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Welcome to the San Juan Islands

The beautiful San Juan Islands are just a ferry ride away from the northwest corner of Washington, and yet a far cry from city life. A paradise for the adventurous in spirit or lover of relaxed "island time," there's no question why the San Juan Islands were rated #3 on Lonely Planet's "Top 10 U.S. Destinations for 2013" and San Juan Island was named the #1 Island in the U.S. by TripAdvisor Traveler's Choice 2013.

Lying quietly between Vancouver Island and the Washington mainland, the San Juan Archipelago is made up of a chain of 172 named islands. Orca whales are common visitors here in the spring, summer, and fall -- and often year round -- as are a variety of marine life, including sea lions, harbor seals, porpoise, and other magnificent whales.

Springtime in the San Juans is especially wonderful - wild daffodils and crocuses are in full bloom, pastures are filled with newborn lambs, calves and grazing horses. Guided kayak tours and whale watch trips are among the most favorite pastimes, why not, with the Whale Museum itself in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island?

If staying on land sounds more appealing, check out Whale Watch Park to possibly view whales, rent bikes or mopeds, or explore plentiful hiking trails with spectacular viewpoints and waterfalls (you'll probably see at least one bald eagle). Feast on fresh, local foods at a restaurant or farmers' market, learn about the 1859-1872 Pig War "Crisis" at our national historical park, or find handmade jewelry, pottery and paintings in many eclectic galleries throughout the islands.

Lodging choices are abundant, offering everything from resorts to quaint bed & breakfast inns. Campgrounds and vacation homes prove slightly different on Lopez, Orcas, San Juan and Shaw islands - each offer their own unique experience.