San Juan Islands Getaway Guide
Are you looking for a tranquil getaway? A San Juan Islands getaway is the perfect destination to relax, unwind and connect with nature. Located between the Canadian city of Vancouver and Seattle in Washington State, these islands boast stunning views, breathtaking wildlife encounters, and activities that will keep everyone entertained. From kayaking along its vast shorelines, strolling on picturesque beaches, or simply taking in some spectacular Pacific Northwest sunsets – nothing compares to a vacation spent exploring this island paradise. So pack your bags and leave your worries behind as we take you on an exciting journey through one of North America’s best-kept secrets!
Are the San Juan Islands worth visiting?
There are 172 named islands and reefs in the San Juan Islands but there are only 3 islands that are visited by tourists and have car ferry service. San Juan island is sometimes just referred to as Friday Harbor after its major town center, Orcas Island and Lopez Island. Each Island has its own personality and vibe so here is a short run down. San Juan has the most amenities for visitors and most of this island’s action is centered around the town of Friday Harbor. Orcas Island is physically the largest Island in the San Juan islands. It has two commercial centers, one at the ferry landing and another in the middle of the island called Eastsound. Eastsound is a large village with most of the island’s restaurants and lodging. Lopez Island is the most rural of the three islands and is a favorite for nature lovers and those looking for a quiet getaway. Its commercial center is sleepy Lopez Village. Let’s take a look at each island.
San Juan Island Friday Harbor
San Juan Island is the last ferry stop on the Islands and takes about 2.5 hours to reach its ferry landing which is in the town’s Friday Harbor. The Town of Friday Harbor has many shops, restaurants, wine tasting, and cafes. Everything in Friday Harbor is within walking distance. Be sure to check out the Whale Museum and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art. Most of the island’s whale-watching fleet is located in Friday Harbor. All about sailing will take you on a whale tour on a traditional wooden sailboat and is fun for the whole family.
San Juan Island Beyond Friday Harbor
The best place to see orca whales from the shore on San Juan Island is found outside of the town of Friday Harbor at Lime kiln State Park. The Historic sites of English Camp and American Camp are also found outside of Friday Harbor. These are perfect places to visit for history buffs who want to learn about a war that almost erupted between the United States and Great Britain called the Pig War. For beach time, check out Jackson Beach. For more ideas while on Orcas, check out San Juan Island Distillery. Their island-made hard cider and gins are excellent. For lodging and hotels at San Juan consider Bird Rock Hotel, Earthbox Inn, and Hotel de Haro in Roche Harbor Resort.
What is Orcas Island known for?
Orcas Island is the largest island in the San Juan islands. There are several shops and restaurants at the Orcas Island ferry landing but the major commercial center is in the middle of the island and is called Eastsound. There you will find excellent breakfast, lunch, and dinner options in the san Juans. You can relax with a massage at the spa or check out the farmers market on the weekends. Robert Moran State Park offers a freshwater lake and a trail that leads to the tallest point in the San Juan Islands. While Orcas has many hiking trails, like Turtle Mountain, it does not have public beaches beyond the small town beach in Eastsound. Lodging options include Rosario Resort and vacation rentals in Deer Harbor
Lopez Island is the most rural of the San Juan Islands and is often overlooked by visitors. Those who do disembark at the Lopez ferry landing will be in for a surprise. A visit to Lopez is like stepping back in time. Be sure to wave at all car driving locals, it’s the custom to wave at each other when passing. The interior of Lopez island is dotted with charming little farms and many of them have farm stands or barn stores. If you are into wine, make sure you check out Lopez Island Vineyards. Check out Barnowl Bakery or stone crest farms for farm goods and baked delights. Lopez Island also features the largest amount of nature preserves and public beaches of all the San Juan Islands getaways. This includes the largest part of the San Juan Island National Monument. Both Shark Reef Preserve and Iceberg Point are some of the best coastal hiking in Washington State.
Romantic Weekend Getaway
If romantic getaways are your thing, Lopez Island is your ideal Pacific Northwest escape. The Sleep Seaside village of Lopez is both quaint and Charming. Grab a morning latte from one of the two coffee shops or a romantic dinner from Ursa Minor, a farm-to-table restaurant. One of the most romantic things to do on Lopez is a stroll along one of the island’s secluded beaches with that special someone. Check out the sandy shores of Upright Channel Park on the north end. For the best sunset views on the island head to the village beach. Edenwild Boutique inn is the best of the romantic hotels on the island. It is a cozy 10 room establishment that offers guests a cozy retreat plus breakfast in bed. It is within walking distance of all that Lopez Village has to offer.
San Jauns Your Next Destination
The San Juan islands have all you need to enjoy your next vacation. Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a fun family trip, these islands will have something for everyone. Pack your bags and get ready for your next San Juan Islands getaway.