The San Juan Islands are a favorite holiday destination for many; there are just so many amazing things you can do here. Plan your San Juan vacation with the help of this UStravelia article.
Did You Know?
There are three resident pods of orca whales in the waters of these islands.
Imagine a calm, serene, and majestic world just around the Washington coast. Dream come true? Well, yes. The San Juan Islands are an archipelago in the Salish Sea; they belong to the state of Washington. Famous for orca watching and sea kayaking, these islands are a definite holiday for those living on the west coast. Most of the activities are located on three islands―the San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island. It is suggested that if you're traveling to these islands for a week-long vacation, you reserve a place on the main island―the San Juan Island―as most of the tourist activities are centered here.
Understand There are no bridges to these islands. The preferred and most common mode of transport are the ferries, which service four islands―San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw. You can also travel by air if you don't live close by.
Postcards of San Juan
San Juan Special Bucket List
On your holiday to these magical islands, print this list and tick activities one by one.
Visit Lummi Island for a famous farmer's market that is hosted every week during spring and summer.
Reach Stuart Island State Park by human-powered watercraft and camp for a day. Before you leave, indulge in scuba diving, boating, fishing, and hiking.
For a romantic day out on San Juan Island, rent a moped and spend the day visiting places around.
Drive on the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway; it is divided into three segments, each equally beautiful.
Learn from the farmers the different aspect of farming, and have at least one dinner that is served from farm to table. For a great experience, visit San Juan Island Farmers Market, which is held in the Court House's parking lot. It runs roughly from May to September.
See the resident orcas, commonly seen from May to September, and hear them calling out to each other via a hydrophone.
Try Zip San Juan, an adventurous public zipline which takes you from platform to platform, over forest canopies, wetlands, and even an otter-inhabited lake.
Spend one day cycling on Lopez Island, famous among cyclists. It's not a very simple thing to do, mind you; it'll take you a day. If you're an experienced cyclist, rather try Orcas Island.
Opt for 'Once in a Blue Moon Farm', a farm tour that lets you feed llamas, alpacas, etc., gather eggs, and also groom animals at the farm, among other exciting things.
Kayak at San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez islands, and see amazing sights―orcas swimming, sunsets, etc. Though not very common, humpback, gray, and minke whales are also said to swim nearby.
If you want some camping experience on these islands, visit Obstruction Pass State Park located on Orcas island; it has 10 + primitive campsites and lots of parkland.
Eat at picnic tables at Lime Kiln Point State Park, while watching out for orca whales, sea lions, seals, and otters; these places are considered to be one of the best places to spot these whales. Don't forget to visit the lighthouse.
Visit the Whale Museum and adopt a whale for a year. If you're just looking for exploration, book a guided tour with the museum. Non-guided tours are available as well.
Spend a day hiking at Moran State Park. Go all the way up to Mount Constitution, take a swim in Mountain Lake, and watch the Cascade Falls.
Go boating and crabbing at Sucia Island State Park, considered one of the best boating destinations globally. Also watch out for marine fossil deposits at Fossil Bay.
Feel like doing something different? Beachcomb on Lopez Island at Spencer Spit State Park. If you get bored, try fishing and clamming.
Take a 10-minute trail to the Sharks Reef Sanctuary with your binoculars and spot bald eagles, otters, and maybe even a seal.
Take your camera along and capture rugged, rocky shorelines at Iceberg Point on Lopez Island. Don't reach late in the day; the site is open for day-use only.
Be pleasantly surprised by over 125 extremely creative works of art at San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Want some company? Take your dog along.
Visit the Orcas Island Historical Museum to see century-old cabins that display unique collections, works of art, etc.
For an educational outing, visit San Juan Island National Historical Park, which is designated as a National Historic Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Before you visit San Juans and indulge in these awesome things, make sure you've checked and rechecked everything on your agenda. Though not a complicated tour, it does have the potential to tire you out.