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San Juan Island. The best place on earth to see wild Orcas - art, shopping...

Just 55 square miles, San Juan Island is the second largest in the San Juan Islands archipelago. Located at the northern tip of the Salish Sea (a body of water off the famed Strait of Juan de Fuca that includes the Puget Sound to the south), San Juan Island is a perfect vacation destination - equidistant between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. A day on San Juan Island offers many natural adventures - from orca whale watching, kayaking and hiking to shopping, art, entertainment and fine dining. You may see black-tailed deer munching apples beside a country road, red fox and bald eagles dining on a thriving and beloved population of well-contained European rabbits, or resident orca whales "spy hopping" in search of their favorite meal, salmon. A drive around the island (which you can do in an hour if you don't get distracted and want to stop to take pictures!) reveals a diverse landscape. Long pebble beaches are lined with a virtual museum of driftwood deposited over the centuries. There are lighthouses, two historic parks, pastoral stretches of island farmland, vast woods of tall fragrant Douglas fir and red-barked madrona trees. You will see cows, sheep, alpacas. A luscious lavender farm in the center of the island is open all year for picnics and family fun. Travel to San Juan Island is via ferry from Anacortes - a beautiful hour-long journey through the 172 islands that comprise San Juan County - or a small aircraft that lands in the not-so-huge Friday Harbor Airport, a short walk to town. The ferry docks at Friday Harbor, a quaint seaport full of shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries. Friday Harbor is a town devoted to art. Mural enthusiasts will thrill at the art about town and the many festivals celebrating the unique talents of island artists. San Juan Community Theatre offers better-than-small-town year-round entertainment. In summer, there are finely-produced outdoor Shakespeare plays and outdoor markets, all in cool summer temperatures that rarely exceed 75 degrees farenheit. The local museums will fill you in on San Juan Island's colorful past, including the famous Pig War of 1812. Indigenous peoples are remembered and honored as the first to settle this true island jewel. San Juan Island is a traveller's paradise destination in all seasons, with plenty of lodging choices. There are abundant campsites on county and private campgrounds, rustic cabins, many comfortable and friendly bed and breakfast inns, and numerous hotels, ranging from simple and affordable hostels to luxurious waterfront suites. The holiday season is truly special, with caroling, sparkling lights and a warm, friendly quiet island atmosphere. Roche Harbor to the north, listed on the National Register of Historic Sites, is a resort of fine lodging, shops and dining, gorgeous gardens, an outdoor sculpture park and a charming marina harboring some of the most beautiful yachts in the world. It isn't hard to see why Roche Harbor is a popular site for weddings and honeymoons! For maps and more information, contact the San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce at (360) 378-5240 ( or the San Juan Island Visitors Bureau at (888) 468-3701 ( For lodging information, visit the B&B Association of San Juan Island at (866) 645-303 ( What better place than San Juan Island? Cross the water by ferry, have dinner at one of the island's top-notch restaurants, enjoy a night at one of the many bed and breakfasts or hotels in Friday Harbor and around the countryside Getting to San Juan Island is a big part of the fun. An hour-long ferry ride through the Salish Sea in the San Juan archipelago promises views found nowhere else on earth. You might see a stellar sea lion huffing its way through the water, bald eagles swooping for their dinners, and maybe even...

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