San Juan Islands Seaplane & Hiking Adventure Tour

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From $699 | Guest

Book Private Tour

Free Cancellation: Up to 7 Days in advance.

6.5 Hours
9:00am-3:30pm
4 Guests Max ? 1.5 Hour Flight Gourmet Lunch Included

Tour Overview

On this full-day air and land adventure, soar over Seattle and Puget Sound in a private seaplane to the wild outer San Juan Islands.  Landing at an isolated beach, your guide will take you to explore the island’s rugged coastline and forests.  Enjoy a delicious picnic and drinks before flying back to Seattle for flyby of the waterfront and the Space Needle.  

Tour Highlights

  • Escape to wild outer San Juan Islands on a 1.5 hours round-trip seaplane flight.
  • Land at a beach and explore the island on a guided naturalist hike.
  • Indulge in a delicious chef-prepared picnic lunch amidst the island’s beauty.
  • Fly by the Seattle waterfront, Lake Union, and the Space Needle.
  • Round-trip private transport from anywhere in Seattle to seaplane base.

Join exclusive seaplane and island hiking experience only offered by Nature Nuts Travel.

Itinerary Details

Flight to the San Juan Islands

Your guide will pick you up anywhere in Seattle and drive you approximately 20 minutes to our designated seaplane base at South Lake Washington.  Climb aboard a Cessna 185 or deHavilland Beaver seaplane and take off from the lake’s calm waters, flying over waterfront estates belonging to Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates

Cruising at just 800 ft., Seattle’s waterfront quickly gives way to Puget Sound’s rugged coastline, with hundreds of forested islands below you and glacier-capped peaks that fringe the horizon.  As we fly over Puget Sound, learn about the history and culture of the places we fly over.  Keep your eyes on the water below.  We’ve spotted pods of orcas and grey whales from the air!  After about 50-minutes in the air, you’ll land in an isolated lagoon, and the seaplane will taxi to the beach where you’ll get out to explore the island. 

Island Hiking Excursion

Your guide will lead you on a 1-1.5-hour excursion over forested trails, along wild beaches above rugged cliffs that ring the island.  During the hike, you’ll learn about the area’s natural history and your guide will show you the best photo spots.  As we go, we’ll keep an eye out for wildlife.  We frequently spot bald eagles, harbor seals, sea lions, and harbor porpoises.  

Delicious Picnic

After the hike, your guide will treat you to a chef-prepared picnic lunch with a selection of beverages amidst the island’s natural splendor.  

Return to Seattle

After boarding the seaplane, you’ll fly south for about 50-minutes back to Seattle.  On clear days, Mt. Rainier makes a magnificent backdrop, towering above the cluster of skyscrapers in downtown Seattle.  Cruising past the waterfront and the Space Needle, you’ll make a soft landing on Lake Washington.  Once back on dry land, your guide will drive you about 20-minutes back into Seattle to drop you off at any location of your choosing.

depending on traffic and on the pace of the group.  Once in Seattle, your guide will drop you off at your pick-up location or any preferred spot in downtown Seattle.

What’s Included

  • 1.5 hours round-trip flight in de Havilland Beaver seaplane
  • Chef-prepared picnic lunch with mixed beverages
  • Pilot and naturalist guide
  • Round-trip transfers to Seattle hotels or cruise terminal
  • Use of adjustable trekking poles and binoculars for wildlife spotting
  • Marine conservation fees

Not Included

Gratuity (not required but always appreciated for good service—typically 15-20% of your tour price)

Departure & Return

We pick up from all hotels, AirBnB’s, and vacation rentals in downtown Seattle and on the East Side in the Bellevue area.  Once you make a booking, we will contact you to confirm your specific pick-up time and location.  Each day, tour departure times may vary slightly depending on the tide schedule.  Pick-up is also available from Seattle’s cruise terminals at Pier 66 and Pier 91.

After your tour, your guide will drive you back to your original pick-up location or any other location in the Seattle area.

Know Before You Go

  • This tour includes a modest amount of hiking on marked trails, but over uneven surfaces as well as up and down hill.  The length of our hike is up to 2 miles in length.  While there is no significant elevation gain/loss, during the course of the hike, guests should feel comfortable walking at a moderate pace over uneven ground with very short steep sections.  Guests who would like a less physically active tour are easily accommodated, just let us know what your interests are..
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible.
  • This tour is dependent on fair weather and calm sea conditions.  We place safety over all other considerations, so we will not operate this tour if potentially unsafe flying conditions present themselves.  If we anticipate poor weather on your day of travel, we will notify you as early as possible to try and avoid a last-minute cancellation.  You will be given the option to reschedule to another date if possible or select another tour on the same date if one is available.  If another date or tour is not possible, you will receive a full refund. 
  • As weather changes frequently and sometimes unpredictably in the Pacific Northwest, we cannot guarantee that this tour will not be canceled on the day of your tour.  We do our best to avoid same-day cancellations because it’s a bad experience for you and it costs us money.  Despite these two factors, we never compromise on safety.  Same-day cancellations due to weather are very infrequent, but they typically do happen a couple of times per year.

