The San Juan Islands, located in the Salish Sea in the northwestern part of Washington State, are an ideal get away for anyone looking for a place to rest and relax. The slow pace, rural setting free of traffic jams and the stress of the city, make for a perfect place to wind down and recharge. And that’s exactly what my husband and I did for the past four days. We found a perfect little Airbnb house on Orcas Island, in a quiet, peaceful location where the deer roam through the yard in the morning and late afternoon. There is a picturesque pond, and several creeks, and each morning a woodpecker entertained us with its antics.
There is a pond just steps away from the deck.
There are many activities on Orcas including kayaking, hiking, whale watching, wine tasting, shopping, and many other things to do. Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park is an interesting place to visit for amazing views of the sea and surrounding islands. You will need a Discover Pass to park your car, but there is a kiosk in the park where one can be purchased.
The photo above is a view of Sucia Islands from the top of the mountain. Vancouver, BC is in the distance.
The long island in the distance is Matia Island, and the shorter one is Puffin Island.
There are many hiking trails on the island as well. We hiked the Cascade Lake Loop Trail, which is a 2.7 mile trail that offers nice views of the lake.
And of course, there are many beaches to explore.
This is the beach at Doe Bay.
Eastsound is the largest town on the island and offers many restaurants, shops, art galleries and wine tasting. The New Leaf Cafe in the Outlook Inn is a great place for dinner, with a beautiful view of the water. The Outlook Inn and the Doe Bay Wine Company (mentioned below) made the New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2019.
The Doe Bay Wine Company offers affordable and interesting wines to taste. It’s a fun place to visit and the owners are friendly and welcoming.
The many harbours and inlets are inviting and offer many photo opportunities.
The country roads with a maximum speed limit of 40 mph help with the overall feeling of slowing down. We found them to be a welcome change to the frenzy of city life.
The islands are a popular destination in the summer, so book your accommodations and make your reservation for the ferry well in advance. Or, like we did, visit in the off season.
Have you visited the San Juan Islands? If so, leave a comment below with your favorite activities there.