Where to Find the Best Sunsets on the San Juan Islands

Sunset San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are a popular destination for travelers to relax for a weekend getaway—or longer—and watch the sun as it sets, creating postcard-worthy backdrops. Several isles make up San Juan Islands, Washington, with the major ones being San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Islands, and the Washington Ferry system services all three. Thankfully, Northwest Island Escapes has many comfortable (and some pet-friendly) vacation rentals all over the archipelago, giving you easy access to the most idyllic spots.

Top Sunset-Watching Spots on the San Juan Islands

Here are some of the best spots to catch the sunset in the San Juan Islands, along with some fun things to do.

Lime Kiln State Park

Otherwise known as “Whale Watch Park,” Lime Kiln State Park is the most popular spot for catching a glimpse of orca whales. The park features a lighthouse, platforms for whale watching, cliffs and trails for hikers, and some trees for picnics in the shade. Find a bench or a comfortable rock by the water and soak up the sun until it begins to fade behind the picturesque lighthouse. The view is beautiful, and you can take photos of the sun setting as it radiates through the lighthouse’s lantern room. 

Turtleback Mountain

Take in a breathtaking view and observe the sunset atop Turtleback Mountain. Take the popular south trail for stunning views of the outer islands, Vancouver Island, and the Olympics. The north trail is less traveled and offers views across Waldron and Saturna Islands with the Canadian Rockies in the background. In either case, bring a headlamp so you can find your way back to the parking lot when the sun dips below the horizon. 

South Beach

Take a hike down South Loop Trail to the end at South Beach. South is the longest beach on San Juan Island in the American Camp National Historical Park. Find serenity while watching the sunset as it scatters the Salish Sea and Mount Baker with deep pink hues. 

Unrivaled San Juan Islands Vacation Homes 

It doesn’t take long to realize the San Juan Islands have some pretty amazing spots for watching sunsets. After catching some picturesque views, feel right at home with a wide range of lodging options from Northwest Island Escapes. Whether in Lopez Island, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, or La Conner; our eclectic collection of vacation rentals has something for you! Check availability online or contact us today!

Unique Nuptials: San Juan Islands Wedding Venues

A young couple ties the knot at one of the many San Juan Islands wedding venues.

With laid-back communities, outdoor recreation options, and gorgeous surroundings, it’s no surprise that many people choose the San Juan Islands for a unique vacation. But what some travelers may not realize is there is a wide range of San Juan Islands wedding venues that are equally amazing. Thankfully, Northwest Island Escapes has an excellent selection of lodging options to put you near everything you need for an unforgettable ceremony. And to help give you some ideas, we’ll share a few places that might be a perfect fit for you and your guests!

Wedding Services on the San Juan Islands

Before sharing some of the San Juan Islands’ wedding venues, check out the nearby wedding services. You’ll be delighted to find a wide variety of planners, officiants, chefs, bakers, florists, and more! Now, on to the venues!

7 Unique San Juan Islands Wedding Venues

Since many couples prefer to say “I do” during summer and fall, winter is an excellent time to start thinking about where to have your celebration. After all, the winter holidays are a popular time to pop the question! And with so many San Juan Islands wedding venues, you may wonder which one is right for you and that special someone. Here are a few spots you may want to consider.

  • The Victorian Valley Chapel on Orcas Island is a small wedding venue for seating up to 100 guests and offering an intimate setting surrounded by towering evergreen trees.
  • Outlook Inn on Orcas Island has everything from planning to catering. The chapel, gardens, and waterfront vistas are a charming way to start your love story.
  • If you’re looking for a larger venue, The Lopez Center for Community and the Arts has a south-facing veranda boasting a picturesque backdrop. They also have a fully-equipped kitchen, audio equipment, and an outdoor pavilion.
  • Brickworks Event Center is a quaint San Juan Island wedding venue offering ideal proximity to the ferry landing in the epicenter of Friday Harbor.
  • For a more luxurious wedding venue, the San Juan Island Yacht Club has an elegant facility with scenic views of the Port of Friday Harbor Marina.
  • Friends of Lime Kiln This historic lighthouse is an intimate and very unique venue at Lime Kiln Point State Park. This beautiful facility is perfect for anyone who wants a smaller ceremony. 
  • Odd Fellows Hall on Orcas Island features a 2,300 square-foot dance hall a quick stroll from the Eastsound Village. The waterfront patio and large deck make for the perfect outdoor wedding venue.

San Juan Islands Vacation Rental Lodging

The best part about choosing a San Juan Islands wedding venue for your special day is having you and your guests stay at vacation rentals available through Northwest Island Escapes! Whether you need a well-appointed honeymoon spot, guest accommodations, or a place to relax after the party, we’re here to help make your nuptials nothing short of fantastic!