Private Tours

This tour is only offered as a private tour due to the very small group size.  We can accommodate groups larger than 4 using multiple seaplanes.  If your group is larger than 4, by all means, get in touch with us and we’ll put together custom pricing for you.  

Private groups will get door-to-door transportation service anywhere in the greater Seattle metro area including the cruise terminals, Bellevue and private residences.

Private groups may also request a modified tour departure or return time (tides, weather and seaplane availability permitting) and make special requests for the tour route and level of physical activity.  Contact us today and we’d be happy to put together a customized proposal if you require one. 

If your group is larger than 4, please contact us to discuss the best option and customized pricing for your group.

Cancellation Policy

Private Group Reservations

  • 7+ days prior to your tour date: you may make changes to your date, without penalty, subject to availability. 

Less than 7 days prior to your tour date: the full amount of your tour is non-refundable. Tour date changes can be made, subject to availability, but will incur a $50 change fee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where will we fly?

Your seaplane flight route begins at the southern end of Lake Washington.  You’ll fly over waterfront estates belonging to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.  Banking West, you’ll fly over the University of Washington and the Ballard Locks with Lake Union to the South.  Cruising at just 1,000 ft., Seattle’s waterfront quickly gives way to Puget Sound’s rugged coastline, with hundreds of forested islands below you and glacier-capped peaks that fringe the horizon. Only accessible by seaplane or private yacht, land in a sheltered cove on one of the outer San Juan Islands.  On the return flight, we’ll follow a different course over Puget Sound and make a close flyby of the Seattle Waterfront, the stadiums and the Space Needle before coming in for a soft landing on Lake Washington.

Flight times are general estimates and may vary based on a number of factors. The plotted route indicated on the map is a general representation. Your actual route of travel may vary. Your pilot and air traffic control has the ultimate discretion to select the most suitable route of travel on the day of your tour based on weather, visibility and other factors.

How long will we fly for?

Total flight duration depends on wind, weather and the day’s specific island destination.  Usually flights last 45-minutes in each direction for a total of 1.5 hours total flight time

Which hotels do you pick up from?

We pick up from all hotels, AirBnB’s, and vacation rentals in downtown Seattle and on the East Side in the Bellevue area.  Once you make a booking, we will contact you to confirm your specific pick-up time location.  Each day, tour departure times may vary slightly depending on aircraft availability and on the tide schedule.

We’ll be on a cruise ship at Pier 66 or Pier 91.  Do you pick up private groups from the cruise terminals?

Yes, that’s no problem!  We pick up groups from the cruise terminals all the time and it’s very easy to accommodate.  Once you make a booking, we’ll discuss your group’s pick up logistics with you. 

My group is staying in Bellevue or somewhere else on the East Side, can you pick us up here? 

Yes, that’s no problem!  If you’re staying in an area such as Bellevue, your group’s individual pick up time may vary slightly from our regular schedule in downtown Seattle.  When making a booking, be sure to let us know where your group would like to be picked up and we’ll discuss your group’s customized schedule.

Someone in my group has an allergy / is a vegan / a vegetarian; will you have lunch for that person?

Yes, we will happily accommodate dietary requirements with a personalized meal selection.  In order for us to arrange this for you, however, please notify us of your request no less than 72 hours before your tour.  If there is less than 72 hours before the tour, we will do our best to accommodate you, but if we can’t, we will let you know at the time of booking. 

What will the weather be like?

Weather out on the islands changes very quickly and is variable throughout the year.  If the sun is out and we are walking, it can quickly get warm and a t-shirt is comfortable.  If the sun goes behind a cloud and the wind picks up, it can get very chilly.  Winter (November-March) may be in the high 30s to high 40s.  Spring (April-June) and Fall (September-October) temperatures are often in the 50s-60s but can be as high as the 70s or as low as the 40s on certain days.  Summer temperatures (July-August) are generally warm in the 70s-80s, but daily temperature fluctuation is common with early mornings in the 50s and late afternoons warming up to the high 70s to low 80s during a heat wave.  If we are expecting unseasonably warm or cool temperatures, we will reach out to you via phone or e-mail about two days prior to your tour.  While the San Juan Islands receive substantially less rainfall each year than Seattle, it may rain any time of year.  April through September is the driest time of year.   

