A Day Trip To The San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago located in the Salish Sea, between Washington state and Vancouver Island, Canada. Here are five of the most popular islands in the archipelago and some of the things to do on each:

  1. San Juan Island: This is the largest and most well-known of the islands in the archipelago. Visitors can enjoy scenic drives and bike rides, whale watching, kayaking, and hiking, as well as exploring the island’s rich history and vibrant arts and culture scene.

  2. Orcas Island: Orcas Island is known for its beautiful scenery and outdoor recreational opportunities, including kayaking, fishing, and hiking. The island is also home to several state parks, including Moran State Park, which features over 5,000 acres of forests, lakes, and mountains.

  3. Lopez Island: Lopez Island is known for its quiet, rural character and its friendly community. Visitors can enjoy scenic bike rides, kayaking, and hiking, as well as exploring the island’s small towns and local shops and restaurants.

  4. Shaw Island: Shaw Island is the smallest of the four ferry-served islands and is known for its serene beauty and quiet, rural character. Visitors can enjoy scenic walks, kayaking, and exploring the island’s small, historic community.

  5. Lummi Island: Lummi Island is located near the mainland and is known for its stunning natural beauty, including forests, beaches, and rolling hills. Visitors can enjoy hiking, kayaking, and exploring the island’s small, charming community, as well as savoring the local food and drink scene.

These are just a few of the many things to do on each of the islands in the San Juan archipelago. Each island has its own unique character and offerings, making it a great place to explore and discover the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

San Juan Island is a must-see destination for several reasons:

  1. Scenic Beauty: The island offers breathtaking views of the surrounding waters, lush forests, and rolling hills. You can enjoy scenic drives, bike rides, and hikes through the beautiful countryside.

  2. Wildlife: San Juan Island is known for its rich wildlife, including orcas, seals, and sea lions. You can take a whale-watching tour to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.

  3. History: The island has a rich and fascinating history, with roots dating back to the Native American tribes who lived there for thousands of years, as well as the British and American military camps during the 19th century.

  4. Outdoor Activities: There are numerous outdoor activities to enjoy on the island, including kayaking, fishing, boating, and beachcombing.

  5. Food and Drink: The island is home to a variety of local restaurants and cafes, offering delicious food and drink options made from fresh, local ingredients.

  6. Arts and Culture: San Juan Island is also known for its vibrant arts and culture scene, with many local artists and galleries showcasing their work.

Overall, San Juan Island offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences, making it a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a memorable and enriching travel experience.

There are several options of things to do, just a short drive from the Farmstead. To find out more, read our Local Guide here:

Here is a one day itinerary for visiting San Juan Island while staying in Lynden, Washington:

Travel time:

  • The drive from Lynden to Anacortes (where you will catch the ferry to San Juan Island) is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.
  • The ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor (the main town on San Juan Island) takes approximately 1 hour.

Day itinerary:

  • 9:00am – Arrive at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal and purchase your ferry ticket.
  • 10:00am – Board the ferry to Friday Harbor and enjoy the scenic ride through the San Juan Islands.
  • 11:00am – Arrive in Friday Harbor and rent a bike or a scooter to explore the island.
  • 12:00pm – Visit the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor to learn about the local wildlife, including Orca whales.
  • 1:00pm – Have lunch at one of the many cafes or restaurants in Friday Harbor.
  • 2:00pm – Take a scenic bike ride to the American Camp National Historical Park, where you can hike, picnic, and explore the historic military fortifications from the 1850s.
  • 4:00pm – Visit the English Camp National Historical Park to learn about the island’s British history and enjoy more hiking and picnicking.
  • 6:00pm – Return to Friday Harbor for dinner and a walk around the town’s charming main street.
  • 8:00pm – Board the ferry back to Anacortes.
  • 9:00pm – Arrive back in Anacortes and drive back to Lynden.

This is just one example of how to spend a day on San Juan Island, and there are many other things to do and see depending on your interests.


For more information on Lynden, check out our Local Guide, and be sure to enjoy your day before you head back to your cozy getaway at the Oostema Farmstead.  We will keep the lights on for you.

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