Kayaking Travel Articles
Washington State Ferry Service
The Main Islands
Also see . . .
More than 170 islands comprise the San Juan archipelago, which lies off mainland Washington at the juncture of the straits of Georgia and Juan de Fuca, and is sheltered from the Pacific Ocean by the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island. (There are reputedly an additional 300 rocky "islands" at low tide.)
The San Juan Islands once were part of a mountain range connecting Washington State to Vancouver Island. Eighty-three islands are protected as part of the San Juan Wildlife Refuge, home to seabirds, seals and sea lions. About 90 Orca whales are year round residents of the area and are often seen from shore and from charter whale watching boats and kayaking outfitters.
The four islands served by the Washington State Ferry System - Lopez, Orcas, San Juan, and Shaw - are the usual destinations for, weekend getaways and extended stay vacations for relaxation and such activities as whale watching, kayaking, bicycling and gentle sightseeing. To reach any of the other islands, about 40 of which are inhabited, you will need to arrange your own transportation via private water craft, private ferries or seaplanes.
On the main islands, the farming and fishing communities have been joined by "urban refugees" including many artists, perhaps drawn by the natural beauty and solitude of these islands. During summer months, the main islands are popular destinations for weekend getaways and vacations and therefore receive as many visitors as the islands can accommodate. So, be sure to book your stay in advance.
Various information sources such as local newspapers, convention and tourism bureaus and web guides providing additional information about the San Juan Islands.
What you can expect to find in the way of bed and breakfasts; cabins; hotels, motels, inns, lodges and resorts; campgrounds; and RV Parks.
Ideas and resources for things to do including bicycling, birding, cruises, hiking, kayaking, tours and whale watching.
Special places of interests like scenic views; state parks; historical sites; unique farms and gardens; plus where to go to enjoy art galleries, museums and the performing arts.
Live, fully controllable view of the west side of San Juan Island from the Center for Whale Research.
Go Northwest! Bookstore
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Moon San Juan Islands, 5th Edition (Moon Handbooks) by Don Pitcher. Learn about the best of the San Juan Islands' details on everything including accommodations, dining, whale watching and activities. This guide has all the information needed to plan a fun-filled trip to this popular destination. Order now...
The Essential San Juan Islands Guide by Marge Mueller and Ted Mueller. Twenty maps help you locate sites, and the Lodging at a Glance table saves you time and clarifies your overnight options. Information about how to get there and what to do once you arrive are categorized by island, and include icons. Order now...
Frommer's Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and San Juan Islands by Chris McBeath. Insider tips from local expert authors including detailed maps, exact prices, directions, opening hours, and reviews of hotels and restaurants, plus sights, shopping, and nightlife, itineraries, walking tours, and trip-planning ideas. Order now...
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