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 enjoy the outdoors. This archipelago consists of over 400 islands with San Juan, Orcas and Lopez being the largest in the chain. The islands offer a wide variety of activities including boating, diving, kayaking and canoeing, whale watching, hiking, beach combing and much more; there’s something for everyone.
A few years ago, theTravelsketcher and I spent a long weekend on Orcas; our favorite of the three. The slow pace, rural setting free of traffic jams and the stress of the city, make for a perfect place to unwind and recharge. We found a cabin in a quiet, peaceful location with a picturesque pond, several creeks and where the deer roam through the yard in the morning and late afternoon. Each morning a woodpecker entertained us with its antics.
Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park is an interesting place to visit for hiking, camping and 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.
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.
Eastsound is the largest town on the island and offers many shops, restaurants, 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 made the New York Times list of 52 places to visit in 2019. Doe Bay Wines offers affordable and interesting wines in a friendly and welcoming setting.
As always, my favorite activity is taking photos.
There are a wide variety of accommodations on the island including camping, yurts, cabins, B&Bs and hotels. The San Juans are a popular destination in the summer, so book in advance. Or, like we did, visit in the off season.
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