The San Juan Islands are one of the most scenic places you can visit here in Washington. This breathtaking group of isles can be found in between the northwestern corner of our state and Vancouver, B.C. There’s so much to see and do around this secluded paradise, and it’s only a short ferry ride away from the mainland.
There are 172 named islands and reefs in the San Juan Islands, however the four main ones that you can visit by ferry include San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and Shaw Island. Surrounded by the waters of the Salish Sea, these islands are complete with gorgeous beaches, lighthouses, scenic hiking trails, unique small shops and more.
No matter which island you're visiting, you'll find plenty of places to kick back and relax. There's a variety of beaches on the islands, from rocky beaches to pebbly and sandy ones, as well as ones full of driftwood and tide pools.
On your trip to the San Juan Islands, there's an abundance of amazing wildlife to spot everywhere. The islands are known for their many Orca killer whales. Head out for a whale watching tour to see them jumping and blowing in their native waters.
Orcas Island is horseshoe-shaped, and the largest of the San Juan Islands. Whether you're near the shoreline or heading up the stone tower on Mount Constitution, extraordinary views can be seen everywhere. There's charming villages to explore like Eastsound, as well as the huge Moran State Park with old-growth forest and trails for hikers & bikers.
Not only does Lopez Island have lovely scenery, but the residents here are charming too. Known as the "Friendly Isle," this island has rolling farmlands, beaches, and eye-catching views of mountains. It's a wonderful spot for agriculture, from wine grapes to kiwis, as well as outdoor recreation. Cycling, kayaking, hiking and boating are a few of the many activities you'll find here.
Friday Harbor is the largest town on San Juan Island, and it's home to many of the top-rated lodging and dining options. It's a perfect place for art lovers, with neighborly shops, galleries and a great variety of local restaurants, without fast food chains everywhere.
Due to their location in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, the islands receive significantly less rainfall than other places in Washington. The fresh air and ideal temperatures make these islands a true paradise, with an average of 247 days of sunshine a year.
Whether it's just for the weekend or for an entire week, a trip out to the San Juan Islands can make for a dreamy Northwest getaway. Be sure to hop on the ferry from Anacortes one of these days to enjoy the unforgettable island experience.