Rejuvenating Retreats: A San Juan Islands Spa Experience

A relaxed patron enjoying a San Juan Islands Spa experience.

As we face another winter, nurturing your well-being is crucial. And as diligently as we embrace the coldest part of the year, there’s no denying that less sunshine and less-than-balmy weather can be tough to push through. Finding time to revitalize your senses and bring stability to your mind, body, and spirit can seem like a fleeting proposition. Still, one of the best ways to adjust energy is to take some time for yourself. With that in mind, Northwest Island Escapes would like to share some places to help create a San Juan Islands spa experience that will help you rejuvenate.

Orcas and San Juan Island Spas

With so many year-round outdoor activities on the San Juan Islands, it’s understandable that you may be seeking relaxation between days of exploration and adventure. Even if you don’t do a lot of physical activity, you might want to allow your brain to decompress. It’s hard to find someone who couldn’t benefit from a nice massage or beauty treatment. Thankfully there are a few San Juan Islands spas, massage therapists, and beauticians that will help you feel like new.

San Juan Island

  • Madrona Massage is a modest and inviting massage studio in Friday Harbor specializing in myofascial release.
  • Spa d’Bune is an empowering salon and day spa offering hair and nail services, facials, waxing, and tinting. 
  • Lavendera Massage is committed to helping you discover your best self with stress-reducing massages, Reiki, and couple’s sessions—among many other services.
  • Gentry Aesthetics offers a suite of customizable skin-care services catering to your needs and lifestyle. They’ll use top-of-the-line products to ensure your mental and physical well-being.

Orcas Island

  • Liberté Beauty provides a welcoming atmosphere that uses a science-based approach to beauty while utilizing plant products to help care for you with facials, lash and brow tinting, sugaring, and micro retreats.
  • A Massage by the Sea offers a broad spectrum of wellness services ranging from back and neck massages to sound therapy and acupuncture. 

Excellent San Juan Islands Lodging for a Wellness Retreat

The San Juan Islands offer the perfect opportunity to create a blissful spa experience, from beauty treatments to massage and acupuncture services. And the best part is, you don’t have to stay at an expensive resort! Northwest Island Escapes has a vast collection of vacation rentals on the San Juan Islands that are an excellent complement to each rejuvenating session. To find out more and start planning your getaway, please reach out online or call 800-391-8190 today!

Check out our blog page for more things to do on the San Juan Islands!

Things to Do at Moran State Park

A stunning panoramic view from Mount Constitution at Moran State Park.

One of the best parts about visiting the San Juan Islands is immersing yourself in nature. From kayaking to biking and everything in between, it’s no secret that our beloved archipelago lends itself to several outdoor activities. And with an average daytime temperature of 45 to 50 degrees during the winter, visitors can enjoy these experiences year-round. No matter the season you want to plan your vacation, Moran State Park on Orcas Island is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. And if you’re searching for lodging on the San Juan Islands that provides more than just a place to stay, Northwest Island Escapes has you covered!

7 Moran State Park Activities

With several miles of trails, scenic overlooks, and five lakes, it’s no surprise that Moran State Park is a popular destination for locals and visitors. If you’re wondering how to spend your time there, we have a few ideas worth considering.

  • Drive, bike or hike to the top of Mount Constitution for panoramic views of the San Juan Islands. Maybe you can see your vacation rental with a pair of binoculars!
  • Depending on the time of year, you can swim, kayak, or paddleboard on one of the five lakes. Cascade and Mountain Lake are the biggest.
  • Fishing is another excellent way to enjoy the lakes. Rainbow trout are the most popular target for anglers.
  • There are 55 unsheltered picnic tables if you’d like to enjoy an outdoor lunch.
  • Bird watching and wildlife viewing will allow you to mark a few species off your checklist.
  • At the Summit Visitor Center, you can learn about geology and ecology from April through October.
  • The trails at Moran State Park are excellent for biking and hiking. They also offer six miles of horseback riding trails!

San Juan Islands Vacation Rentals near Moran State Park

Whether you’re looking for a suite in Friday Harbor or a secluded seaside cottage, you’ll have access to Moran State Park. You can either stay in one of our many Orcas Island vacation rentals or use the ferry to go from island to island. We’re happy to say our guests will have the perfect opportunity to experience one of the San Juan’s favorite recreational areas! To learn more and start planning your vacation, reach out to us online today!

Take In the Sights on San Juan Islands Seaplane Tours

A white seaplane lands after a scenic tour of the San Juan Islands.

The Pacific Northwest is known for its breathtaking natural beauty. When planning your getaway with Northwest Island Escapes to the San Juan Islands, you’ll soon discover there is no shortage of ways to surround yourself with stunning scenery. The possibilities are endless, from going for a picnic in the park to creating a self-guided bike tour. If you’re looking for a truly memorable way to take in the beauty of the San Juan Islands, fly high on seaplane tours. 