What should I wear?

At a minimum, we recommend preparing 3 layers:

  • a quick drying t-shirt
  • an insulating layer (wool sweater, hoodie, etc.)
  • a waterproof layer (wind breaker, soft shell jacket to keep wind and moisture away from your skin) 

Guests on winter, early and late season tours (between November and May) are advised to bring an additional insulating layer.  During cooler weather, a generally good rule of thumb is to bring one more layer than you think is necessary.

What shoes are appropriate?

While we won’t be doing any intense hikes, please wear shoes that are comfortable to walk over uneven ground on and provide ankle support.  Many people find that sneakers are adequate, but a sturdy sole with good traction is essential.  Please note that your feet may get wet when exiting the seaplane. 

How much walking will we do? 

This tour includes a 1-hour easy to moderate hike after the plane reaches the island.  Up to 2 miles in length, hiking takes place over the beach, rocks, and on marked trails.  While there is no significant elevation gain/loss during the course of the hike, guests should feel comfortable walking at a moderate pace over uneven ground with short steeper sections.  The ground or rocks may be slippery.  For guests who do not feel physically able to complete the hike will have the option to remain on the beach to enjoy the scenery and surroundings.  Your guide will discuss your level of physical fitness and desired level of physical activity with you after your booking is received.  

Will we see any wildlife?

Wildlife is, by definition, “wild,” and is on its own schedule beyond our control.  That said, most of our wildlife sightings are marine mammals and marine birds.  Marine mammals we commonly spot are seals, sea lions, otters, and harbor porpoises.  On occasion, we have even spotted gray whales and orcas in Puget Sound from the seaplane.   In the spring, bald eagles are also common on the island. 

What if there’s bad weather?

Seaplanes require fair weather, light wind and calm seas to fly safely.  We place safety over all other considerations, so we will not operate this tour if potentially unsafe flying conditions present themselves.  If we anticipate poor weather on your day of travel, we will notify you as early as possible to try and avoid a last-minute cancellation.  You will be given the option to reschedule to another date if possible or select another tour on the same date if one is available.  If another date or tour is not possible, you will receive a full refund. 

As weather changes frequently and sometimes unpredictably in the Pacific Northwest, we cannot guarantee that this tour will not be canceled on the day of your tour.  We do our best to avoid same-day cancellations because it’s a bad experience for you and it costs us money.  Despite these two factors, we never compromise on safety.  Same-day cancellations due to weather are very infrequent, but they typically do happen a couple of times per year.

What if I have another question?

No problem! Just contact us or give us a call at 888-365-9488 and we’d be happy to chat.

Reviews

100% of TripAdvisor users recommend our San Juan Islands Seaplane & Hiking Adventure Tour Tour...
Unbeatable way to see the San Juan Islands and Cascades – Seaplanes are the way to see them!!

Dieter G, October 3, 2019

As luck would have it plans changed for us and we ended up taking the sea plane trip with Michael from Nature Nuts. The trip was outstanding on all fronts. Starting with a flight through downtown Seattle (rarity these days) then up through all the islands up to the San Juan’s. The island we landed at (Sicua) is close to the Canadian border and the island is remote, quiet/serene and spectacular for easy hiking. We saw the Cascades, a male seal right near where we were standing and enjoyed an awesome lunch brought by Michael. Return trip was capped off with flight over Lake Baker (close look at Mt. Baker) and smooth flight home.

Fabulous Time had on recent San Juan islands visit & hike

Footprints812757, October 17, 2019

Our group of 2 young men, i young lady and 1 older man in his 60’s enjoyed a fabulous time accompanied by our tour guide Michael this past October weekend. From the time we got picked up at our chosen place, our Fremont area apartment, we enjoyed a very memorable time departing the area on a first time experience Seaplane. Nice informative and adventurous ride.

Fun and original adventure

Kh2u100, November 11, 2020

Great trip. Had a problem with aircraft alternator during pre-flight check, but Michael was able to secure an alternate in less than an hour. The trip was fantastic (got good weather!), got to experience water take off and landing, then a nice 2 hr hike on a uninhabited island. Bonus: a birder came with us and pointed out some interesting fowl. Ended with a nice lunch, provided by Michael, on a bluff overlooking our seaplane in the cove.

Great custom trip for small group

TheTravelingCatLady, May 16, 2019

Michael organized a perfect day for three people where we did the San Juan Islands Seaplane hiking tour (where we lucked out and saw whales from the air), and then a 90 minute helicopter tour towards Mt. Rainier and then exploring the mountains, Snoqualmie Falls, and back over the city. Lunch was better than I was expecting, and Michael did a great job of offering me vegan food with meat for my friends.