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San Juan Islands
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About San Juan Islands
If you want to get away from the 21st century and embrace the beautiful outdoors, head to the San Juan Islands, a scattering of some 170 islands and rocky outcrops that lie between the mouth of the Puget Sound and Vancouver Island. Choose any of the best places to stay in the San Juan Islands - time seems to have stopped somewhere in the ‘60s or ‘70s.
Hedgerows, hidden bays, sparkling lakes and forested trails are what you’ll find on the San Juan Islands. Life here is all about the simple pleasures of hiking, fishing, kayaking, swimming, crabbing and picnicking. There are more bicycles than cars, and you don’t come for the shopping or chain restaurants.
The several State Parks include Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island with its marshy lagoon; perfect for kayaking, fishing, bird-watching and beachcombing. Or head to Moran State Park on Orcas Island with its network of hiking and mountain-biking trails, and dominated by the 2409-foot Mt Constitution, the archipelago's highest point. On a clear day you can see Mt Rainier, Mt Baker and over to Vancouver.
Take it more leisurely with a tour around the Islands’ Whale Museum or why not go in search of the real thing with a whale-watching cruise where you might also catch sight of seals, porpoises and eagles. Then chill out in the evening with a BBQ while you watch one of the glowing sunsets.
So, forget the smart clothes, pack your shorts and swimmers and take a look at our range of the best places to stay in the San Juan Islands.
Best San Juan Islands hotels for romance
- Sitting at the foot of Turtleback Mountain on Orcas Island, and surrounded by 80 acres of farmland, forest and ponds, the wooden-clad Turtleback Farm Inn makes a perfect hideaway. Rooms are spacious and rustic, some with private verandas.
- Otters Pond, also on Orcas Island, is an adults-only, eco-friendly B&B with a peaceful, home-from- home atmosphere and surrounded by lush gardens. Rooms are contemporary country-house, breakfasts are sumptuous, plus you can hire the hotel boat to go whale-watching.
Best San Juan Islands hotels for foodies
- Seafront Friday Harbor House, on San Juan Island, is a small, quiet hotel with beautiful views and a renowned restaurant serving fresh, seasonal food. Rooms are smart and contemporary, and all come with a jacuzzi tub for two.
For more choices, browse our lists of the best places to stay in the San Juan Islands, extend your search to include all our Washington State recommendations, or contact one of our friendly gurus for advice.
Best Hotels in San Juan Islands
The Inn on Orcas Island from £157San Juan Islands
A quaint waterfront property in stunning Orcas Island. Traditional rooms feature antique furniture, tartan fabrics and working fireplaces. A large terrace is the ideal spot for an evening drink. Find an array of outdoor pursuits in the surrounding countryside. A charming stay.Total relaxation - Step into the laid-back side of life in the quaint lake side property.Birdwatching - Spot from the property: bald and golden eagles, turkey vultures, merlins, hawks, crom bills and kingfishers to name a few.Restrictions on children - Adult only.Full of character
Otters Pond 6 rooms from £269Eastsound, San Juan Islands
Eco-friendly B&B on Orcas Island boasts stunning views, peace and quiet and a home-away-from-home atmosphere. Slip into plush bathrobes and slippers, relax in an armchair and soak up the nicely decorated bedrooms. Five course breakfast in-room or on the terrace, or read a book at the library.Great walks - Explore the Moran State Park which the B&B just rests besides.Kayaking - Explore the sea at your leisure in a kayak or canoe.OpulentFull of character
Friday Harbor House 23 rooms from £226Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands
Small seafront hotel in an idyllic location. Modern, spacious rooms some with balcony overlooking the bay. The restaurant at Friday Harbor House is renowned for its seasonal dishes using local produce. Perfect for a romantic getaway with stunning views & jacuzzi baths for two in every room.Sailing - 3 hours, half a day or a full days charter - explore the local island just off Washington mainland.Views - From its raised position, Friday Harbor House has lovely views over the bay.Kayaking - Crystal Seas Kayaks do hour or half day trips.Sights nearby - San Juan Island National Historical Park.Recommended by - CN Traveller
Turtleback Farm Inn 11 rooms from £96San Juan Islands
This 1890s farmhouse-turned-hotel sits at the foot of Turtleback Mountain on Orcas Island, one of the most beautiful in the San Juan archipelago. With 80 acres of farmland, leafy forests and six ponds and eleven uniquely decorated rooms, the inn is perfect for getting away from it all.Views - Turtleback mountain and Mount ConstitutionGreat walks - There are a bounty of walks and trails for the most budding of flaneurs to explore.Back to Nature - Located just moments from the Moran State Park this property is close to nature.Birdwatching - With an impressive array of local birdlife twitchers will feel right at home.