Trees growing by water in calm bay, Sucia Island, San Juan Islands, Washington, USA (photodisc)

Sunset over Fisherman Bay San Juan Islands (iStockphoto)

San Juan Islands Marina (iStockphoto)

Lighthouse San Juan Islands (iStockphoto)

Stuart Island Landscape San Juan Islands (iStockphoto)

Calmness in the Bay San Juan Islands (iStockphoto)

San Juan Islands in Summer (iStockphoto)

Orca breaching near the San Juan Islands, Washington (iStockphoto)

Sunset over mountain landscape San Juan Islands (Brand X Pictures)

USA, Washington, San Juan Islands, Friday Harbor, yard and harbor (Digital Vision)

Small boat moored in harbor, sunset, San Juan Islands, Washington, USA (Photodisc)

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What to do in San Juan Islands

Nature is the name of the game on the San Juan Islands, a collection of some 700 islands in the Puget Sound off Washington’s coast. Only four of the islands—San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw—are served by a ferry; these four host the area’s restaurants (from casual to fine), art galleries, inns, and antiques shops. Adventurous travelers can reach some of the other islands, such as Matia and Turn, by sailboat or sea-kayak. Orca whales are the stars of summer, and dolphins, porpoises, harbor seals, and sea lions can make appearances anytime. Seabirds, such as gulls and cormorants, nest on the grassy isles, while bald eagles prefer the tops of the pine and fir forests here. It’s a lush environment, but that doesn’t mean it rains constantly. Because the islands are in the Olympic Mountains’ rain shadow, they receive only half as much precipitation as Seattle.

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Traveler Reviews of San Juan Islands


lennie rates San Juan Islands
saw orcas on several whale watches. scenery was gorgeous! artist colonies everywhere! (bought a whole line of sea-star inspired pottery!) definitely a place to put on your bucket list! we stayed on san juan and orcas islands, and had a wonderful time.
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