San Juan Islands

Welcome to San Juan Islands

Mellow island paradise with lush, natural beauty
 
The San Juan Islands represent the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience. They exude a mellow island atmosphere and are home to abundant wildlife, lush landscapes, friendly fishing villages, and stunning views.
 
There’s much to explore here, as there are 172 named islands and reefs in San Juan County. Approximately 50 of the islands are inhabited and feature picturesque waterfront homes and rugged beauty. The three most populous and touristy islands include the ferry-served San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island. Each island boasts its own unique character, lifestyle, and geography. Orcas boasts picturesque rolling hills, while Lopez is the flattest (perfect for biking!), and San Juan Island is a combination of both. 
 
Stretching over 300 miles, the shorelines boast a blend of sandy, pebbly, and rocky beaches. The islands have both shallow and deep harbors, perfect for kayaks and small motorboats, as well as larger vessels such as sailboats and yachts.
 
The islands are famous for their resident pods of orcas, as well as the river otter, steller sea lions, common minke whales, dall’s porpoise, and other cetaceans and crustaceans.

What to Love

  • Peaceful and picturesque
  • Loads of outdoor recreation, from watersports to hiking
  • Proximity to bustling Friday Harbor
  • Excellent whale-watching

Local Lifestyle

Residents of the San Juan Islands enjoy their family-friendly and laid-back lifestyles. 
 
Lopez Island is a serene and scenic respite away from the mainland, just a ferry ride from the northern Washington coast. Lopez Island attracts boating enthusiasts, as well as those seeking a peaceful sanctuary surrounded by thick forests, farmland, and scenic beaches. It’s also a cyclist's haven, as it’s the least hilly of the San Juans.
 
The San Juan Islands are the most populous in the archipelago and feature a plethora of fine dining, boutiques, art galleries, and museums. It’s also home to bustling Friday Harbor
 
Orcas Island is a verdant oasis with a thriving art scene. It’s home to Moran State Park and its miles of excellent hiking paths surrounded by panoramic water and mountain views.
 
No matter which island you choose to call home, you’re sure to be surrounded by stunning views, hike and bike trails, outdoor adventure, and a mix of quaint and bustling harbors.

Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

The San Juan Islands are packed with plenty of wonderful opportunities for shopping and dining. With a variety of fashionable boutiques, fine dining, and casual eateries, you’ll have no trouble finding great things to do here.
 
Friday Harbor is a popular shopping destination with a range of boutiques, bookstores, and galleries. Browse everything from glass art and jewelry at Nixon Art Glass, to antiques at Funk & Junk Antiques.

Once you’ve finished shopping, indulge in exquisite food at any one of the local eateries, such as Vortex Cafe and Juice Bar, Ursa Minor, San Juan Island Brewing, Downriggers, Herb’s Tavern, and Haley’s Sports Bar & Grill.

Things to Do

Though known as a premier whale-watching destination, the San Juan Islands also boast plenty of opportunities for inland adventure, with its tranquil beaches, hike and bike trails, galleries and museums, and parks. 
 
Spencer Spit State Park offers crabbing, clamming, saltwater fishing, swimming, diving, bird-watching, and hiking trails. Hike, cycle, or drive to the summit of Mount Constitution, located within Moran State Park, for expansive views of the San Juan archipelago. The park also boasts five lakes perfect for swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, or fishing. Friday Harbor Marine Preserve is a great fishing spot.
 
Meander along Friday Harbor, a historic and walkable seaport conveniently located mere steps from the ferry landing. Locals and visitors alike flock to the harbor to enjoy fresh seafood at locally-owned restaurants, as well as kayaking, whale-watching, and shopping. 
 
Explore the history of the islands at the San Juan Island National Historical Park, or learn about whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem at The Whale Museum.

Each year, residents gather at the San Juan Island Summer Arts Festival to celebrate local art and enjoy live music and food.

Schools

Students attend the San Juan Island School District, which comprises:
 
  • Friday Harbor Elementary School, K-5
  • Friday Harbor Middle School, 6-8
  • Friday Harbor High School, 9-12
 
 

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