A Guide to 3 High-Flying San Juan Islands Tours

Going for a seaplane tour allows you to take in views of the San Juan Islands that are often reserved for the birds. Most tours take off from Friday Harbor, a charming town close to the ferry landing. 

  1. Friday Harbor Seaplanes offers a roughly 20-minute tour that travels around the island. On your excursion, take in views of Mount Baker, Limekiln Point Lighthouse, the surrounding islands, and more. You might even be able to spot whales and seals.
  2. Get an aerial view of the San Juan Island Archipelago with San Juan Airlines. The hour-long outing departs from several different points, including Lopez Island and Friday Harbor. During your adventure, keep your eyes open to see what landmarks and aquatic life you can spot.
  3. Board a plane from Westwind Aviation to experience views of the islands on a 45-minute flight. This tour takes you over all the islands, including Lopez, Shaw, Center, Orcas, San Juan, and Sucia. There is a three-person minimum for this flight.

For more recommendations on scenic tours, our local and knowledgeable staff is here to help.

Start Planning Your Memorable Washington Escape Today

If you’re ready for a break from the hustle and bustle of life, pack your bags and head to a San Juan Islands vacation rental from Northwest Island Escapes. Our luxurious but cozy accommodations are perfect for relaxing after a day filled with adventures like seaplane tours or fishing.
Our inventory of homes includes properties in a range of sizes and styles, which means we can host groups large and small. Browse our collection online to find the perfect home base for your next visit. If you have any questions about which vacation home fits your group best, call us at 360-378-3601.

Have a Picnic in the Park on the San Juan Islands

A romantic couple enjoys a lovely picnic in the park on San Juan Island.

Eating is often considered a cornerstone of most successful vacations. As travelers rethink and rediscover their dining preferences, where to enjoy their food becomes a topic of discussion. Despite the nearby restaurants, there’s something special about settling down amid nature with your favorite delectables for a picnic in the park. And if you’re not into preparing your food, takeout is usually available. From beautiful beaches to scenic overlooks, the San Juan Islands are teeming with excellent picnicking areas, and Northwest Island Escapes is here to point you in the right direction.

Picnics in the Park: A Unique San Juan Islands Experience

The San Juan Islands have several excellent places to enjoy a picnic with an endless array of parks and beaches. And if you’d rather stay close to home while eating, many of our vacation rentals offer ideal on-site locations for eating outside. Still, as much as we appreciate knowing our guests can take advantage of our many lodging amenities, we always encourage you to explore our beloved isles. Here are three places we think you’ll enjoy.

Mount Constitution at Moran State Park on Orcas Island

Standing at nearly 2500 feet, Mount Constitution is the highest point on the San Juan Islands. On sunny days, you’ll enjoy sweeping panoramic distant views of the Cascades! You can bring your picnic lunch near the very top while reading the interpretive signage along the way.

Spencer Spit State Park on Lopez Island

Spencer Spit State Park is well-known for hiking, biking, and boating. The wave-tattered shoreline offers a soft sand beach that becomes more comfortable with a picnic blanket. The idyllic scenery from scattered driftwood adds to the natural beauty, so you may want to have your camera along to capture a few memorable moments.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island

Lime Kiln Point State Park is arguably the best place to watch marine life, including orca whales, from shore. The craggy landscape on the west side of San Juan Island makes for a unique picnic venue, but you may want to set up on one of the various tables if sitting on rocks makes you uncomfortable. Although this park is popular among both residents and visitors, it’s not difficult to find tranquil solitude while enjoying lunch or a delicious charcuterie board.

San Juan Islands Vacation Rental Lodging

The three spots we shared only scratch the surface of the many places you can enjoy a picnic in the park on the San Juan Islands. Still, now you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. No matter where you decide to enjoy your outdoor eating experience, we’re confident that you’ll want to do it more than once. Thankfully, we have a collection of homes near several ideal picnic spots. Please visit us online to find out which San Juan Islands vacation rental is right for you, or call 800-391-8190.

Make Your Own San Juan Islands Bike Tour

A young boy and his older brother hit the trails on a San Juan Islands bike tour.

Jumping on a bike tour is a great way to see a lot of the San Juan Islands. There are numerous biking paths and bike rental businesses here. But first, you should look over the excellent selection of vacation rentals through Northwest Island Escapes. Please book directly with us, and start planning your biking expedition in the San Juan Islands today. For now, we’ll share with you the best places to rent a bike and where you can take that bike for a tour on any of the islands in the San Juan Islands.

Best Bike Rental Businesses in the San Juan Islands

Before you get to the bike paths on the San Juan Islands, you might need to find a bike rental business. Multiple businesses on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez islands are worth checking out. Here are some to take a look at before your arrival. 

