The San Juan Islands are truly just breath-taking!
You can see the islands from Bellingham, Wa's city edge to the west. And seeing them will make you want to take a day trip and explore them more up close and personal. The only problem I have found with exploring the San Juan's is that I just have to go back for more!
Here you will find:
Brief History and Information about the Islands
Video's taken around the San Juan Island's
Books you can purchase about the Islands
Directions and Ferry Information
Map and Charts of the Islands and...
Come along with my husband and I as in our quest to explore the all the islands more up-close and personal!
They are an archipelago or "cluster of islands" well-known and beloved in the Great Pacific Northwest. There are 450 islands in the cluster, only a few are inhabited and six of them are accessible only by ferry and one by plane.
The gorgeous San Juan Islands were written up as being 1 in 1,000 Must See Places Before You Die. The Washington State Ferry will take you to San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Shaw and Lopez Islands. The Lummi Ferry will take you from Bellingham, WA to Lummi Island.
The islands are a popular tourist destination and world-wide attraction for sea kayaking and whale watching and adventure exploring.
The San Juan Islands are forestry and have a lot of mountains.
The tallest of the mountains is Mount Constitution on Orcas Island with a half-mile elevation. The mount is a popular attraction and provides a 360 degree marine view from Moran State Park on Orcas Island. There are also a number of walking, biking and hiking trails, a campground, and many waterfalls on Orcas. Orca Island is the largest of the San Juans.
San Juan is the second largest and has the most year around population of around 7,000 people. Friday Harbor is their major population village. Many farmers live there and tourism plays a bit role in their economy. San Juan Island is a self-governing town. The only major commercial establishment outside of Friday Harbor is the village/resort of Roche Harbor that is on the northwest side of the island.
Check out Simply San Juan for information about San Juan Island and the Friday Harbor area. (It will open into a new window.) Find things to do, places to go and people to see as well as whale watching, ferry information, and hiking tours on the island.
Shaw Island is the smallest of the islands and is home to a small population of people year around as well, a little over 200 residents.
The uniqueness of this island among the rest is that it does have people living on it year around, but has absolutely no commercial facilities and no tourist facilities other than a couple small parks.
Shaw Island is mostly "privately owned" by those who enjoy their privacy. I suppose it didn't help their respected privacy when Shaw was featured during the 5th season of the political drama "The West Wing" on television! It was the site they used during a standoff between terrorist suspects and the US Government.
Lummi Island is named after the Lummi Indian tribe. It has a population of around 800 people. Many of the people are artists and they display their talent to the public on Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the first weekend of December. This San Juan Island is located in the southwest corner of Whatcom County. It's right across Bellingham Bay and can be seen from all over the city of Bellingham, WA.
Lopez Island is the third largest of the San Juans. Lopez is the first stop of four on the Washington State Ferry and normally only takes around 45 minutes to get there. Lopez also has an airstrip on the island and commercial flights go in and out of the island daily.
There are many parks on Lopez Island as well as Spencer Spit State Park and Shark Reef Park. It is much flatter than the other islands, so it is a popular destination for cyclists.
The Lopez Island has a year around population of around 2,000 people. It is known for its highly artistic population. The local residents are sculptors, ceramic artists, authors and more. Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft has bought an entire peninsula of Lopez and does visit occasionally. Horror writer, John Saul and Leonard Wren, an impressionistic artist, both have homes on the island.
Whidbey Island is home sweet home to over 58,000 residents! It is the 39th longest island in the United States and ranked the 5th largest island. The most visited Washington State Park is located on the island and is known as Deception Pass, a beautiful "must see" area! Whidbey hosts many festivals throughout the year including the popular "Tour de Whidbey" bike race that spans the entire length of Whidbey Island.
Ever since we moved to Bellingham, Wa, my husband and I have wanted to explore the islands more upclose and personal. Last year we decided the best way to go about it was to buy a boat and go ourselves as the ferries are nice, but they don't take you to all of the San Juan's! So we did, and we are!
We decided to make this a mission, to explore them all one by one.
Our stories are below....
Eliza Island...via boat/camping. That was quite an adventure!
Read upon our adventure's and findings in our quest of these islands by clicking on the links! Stay tuned as we head off to explore more of the San Juan Islands every year!
To get to any of the islands from Bellingham, hop on I-5 and head south to exit 230. You will want to merge right onto Goldenrod Road. At the first light, turn left onto Highway 20 West to Anacortes. Once you reach Anacortes you will merge right onto Commercial Avenue to reach the central business district. Take a left at 12th Street and follow the signs to the ferry terminal.
For a schedule of the WA State Ferry click here.
You can also cruise out of Bellingham on a Victoria San Juan cruise or... you can fly! For more information click here to check on flying or sailing to the Islands!
Go back and find more things to do in Bellingham, WA.