While visiting San Juan Island, you should know that the climate is temperate. Winters are mild here, with temperatures rarely falling below 40°F. And since the San Juan Islands are located in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, the rains are minimal, making outdoor activities a breeze. If you plan on whale watching, don’t forget to pack binoculars and waterproof gear! You can also indulge in a variety of water sports and watersports in the area, including kayaking and paddle boarding.
The island’s history is also interesting, with British and American army encampments set up on opposite sides of the island after the Pig War. The Pig War resulted in the death of a foraging pig by an overzealous American farmer, and the island was made famous by the construction of two military redoubts, one on the west side and one on the east. Both military outposts are now incorporated into a atmospheric national historical park, and interpretive panels tell the fascinating story behind them.
You can also explore the San Juan Islands’ natural attractions and wildlife. The Pelindaba Lavender Shop on Firday Harbor’s First Street is a great place for families to visit. You’ll be able to see sea anemones, kelp crabs, and other marine creatures from the shore. At the southernmost tip of the island, you can visit the Cattle Point Lighthouse, which offers breathtaking views of the island’s coastline and mountains. A picnic lunch is the perfect way to enjoy the views.
In addition to hiking, you can also take a scenic boat ride and enjoy the beauty of nature. San Juan Island has more than 200 species of birds and wildlife. Take a scenic ferry from downtown Seattle to the island and stop at Friday Harbor to observe these creatures. The trip lasts about three hours and includes a stop in the small town of Friday Harbor. If you’d like to see more of the island’s wildlife, the San Juan Clipper is a great option.
Visitors can also sample wine produced in the area. Lopez Island Vineyards is one of the three vineyards on San Juan Island. Their wines are organic and made from grapes imported from eastern Washington. The island’s winery is open for wine tasting, but tastings are currently reservation only. The family-run Lopez Island Vineyards is also located on the island. They have a patio and offer wine tastings. You must call ahead to reserve a spot for a wine tasting, so plan accordingly.
You can also rent a bike to explore the island, but remember to reserve a spot ahead of time. Floatplanes service the islands, but reservations are recommended. Alternatively, you can drive up to the island and pay a small fee to board a ferry. There are several places to stay on the island, but it’s difficult to find last-minute accommodations. It’s important to check ahead of time as last-minute reservations are difficult to find during the summer season.