San Juan Islands Escape in the Pacific Northwest

A two hour ferry ride north of Seattle are the San Juan Islands

The archipelago is closer to Canada than the United States. Of the 125 small atolls, three welcome outlanders – Orcas, the namesake island San Juan, and Lopez. Spring, summer and fall are the popular months. A Labor Day weekend visit with my husband and in-laws was perfect! Not too hot or cold.  San Juan Islands ferry.

Lopez Island’s tiny fishing village offers one grocery store, a couple restaurants and tchotchke shops, and cabins dispersed around the 29 square mile enclave with views of Puget Sound…GORGEOUS! We rented a cabin here via Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO) — the super easy home rental website. I’ve always had good luck using this site. Sheets, towels, and kitchen utensils are provided. A quick jaunt into town for coffee and other staples is all that’s necessary.

Lopez Island in the San Juan Islands.

The foliage is SOOO green

We took a walk in the forest near our rental. Winding paths lead to huge houses tucked among stunningly lush acres of towering trees. Microsoft and Amazon upper level management have second homes here because of its close proximity to Redmond headquarters.

Lush foliage in the San Juan Islands.

The community has two restaurants — Islander Bar & Grill  and The Galley Both overlook the marina and feel very homey with families watching football on TV and locals who all know each other. The requisite steak, seafood, and burgers were on the menus —perfect for the laid back atmosphere!

The family in San Juan Islands.

Washington State Ferries it easy to check out the aforementioned Orcas and San Juan Islands. The former is shaped like a pair of saddlebags separated by a fjord. Although it’s a larger land mass, it’s less populated. San Juan is where all the action takes place! The main street is lined with shops, seafood restaurants, and tourists.

Orcas San Juan Islands

San Juan Islands.

Cask & Schooner restaurant.


San Juan Islands salt.

When traveling, I LOVE to buy unique, indigenous items. I came across this amazing locally produced smoked sea salt. Fallen branches from native Madrona trees grown on the islands are burned at low temperatures below 100 degrees Fahrenheit, flavoring the condiment with smoke but not cooking it. This infuses a hearty, unique taste and gives it a caramel color. It adds bit of pizzaz to chix, fish, beef, etc….yuummmm.


I highly recommend the bucolic archipelago where life is slower, sunsets are breathtaking, white puffy clouds float leisurely in the sky, and nature’s vibrant green is around every corner. Hikes, art shows, and eating filled our days; board games filled our nights. Perfect Labor Day weekend.



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