Exploring British Columbia and the San Juan Islands

  • Trip Type: Expedition Cruise
  • 8 Days | Seattle to Vancouver
  • Group Size: Max 62

Expedition Details


The western seaboard of North America is an unspoiled labyrinth of tiny islands, spectacular fiords, and abundant wildlife. Trace the coast from Seattle to British Columbia on our newest expedition ship, the state-of-the-art National Geographic Sea Bird. Explore hidden coves and stunning archipelagos by kayak and Zodiac, and venture ashore to hike through misty forests. As we voyage from the lush San Juan Islands to the Gulf Islands to Vancouver, spot orcas, sea lions, and bald eagles; visit picturesque coastal towns; and learn about the native cultures that call this region home.

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the coastal wilderness of British Columbia and the most remote of the San Juan Islands aboard the National Geographic Sea Bird.
  • Spend a day exploring the city of Victoria, and attend a private reception at acclaimed natural history artist Robert Bateman’s museum.
  • Examine the behavior of orcas at close range, using underwater exploration tools like a video camera and hydrophone.
  • Glide into the secluded fjords and inlets of Desolation Sound while exploring by kayak, stand-up paddleboard, or Zodiac.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 — Seattle, Washington

Arrive in Seattle and embark the National Geographic Sea Bird.

Day 2 — Exploring the San Juan Islands

Spend the day exploring the more remote San Juan Islands, an emerald-green archipelago off the coast of Washington that is ideal for kayaking, hiking, and exploring by Zodiac. Search for seals, sea lions, and sea otters in rocky inlets, and spot bald eagles while walking through dense forests.

Day 3 — Friday Harbor

Explore Friday harbor, a picturesque town on San Juan Island. Visit the Whale Museum, with its fascinating collection of artifacts, artwork, and whale skeletons. Stop in at small shops and galleries. Later, we’ll search for killer whales on our way to British Columbia.

Day 4 — Victoria, British Columbia

Arrive in charming Victoria, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. Choose from several activities as we explore British Columbia’s capital city. Visit private gardens, bike along the waterfront, take a stroll through historic neighborhoods, or peruse local art galleries. In the evening, enjoy a private reception at the Robert Bateman Centre while learning about the work of one of Canada’s best-known artists.

Day 5 — Exploring the Gulf Islands

Wake up this morning among the Gulf Islands, a forested archipelago in the Strait of Georgia. We’ll take our pick of perfect spots to kayak, hike, and search for wildlife.

Day 6 — Johnstone Strait/Alert Bay

Sail through Johnstone Strait, one of the foremost viewing areas for orcas in the northern hemisphere. In the village of Alert Bay, visit the U’Mista Cultural Centre and watch a traditional performance by the Kwakwaka’wakw people to learn about their ancient culture.

Day 7 — Desolation Sound

Desolation Sound is a network of sheltered fjords and inlets on the north end of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast. Explore evergreen-shrouded shores by kayak or go hiking through forests and meadows. Tonight, enjoy the Captain’s farewell dinner.

Day 8 — Vancouver

Arrive in Vancouver, British Columbia’s largest city. Set amid a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, this coastal metropolis is enveloped by natural beauty. Disembark our ship after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your flight home.

Related Trips

Special Offer

Airfare Credit

Book the October 13 or 20, 2018 departures and receive a $500 airfare credit.

Offer is valid for new bookings only and subject to availability. Please call for details.

National Geographic Expert

Phil Schermeister

Phil SchermeisterDuring the past 25 years, Phil Schermeister completed more than 40 major assignments for the National Geographic Book Division, National Geographic magazine and other National Geographic publications. He has photographed on assignment in more than 40 National Parks around the United States and has published six single-photographer books with National Geographic, including Range of Light, Our National Parks and America's Western Edge. Some of his other assignments have included coverage of Quechua Indians in the Andes of Peru, Tarahumara Indians in Mexico’s Copper Canyon and Native Americans across the Western United States. Phil has photographed all types of natural landscapes from National Parks, Seashores, and Recreation Areas to Wild and Scenic Rivers and National Wildlife Refuges. In his search for “decisive moments” in nature, Phil seeks to find drama in the changing light and seasons as the forces of nature continue to sculpt an unfinished natural landscape.

Phil will join the following departure:

Sep 15 - 22, 2018


Lindblad/National Geographic Logo

This trip is offered in association with Lindblad Expeditions.


  • Sep 15 - 22, 2018
  • Sep 22 - 29, 2018 REV
  • Sep 29 - Oct 06, 2018
  • Oct 06 - 13, 2018 REV
  • Oct 13 - 20, 2018
  • Oct 20 - 27, 2018 REV

REV Indicates trip operates in reverse.

Expedition Cost

Sea Bird
Category 1 $4,690
Category 2 $5,390
Category 3 $6,690

Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single cabin, add $2,350 to Category 1 and $2,700 to Category 2.

Airfare to Seattle and return from Vancouver, or vice versa, is not included in the expedition cost.

View Ship/Deck Plan

Activity Level

Light or Moderate

Travelers can choose between a light or moderate activity level. For a light level of activity, they should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives on bumpy roads, or easy hikes.

For a moderate level, travelers should be prepared for multiple hours of physical activity (e.g. hiking, kayaking, biking) each day.

Click here for a description of all activity levels.