View Map

Overview

This magical archipelago between Vancouver Island and Puget Sound consists of hundreds of isles and islets, some too small to be named. Remote patchworks of sheep pastures, forests and fishing harbors, the islands have only recently been developed for tourism. The four largest — San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw — are served by ferries from Anacortes and Victoria, BC, and in summer from Seattle and Bellingham as well. Though the ferry lines get long in midsummer, the islands remain laid-back getaways, ideal for hiking, cycling and kayaking (rentals of all transport modes available).

San Juan Island has the archipelago's only real ...

This magical archipelago between Vancouver Island and Puget Sound consists of hundreds of isles and islets, some too small to be named. Remote patchworks of sheep pastures, forests and fishing harbors, the islands have only recently been developed for tourism. The four largest — San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw — are served by ferries from Anacortes and Victoria, BC, and in summer from Seattle and Bellingham as well. Though the ferry lines get long in midsummer, the islands remain laid-back getaways, ideal for hiking, cycling and kayaking (rentals of all transport modes available).

San Juan Island has the archipelago's only real town, Friday Harbor, with a range of dining options and summertime festivals; on the west coast is a state park devoted to whale watching. Orcas has the most rugged terrain, with mountains rising above a pair of finger-like inlets. Less developed, Lopez remains the sort of place where the concept of traffic is still a novelty. Adding to their appeal is the fact that the San Juans are situated in the "rain shadow" cast by nearby Vancouver Island so they tend to be sunnier than Seattle.

Daniel C. Schechter
About the Expert

Daniel C. Schechter has contributed chapters to more than a dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Andalucia, Guatemala, and Pacific Northwest guides.

view full overview

Daniel C. Schechter for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

San Juan Islands is Recommended for Romance by AARP Love and Romance Ambassador Pepper Schwartz

See Pepper's Picks for more Top Rated Destinations for Romance!
Pepper
Pepper Schwartz

Pepper Schwartz serves as the AARP Love and Romance Ambassador and is the Chief Expert at Perfectmatch.com.

Find out what makes a destination romantic! Check out Pepper's latest post on the Triporati Blog

Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May to October