San Juan Islands Travel Guide

  • Ferry passes with Mount Baker in Background
    Ferry passes with Mount Baker in...
    by glabah
  • Victoria Clipper approaching Friday Harbor
    Victoria Clipper approaching Friday...
    by glabah
  • Kenmore Air Plane after Landing at Friday Harbor
    Kenmore Air Plane after Landing at...
    by glabah

San Juan Islands Things to Do

  • Various Places in the Islands - in...

    There are some 220 islands in the San Juan Islands, but only about 180 of them carry names. There are several dozen tiny communities scattered through the Islands, plus state parks, and a national park that is divided into two segments.Considering all this, it seemed best to try to provide an outline of all the communities and a basic idea of the...

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  • The State Parks on the Islands

    There are quite a number of state parks on the San Juan Islands. Only a few of these are accessible by auto. The rest require the use of a water taxi boat service (generally fairly expensive), or your own watercraft, in order to get to them. If you do drive to any of the state parks, keep in mind that they require the use of a Discover Pass or a...

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  • Public Postings: Where to Find Out about...

    Finding things to do in the San Juan Islands can be an interesting experience, and not necessarily easy for those who are used to finding out about everything online.Here in the San Juan Islands, news tends to travel along traditional routes.If you want to find out what is going on around the islands, check the local bulletin boards. In the main...

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  • Kayak Trips: Dozens are Available

    There are perhaps a dozen different places offering kayak trips in Friday Harbor alone. Pretty much all of the other communities of any significance, even as small as they are, have at least one kayak tour operator. As I was staying in Friday Harbor I went with Discovery Sea Kayaks, which operates a sunset kayak trip on the west side of San Juan...

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  • Free Sunset Cruise?

    Washington State Ferries is in fact supposed to be transportation. Due to the nature of the fare system, it is easier of they don't charge people when they travel from one island to another, and instead simply charge everyone when going westward out of Anacortes.Cars and other vehicles are heavy and take a lot of space. Those are charged from one...

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  • Small boat whale watching tour

    I HIGHLY recommend a small boat whale watching tour. As I stated in the kayaking tip, there were very few tourists in Mid-May so my hubby and I were the only ones on the boat with the captian. Not within 10 minutes did we encounter Orca whales( J pod) and the alpha male Ruffles. Ruffles is named for his unique apperance of his dorsal fin. This...

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San Juan Islands Restaurants

  • maryellen50's Profile Photo

    by maryellen50 Written Sep 7, 2002

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    Being a vegetarian visiting the West Coast there is never a shortage of good restaurants (unlike Texas where I live). Do expect to pay a minimum of $10 for a dinner entree so the islands are not for the budget conscious.

    Favorite Dish: Everyplace we ate was great from Italian to veggie burgers.

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San Juan Islands Transportation

  • No Car, Getting to and From the Islands,...

    There are several different ways of getting to and from the San Juan Islands without your own car. The options listed here are somewhat more expensive than taking transit services to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, but they are more direct and therefore worth the price to some. I have classified these as "water" because two of them are boat options,...

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  • Washington State Ferries: Evergreen...

    If you look at a Washington State Ferries schedule for the San Juan Islands, you will find a mystifying array of trips that stop at some islands, and don't stop at others. Some trips are marked "Interisland". These are the trips that go between islands for local traffic, without going to Anacortes.Any of the ferries can wind up being used on the...

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  • No Car, Getting to and From the Islands...

    There are two different shuttle bus operators that run services primarily designed to deliver people to and from the SeaTac Airport.Island Airporter: (San Juan Island to SeaTac):Island Airporter operates a direct van from San Juan Island to the SeaTac Airport south of Seattle. The scheduled service operates once per day except it does not operate...

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San Juan Islands Warnings and Dangers

  • International Roaming Charges: Canada is...

    Quite a number of people who have visited the San Juan Islands will have a horror story about unexpected bills when they arrive home in the states. Some of the cellular phone bills can be over $400.Those who are used to using their cell phones for everything will have to be very careful here. Cell phone towers in the San Juan Islands are not very...

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  • Boarder Areas

    Due to their proximity to the Canadian border, it's really easy to enter Canadian waters without knowing it. If you accidently swim into Canadian waters and are stopped by the Coast Guard, without the propper documents, you could have some serrious problems. It is advised that you use a map, GPS, or any other reliable navigation equiptment. Some...

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  • Strong Currents

    Be extremely careful where you go kayaking. If you don't have a lot of experience, it is advised that you take one of the kayak tours, or check with some local kayakers for the safest spots. Because of their location, there are several strong converging currents in several parts of the islands. When kayaking it is advised that you avoid the passes,...

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San Juan Islands Sports & Outdoors

  • maryellen50's Profile Photo

    by maryellen50 Written Sep 7, 2002

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    I did a day kayak trip with Outdoor Odysseys and the scenery was just beautiful. We did see several bald eagles. Kayaking here is very different from the Gulf Coast as the water is rougher however not as exhausting in the Pacific Northwest compared to the Gulf Coast due to the weather.

    Equipment: All equipment was provided by Outdoor Odysseys including a great vegetarian lunch.

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San Juan Islands Favorites

  • maryellen50's Profile Photo

    by maryellen50 Written Feb 25, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: The orcas (of course). There are 3 pods of orcas residing in this area - total of approx 100 whales. We saw several bald eagles, harbor seals, and bull kelp. My travel focuses mostly on the outdoors and wildlife so this is probably the best place in the U.S. for ecotourism as everyone is conscientious about the environment and surroundings. All restaurants were great .

    Fondest memory: The morning we viewed the pod of 8 orcas playing in the ocean.

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism

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