Discover Spring in the San Juan Islands, Washington

If there is a perfect season in Washington’s San Juan Islands, it just might be spring. The sun is vanquishing the clouds, everything is in bloom and wildlife is venturing forth. Three islands are served by Washington State Ferries—Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islandsand visitors can take advantage of everything the islands have to offer, from stunning scenery and outdoor adventure to sumptuous local foods and welcoming hospitality, all at a slower pace known as “island time.”  

Day Hiking 

The three main islands offer three different hiking experiences, all with one thing in common: knockout views. For example, on Lopez Island, Lopez Hill is a 400-acre preserve offering 4 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging. San Juan Island’s National Historical Park at American Camp and English Camp offer a variety of terrains from beach walks to summiting 650-foot Mount Young. On Orcas Island, Moran State Park offers lush forest trails with lakes, waterfalls and places to pause for a picnic, and ambitious hikers can take on the 2,409-foot Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juans.  

Wildlife Viewing 

Wildlife abounds on land and in the sea. Birding and whale watching present two of the best opportunities to spot wildlife. And, of course, there are resident populations of other species, like Steller sea lions, bald eagles and deer. For whale watching, San Juan Island’s Lime Kiln Point State Park is one of the best places to spot orcas from shore near the working lighthouse built in 1919. Visitors can also spot whales on a whale-watching tour by boat.  An added benefit to a tour is that onboard expert naturalists provide identification, education about the habitats and behavior of wildlife in the islands’ ecosystem and stewardship suggestions for passengers. 

Art & History 

Twenty beautifully landscaped acres adorned with amazing sculptures await at San Juan Islands Sculpture Park, an outdoor gallery that’s perfect for a spring stroll among 125 art pieces ranging from delicate and whimsical to stately and dramatic. Here, there is beauty around every corner. In Friday Harbor, the San Juan Islands Museum of Art shows the works of artists from the islands and beyond. History buffs shouldn’t miss the museums on each of the three islands with artifacts and exhibits about early island life: San Juan Island Historical Museum, Orcas Island Historical Museum and the Lopez Historical Society and Museum.  

Traveling Green 

Consider leaving the car behind. You can walk or bike on the ferry. Cycling on the islands is a fun way to get around. If you walk on, you can rent bikes, mopeds or hybrid vehicles. Or you can hire a taxi or hop on a shuttle to transport you to your lodging and for sightseeing. The website for the San Juan Islands has all the transportation information you need to plan a car-free visit to the islands.  

 

 

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