Explore the Beauty of the Pacific Northwest by Visiting the San Juan Islands
Washington State and the Pacific Northwest have long been known as an outdoor-lovers destination. From the awe-inspiring Mt. Rainier, to the old growth forests in Olympic National Park – there is one amazing destination that many people hear about but few get to actually experience: The San Juan Islands. Nestled in the northern part of the Salish Sea, this series of intimate islands exemplifies what the PNW is all about. It’s so popular, even Oprah has an island home here. If you are ever wondering why you need to visit (or need to convince that significant other) here are seven reasons why:
1) Just getting there is an adventure!
The only way to get to the San Juan Islands is by ferry or seaplane. Washington State has one of the largest and most comprehensive ferry systems in the country! Walk-on or Drive-on any of their departures, then sit back and enjoy the views as you make your way to your island destination. Kenmore Air also provides flights to the San Juan Islands, making it a great date activity.
2) The beautiful landscape and scenery
Just type in #sanjuanislands on social media and you’ll see just how majestic Puget Sound and the Islands really is. If you are into photography, you won’t want to miss the breathtaking views where water, earth, and wildlife all meet.
3) The food is amazing
The San Juan Islands may be far from the bright lights of Seattle, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find world class dining. There are quite a few notable restaurants that highlight the natural bounty of the PNW and the islands, led by chefs that have even drawn national attention from the prestigious James Beard Foundation. Some of our favorites include Ursa Minor on Lopez Island, Duck Soup on San Juan Island, and Roses Bakery Café on Orcas Island.
4) Hiking is a must-do activity
There are plenty of trails and paths to take if you love to hike and be outdoors. If you are looking for a short trek, check out Mt. Constitution, in Moran State Park you can view all the islands – and even Canada – from the highest point of the San Juan Islands.
5) The small town charm
If you like to shop, then look no further than the small towns of the San Juan Islands. Plenty of local artisans can be found selling various arts, crafts and more along the main streets of most towns. Roche Harbor is a seaside village that looks like it was cut out of a storybook and is a popular destination for weddings and celebrations. (Video via Visit San Juan Islands)
6) It’s one of the best places to Kayak in Washington
The San Juan Islands are a popular hub for sea kayaking enthusiasts. Though the thought of kayaking may be daunting for some, it is a wonderful way to explore this particular piece of the PNW, and fairly easy to learn. The Gourmet Kayak Expedition is a three day, two night culinary getaway that combines a curated food and wine experience with an insider’s kayaking tour through the San Juan Islands.
7) You are going to love all the wildlife
Whale watching is a popular pastime on the San Juan Islands. Tourists and locals alike can be sure to find orca pods swimming along the waters, though of course this is not guaranteed. You may also find sea otters, local birds, and other wildlife along the beaches and shores.