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10 Reasons why you need a San Juan Island Vacation

Updated May 2019

As if you needed a reason to visit paradise, or permission for that matter. You know you deserve a break and you are worth it. On the off chance you need to quell that tiny voice of doubt, here they are, your top 10 reasons why you need a San Juan Island vacation:

It’s always sunny

That’s not quite true, but we are enjoying a rain shadow. Sheltered between the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island, we get roughly 1/2 of the annual rainfall Seattle gets.

And so scenic

San Juan Island is only a short, very beautiful 45-minute flight on Kenmore Air from Seattle.  Or bring the car and experience Washington State’s newest, designated Scenic Byway, the Washington State Ferry ride across the deep blue Salish Sea being part one; pristine, astonishing San Juan Island being the second.  

We’ve got Whales

There is nothing like seeing Orcas in the wild. The three pods of the Southern Resident Killer Whales call San Juan Island their home and are most often seen from April through September. Transient Orca may be seen year round. But that's not all, watch humpbacks, minkes, even gray whales, as well as Steller sea lions, porpoises, harbor seals and every seabird you can imagine. Come see for yourself at Lime Kiln State Park, the best spot to watch Orca whales from land in the world.

More Bald Eagles than anywhere else

The shores of the San Juan Island county are home to more nesting bald eagle couples than any other county in Washington State, which in turn has more bald eagles than any of the lower 48 states.

Seeking Outdoor Aficionados

Whether it’s hiking or biking or birding you are into, you’ll want to do it here on San Juan Island. What about sea kayaking, zip lining or sailing? We’ve got you covered. Are you a runner? We sport not one, but two yearly marathons. Breathe that salty fresh air. It’s so good to be alive!

We’ve got good food

All of our restaurants are locally-owned and many of them source their produce, meat, fish, shellfish and cheeses with care and love from our island farmers & fishermen. You will taste the difference.

An interesting past

There was a war, about a pig, which had American & British troops occupying the island for a decade before it was decided that the island was American.  There was the brutal work of lime burning, logging, fishing, scandals about sheep wool fraud and the cruel reason Dead Man’s Bay got its name. If you like history, you will love it here.

We make really nice alcohol

San Juan Island features San Juan VineyardWestcott Bay Cider and San Juan Distillery.  All three facilities offer tastings and tours from Spring through Fall and celebrate harvest festivals open to the public. Their award winning libations make for unique souvenirs.

And art, too

San Juan Island inspires. Many musicians, painters, writers, sculptures and artisans bless visitors and residents alike with their creations.  See an exhibition at the San Juan Islands Museum of Art, a show at the San Juan Community Theatre, get a souvenir at Friday’s Summer Arts Market or Saturday’s Farmers Market, stroll through the Sculpture Park and don’t miss the self guided Island Artist’s Studio Tour  in June.

Friday Harbor is the cutest

Without any traffic lights and small enough to walk anywhere, adorable Friday Harbor elegantly combines small town charm with rich history and big city culture. Besides world-class restaurants and unique shops, we have museums, galleries, a live theater, a historic movie theater, summer fairs and art festivals to entertain visitors and residents alike. We parade on July 4th, Memorial Day and at harvest time in September. We put on an amazing County Fair in August, a Documentary Film Festival in November and the festival of Lights in December. We are kind, productive and grateful and would love to invite you to visit us.

"What a delightful place to stay!...

The staff is wonderful and the little extras

make it a comfortable place to stay."