.

A Bavarian dinner is a good choice this evening and we’ll be looking for the possibility of evening musical events as well as local wine tasting options at a few wineries in town.

Day 3-April 18: Leavenworth - Mount Vernon (B)

Mount Vernon Tulip Town Walk – 6 to 10 km, rated 1 A

Our journey takes us back across the Cascades this morning, stopping for another waterfall wonder at Deception Falls. Espresso Chalet is a fun and quirky coffee joint where “Harry and the Hendersons” was filled and the Bigfoot theme remains alive and well.

Mount Vernon is our destination, and the Big Scoop Sundae Palace is a fitting place to celebrate lunch and ice cream before a local afternoon walk. Today’s route offers a combination of historic downtown, Skagit River, parks, and the Tulip Town Farm, which in an of itself is the main event of the day. Tulip Town grabbed a spot on the list of 7 “most beautiful” tulip farms in America according to Country Living magazine.

Day 4-April 19: Mount Vernon - Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands (B)

The morning highlight is a visit to another tulip farm on Country Living’s list, Roozengarde Tulip Farm. With over 1000 acres of tulips, it’s one of the largest of its kind on the planet!

This afternoon, we board the ferry from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands, docking in Friday Harbor for a two-night stay. The afternoon and evening are free to wander the delightful shops and waterfront views. Everything is within walking distance of our hotel in this coastal fishing village dotted with picturesque old wood frame homes and historic storefronts.

We’ll be looking for opportunities throughout the trip to offer no-host dinners, where we make the booking but everyone is free to order off the menu and pay individually.

Though we have no official walk today, there will be plenty of unofficial tiptoeing through the tulips at Roozengarde in the morning and exploring Friday Harbor in the afternoon.

Day 5-April 20: Activities from Friday Harbor (B)

Splendid San Juan Island Walk – 10 km, rated 2B

We devote the full day to enjoying the natural beauty and history of San Juan Island, rated recently by Trip Advisor as one of the best island destinations in the world. This three-part walk takes in the gorgeous scenery and history of San Juan Island, starting with a 4.5 km walk at American Camp (site of the mid-1800s Pig War) with jaw-dropping Salish Sea views, historical buildings, sweeping grasslands, and driftwood beaches.

The second walk is 3.5 km at English Camp (also part of the Pig War), featuring Garrison Bay, Officer’s Hill, a formal English Garden, and forested loop around Bell Point.

The final 1 km walk is at Lime Kiln Point State Park, featuring potential wildlife sightings (orcas, seals, eagles) along the rocky shore, views of distant Vancouver Island in Canada, and a picturesque lighthouse.

Day 6-April 21: Friday Harbor - Oak Harbor (B)

Dazzling Deception Pass Walk – 6 or 10 km, rated 2C

Local museums can be an enchanting way to connect with story of a place. We visit the San Juan Historical Museum this morning to gain new perspectives on the San Juans before taking the late morning ferry back to Anacortes.

Driving south, a Whidbey Island gem awaits us this afternoon at Deception Pass State Park, considered one of the better walking locations in the Pacific Northwest. Deception Pass features a couple of different trails on both the Fidalgo Island and Whidbey Island side of this most visited state park in Washington. Highlights include picturesque headlands, diverse coastal forests, Salish Sea views, hidden beaches, the historic Deception Pass Bridge, and potential wildlife sightings.

Another fun optional, no-host dinner this evening is Seabolt’s Smokehouse, renowned for their mussels and other seafood.

Day 7-April 22: Oak Harbor - Kent (B)

Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve Walk – 3/7 km, 2B/2C
Fort Casey “Triangle of Fire” Walk – 3km, 2C

Our morning begins with one of the best day hikes in Washington State at Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. This is a stunning landscape with rich farmland and a promising Puget Sound seaport that lured some of the earliest American pioneers north of the Columbia River. An outstanding bluff trail leads to spectacular lagoon views and walking along driftwood-strewn shores with views of both Mt. Baker (to the east) and Olympic National Park (to the west) on a clear day. Bald eagles soaring here are a common sight!

