The San Juan Islands is a small grouping of islands that include Orcas Island, Lopez Island, Shaw Island and of course the San Juan Island. San Juan Island is my personal favorite and makes for a perfect family getaway.
While the island is relatively small, with not a street light in sight, it has much to offer tourists. Anything from riding scooters around town or going to the Pelindaba Lavender Farm, there are many activities to fill a delightful day.
The true “islander” experience is just a two hour drive north from Seattle Southside to Anacortes where you take a beautiful ferry ride to the island. You will be transported to a world of delicious food, amazing views, rich history and friendly people.
Tourists can walk around the community-friendly town and its historic art galleries, bookstores, antique stores, boutiques, and charming cafes. There is also numerous wildlife and outdoor activities which include exciting tours like whale watching and kayaking.
The north end of the island is called Roche Harbor which provides vacationers with historical architecture like Hotel de Haro, which has stood since 1886. It was originally built as a bunkhouse for the men who worked in the lime kilns who produced 1,500 barrels per day. The hotel is now a resort for guests to stay in and many weddings take place during the summer in a church built close to the building.
If travelers have a passion for food and wine, the island offers delicious restaurants that include Duck Soup Inn, Backdoor Kitchen, Downriggers, Friday’s Crabhouse, McMillian’s Dining Room, and Vinny’s Ristorante. A majority of the restaurants serve northwestern cuisines with an emphasis of fresh seafood because of the prime location. There is also an adorable winery called San Juan Vineyards that is locally owned and was once an old school house (ca 1895).
I also should mention how family-friendly the island is which provides activities for all age groups. Outdoor fun for the kids include biking, kayaking, going to the American Camp Historical Park (that has a large bunny population and can be fascinating for the kids), and even zip lining!
Zip San Juan has eight different zip lines that allow you to experience the natural landscape and wetlands of San Juan Island. Zipping from different platforms lets you soar past trees, giving you a viewpoint that usually only birds can see. There are also beaches and parks that can be pleasant for the kids and these places are a great setting to spend time with the family.
Visitors who want to relax and escape to without traveling too far from Seattle Southside should consider the San Juan Islands because of all the attractions and activities to see and do!
The islanders are very welcoming and the weather during the summer is amazing! It is an enjoyable place to visit and a vacationer can either unwind with a glass of wine or be adventurous and zip line through the forest. The San Juan Island gives a wide variety of things to do which makes it a great destination.
(Photos courtesy of San Juan Islands Visitor Bureau, San Juan Nature Institute and Zip San Juan.)