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  1. #1

    Default San Juan Island and NW Washington State

    We plan on driving / ferrying from Everett, WA to the San Juan Islands to Victoria, BC to Butschart Gardens to Vancouver and back to Everett. We have 3 - 4 days. Do any of you have any suggestions as what to see that is particularly spectacular? Also, we would like to spend one night on San Juan Island. Do you have suggestions as to where to stay that are nice but inexpensive? We would like to hike around the Island. Thank you.

  2. #2


    When we were there in June of '91 we went on a whale watching tour out of Friday Harbor that turned out to be one of the most incredible things I've ever seen. We had 30+ orcas swimming and breaching around us. The boat stopped at the prescribed distance away but the orcas swam towards us and some of their jumps were only 20 yards from the boat. We found out later that the tour company was part of a research group and had prior knowledge of the orcas being in that area. I don't recall the name of outfit, but if you get off the ferry at Friday Harbor, it's to your right a few blocks away, near the whale museum.

    We also enjoyed the Friday Harbor Winery.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Great trip, but....

    All great places to visit; I spent a full week on San Juan some years ago and loved it!

    You do need to take into account the amount of time the ferries are going to take.

    I've taken all three of the ferries you listed, but not all on the same trip.

    You have three ferry trips in 3-4 days, and between queuing up to get on, the trip itself, and getting off, I would think each is going to take 2-4 hours on average. You should review the various ferry schedules and procedures on the ferry websites (Washington State and BC Ferries) to understand this better.

    Not a trip-killer, but you need to be aware it will take longer to get from point a to b on a ferry than with a car (even if one could drive there).

    San Juan is not particularly cheap, especially in season; somebody may have some recommendations; as I was there a week we ended up renting a house near Roche Harbor.

    You may also want to consider Lopez Island, which may be cheaper and I believe may have more hiking options. It has less night life so if you like a lot of restaurants and bars then Friday Harbor on San Juan is where you want to be.

    Here are a few photos to get you excited about some options:

    Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse on San Juan:

    Photo: Don Casey

    Parliament Building in Victoria:

    Photo: Don Casey

    Kayaking out of Roche Harbor:

    Photo: Don Casey

  4. #4


    Wow! Thanks! Great photos!!!!!

  5. #5

    Default British Columbia Islands vs. San Juan Islands

    Does anyone have any recommendations of things to see in the islands between Vancouver Island and Vancouver (city) vs. the San Juan Islands in NW Washington State. We are driving to NW Washington, but will spend a week with friends touring that area. Has anyone taken a SailPass offered by the British Columbia Ferry System? Thanks!
    Last edited by AZBuck; 06-08-2010 at 03:30 PM. Reason: Merged with provious posts. Please do not start multiple threads for the same trip.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Saltspring Island

    The only personal experience I have with any of them is with Saltspring Island, reachable by ferry from Swartz Bay or Tsawwassen. My wife and I loved it precisely because there was not a lot going on there. We walked around Fulford Harbour and had a nice lunch there and then hiked on the 'summit' of Mount Maxwell (great views) and did a leisurely tour around the island. All in all a very relaxed day. And besides, I'm a sucker for ferry rides.


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