We stop in charming and historic Coupeville for a lunch break and free time before continuing south to Fort Casey Sate Park. In the late 1890s a coastal defense system (The Triangle of Fire) was created along the Juan de Fuca Strait and Admiralty Inlet with the aim of defending the Puget Sound region from enemy invaders. We visit one point of that triangle this afternoon at Fort Casey marveling at sweeping seaside views and the Admiralty Head Lighthouse, with opportunity to explore massive gun batteries scattered amongst high bluff views. If the weather is clear, you may be able to see the other two points of the triangle across the inlet at Fort Worden and Fort Flagler.

The Mukilteo Ferry offers one more scenic experience on the Puget Sound, depositing us on the mainland for a final drive to our last hotel in Kent. You’re invited to join us for an optional, no-host dinner tonight at a fun local eatery next to our hotel for camaraderie and reminiscing about our Spring-time Adventure in Washington State!

Day 8-April 23: Depart from Kent (B)

Our Skagit Valley Tulip Festival & San Juan Islands Walking Adventure draws to a close this morning with breakfast at our hotel.  The glorious colors of Spring in the Pacific Northwest can’t get any brighter when tulip fields are included!

We hope you enjoyed these highlights and hidden gems of our country’s 42nd state and return home filled with fond memories to share with the ones you love. Thanks for experiencing this walking wonderland with us!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How Do I Lock in My Place on this Adventure?

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable once paid. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

What's a Classic Curated Tour?

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When planning Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

Walk Ratings

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please contact our office at [email protected].

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

Tour Accommodations

Good quality, tourist-class accommodations are the standard for our Adventure. Most accommodations on this tour are selected primarily as a practical base from which to pursue our itinerary.  Many, but not all, of our accommodations on this adventure are either single-floor or two-floors with elevators. Travelers should be able to carry their luggage up a number of steps to get to a second-floor room if necessary.

How Is Airfare Arranged?

The tour starts and finishes in Kent, Washington. The most logical airport to use is Sea-Tac International Airport (SEA), about a 15-minute taxi ride from our hotel in Kent.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided by email after you register for the Adventure.

Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. This is now especially true in the era of COVID-19, which is typically treated like any other illness for travel insurance purposes. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. are travel agents who provide air travel and insurance services to many WAI travelers.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance. (NOTE: WAI receives no commission or financial remuneration from World Travel Inc.).

Travel plans that are interrupted by a positive COVID-19 diagnosis should qualify for insurance under the “trip delay” or “trip interruption” coverage of most policies. A doctor’s certification of the diagnosis will be required. There are three primary aspects to this coverage: 1) coverage of any lost portion of the tour price on a pro-rata basis, 2) coverage of any expense incurred as a result of medical treatment, and 3) coverage of expense incurred as a result of meals and lodging during recovery or quarantine. As you purchase your insurance, we suggest that you verify that these losses are covered by your policy and the level of coverage.

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

What if WAI Cancels this Tour?

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 12 participants, in which case registered participants would receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

COVID-19 Policies For This Tour

WAI has relaxed our policies and currently require no mitigation procedures (current WAI Coronavirus Policy). However, Walking Adventures International policy includes endeavoring to comply with any COVID-19 policies in place in the destinations through which we travel.

We are not currently aware of any COVID-19 policies or restrictions that will impact this tour in Washington.

Requirements and restrictions have been fluid. WAI will update travelers upon learning of any changes.

Travelers participating in the San Juan Island & Skagit Valley Tulip Festival tour must agree to abide by policies in place at the time of travel.

What Happens Next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome email and initial invoice notifying you of your tour balance and due date. All payments for the tour or optional services/excursions can now be made online.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (January 16, 2023) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

Around 2-3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

Take a few minutes to peruse the San Juan Island & Skagit Valley Tulip Festival itinerary. We are eager to share the delights of the Pacific Northwest in Springtime with you!