San Juan Islands
With its beautiful beaches, abundant wildlife, wonderful views, diverse accommodations and laid back way of life, the San Juan Islands offer a wonderful vacation retreat. Located in the northwest corner of Washington State, the islands are nestled between the Cascade and Olympic mountains.
Since the islands lie in the rain shadow of the Olympic mountains, they average only about 20-28 inches of rain a year (half the rainfall of nearby Seattle) and 240 days of sunshine. In the summer we can often go for two weeks without rain, which is why the San Juan’s are referred to as the Banana Belt of the Northwest. Temperatures average in the 70’s during the summer with lows at night of around 55-60.
The San Juan Islands are home to a diverse wildlife community. During the summer months you have a great opportunity to enjoy kayak whale watching. The killer whales are more common during the summer months into the early fall. If you decided to take an off season kayak tour you might see a stellar sea lion, elephant seal or harbor seals. The winter time is a popular time for sea birds. Various sea bird species collect here to feed during the winter months.
San Juan Island has been a sea kayak tour destination for years. When you visit the island it should be a the top of the list for activities to do on San Juan Island.
The strong currents around the islands create an amazing nutrient mix to foster the diversity of wildlife. San Juan Islands are well know for the Souther Resident Killer Whale population (J, K and L pods). Though some of the pods will pass by the San Juan’s all year. It is more common to see them May – October.
Though the wildlife might be one reason to visit San Juan Island, there is also the scenic beauty. Visiting the National Historic Parks you can hike trials that have vistas of the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island. At sunset you can take in the amazing colors of the coastline an the light cool breeze off the water.
The San Juan Islands are made up of a chain of 172 islands lying between Canada’s Vancouver Island and the Washington State mainland. Discovery Sea Kayaks is based in the town of Friday Harbor, located along the eastern shore of the second largest island in the chain, San Juan Island.
The town is the county seat and business center for the islands and includes a harbor full of pleasure boats and commercial fishing boats. The town of Friday Harbor is a quaint town with wonderful restaurants, art galleries, gift shops, a live theatre, whale museum and historical museum. The largest four islands of the San Juan’s are served by the Washington State Ferry System, the largest ferry system in the United States and the only link for automobile travel to the Islands.