San Juan Islands

The paradise known as The San Juan Islands consist of 172 islands with names. Three major islands (with ferry service) are Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Island. You can reach them by a Washington State ferry, airplane or boat. Good accommodations and amenities await you in the islands.

History comes alive in the islands. Historical museums on the three main islands are full of fascinating history. Or visit places like Richardson Village on Lopez, Orcas Hotel, Orcas Island Art Works and Rosario Mansion (and resort) on Orcas or American Camp and English Camp on San Juan Island.

Look not only for good restaurants and accommodations in the “little cities” but also the many specialty shops. Check out Fisherman Bay Village on Lopez, Eastsound Village on Orcas, or Friday Harbor on San Juan. For live theatre, music and dance performances, attend a play or musical at Lopez Center, Orcas Center or the San Juan Community Theatre. A tourist guide will list more venues.

Outdoor activities are geared to boaters, bikers, hikers, kayakers, golfers, campers and horseback riders. Special treats like whale watching attract tourists. The islands are home to such marvelous creatures as bald eagles, harbor seals, river otters and killer whales. Black-tailed deer are prominent so keep an eye our for these graceful animals.

Some outstanding parks to visit are Odlin County Park and Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez; Moran State Park and Eastsound Waterfront Park on Orcas; American Camp and English Camp National Historical Parks and Lime Kiln Point State Park (ideal for whale watching) on San Juan Island. Campers and RVs are welcome in some of these parks.

Farmers Markets are popular and feature local fruits and veggies. Three abundant orchards and vineyards lure locals and visitors to them. Lopex Island Vineyards, San Juan Island Vineyards and Wescott Bay ORchard. Local wines and ciders are often served in local restaurants.

How about good restaurants? There are around a dozen on Lopez and over forty on both Orcas and San Juan. Choices in accommodations revolve around things like waterfront or water view, a room or a cottage, pets allowed, handicapped access, kitchen included with cabin, etc. Some people prefer to stay in a place relatively close to the ferry landing.

Shaw Island is the forth island recieving ferry service although it has only 170 full-time residents and virtually no overnight lodging. Shopping is done at the store by the ferry landing. It’s a great island for bicyclists, nature lovers and people who long for peace and quiet. Some visitors like to go to the other smaller islands such as Blakely, Stuart, Cypress, Guemes, Decator, Waldron and Sucia. All of the islands are endowed with winderful natural beauty.

Thank you Shirley Dever for the information!