Best Bike Trails in the San Juan Islands

Once you find the perfect place to rent a bike, you need to use it! The good news is that there are plenty of bike trails to explore and see some of the best sights in the San Juan Islands. Depending on the island you are on, you can find a route from whatever business you choose to rent from while you are visiting. Here’s a rundown of some of the best bike trails and paths.

See Everything You Can In A Day On A Bike

Getting on a bike is one of the best ways to tour so much of what makes the San Juan Islands so fantastic. The bike rentals aren’t the only rentals that will dazzle you. With vacation rentals on Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island, Northwest Island Escapes is here to provide your home away from home. To start planning your biking getaway on the San Juan Islands, please visit us online or call 800-391-8190 today!

3 Unique San Juan Islands Vacation Rentals on the Waterfront

A San Juan Islands vacation rental on the waterfront.

As summer makes its way over the horizon, the time to finalize your vacation plans draws near. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast looking for your next adventure, lovebirds fantasizing about their first getaway, or a family seeking a much-needed retreat, the San Juan Islands present an intriguing opportunity. From kayaking in the sea to simply taking in the sights, our beloved archipelago has several options for discerning travelers. Arguably the most alluring factor to consider when looking for where to stay in our slice of paradise is whether you want to take advantage of the oceanside vistas. Thankfully, Northwest Island Escapes has a stunning array of dazzling San Juan Islands vacation rentals with easy access to the waterfront.

Limestone Lodge | San Juan Island

Boasting stellar views from each room, Limestone Lodge resides on the northeast section of San Juan Island. This spectacular waterfront vacation rental is teeming with wildlife and outdoor amenities, including a spacious deck. The main building has two bedrooms, one with two queen-sized beds and another with one queen-sized bed. The en-suite washroom features a large tub with a shower handle that invites you to appreciate the views of the San Juan Channel while enjoying a refreshing soak. The living area offers comfortable seating arrangements with easy access to the kitchen and dining room. Finally, the garage has a full-sized bunk bed, a standard queen-sized bed, and a TV and Xbox game console.

Blake’s Point Estate | Orcas Island

Blake’s Point Estate showcases the pinnacle of life on Orcas Island with three sprawling beaches, two decks, and nature-inspired landscaping. The private waterfront and four ample bedrooms are only the beginning. You’ll enjoy an expansive great room with comfy sofas, chairs, and a gaming table on the lower level. On one side, the dining room offers abundant seating and a convenient kitchen bar. On the west side, there is a large primary bedroom with a king-sized bed and luxurious mattress. The second downstairs bedroom doubles as a home office with a desk area. Upstairs are two more bedrooms, each with en-suite bathrooms featuring combination tub-shower enclosures. The main outdoor amenity is a massive viewing deck perfect for sunsets and stargazing.

Cedars by the Sea | Lopez Island

Complemented by a private beach, jaw-dropping vantage points, and a convenient mooring buoy, Cedars by the Sea is a consummate waterfront vacation rental for those looking to maximize their island experience. Ideally situated between the Lopez ferry landing and Odlin County Park, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the nearby coastal attractions. The great room is an inviting space featuring a fireplace and large windows. Each of the two bedrooms is equipped with queen-sized beds, with the primary bedroom opening to the deck. A third sleeping area also contains a set of bunks suitable for kiddos.

Waterfront Vacation Rentals in the Sand Juan Islands

A long deck running alongside the exterior of a San Juan Islands waterfront vacation rental.

The three waterfront vacation rentals highlighted above are just a few examples showcasing the immaculate shorelines of the San Juan Islands. Each island has distinct landmarks and attractions, so be sure to research before deciding on a rental. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us online to learn more about the San Juan Islands and how Northwest Island Escapes can provide well-appointed accommodations for an unforgettable retreat, or call 800-391-8190.

Check out our blog page for more things to do and places to stay in the San Juan Islands!

5 Things to Do with Kids in the San Juan Islands

A family with kids smiles while contemplating things to do in the San Juan Islands.

The San Juan Islands present an idyllic family getaway destination with scenic landscapes and fresh ocean air. Still, finding things to do with kids can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially with so many options! And even though they seem to have infinite energy, children can burn out quickly if they become bored. As we make our way closer to summer, many families will be looking for new ways to bond and make memories during a much-needed retreat. To help guide you on keeping everyone engaged and having fun, the team at Northwest Island Escapes compiled a quick list of San Juan Island kids’ activities the whole family can enjoy.

Family Activities in the San Juan Islands

Whether you have toddlers or teenagers, your kids will love exploring the San Juan Islands. There is a wide range of attractions and things to do, so it’s worth planning how to spend your time. The good news is that you’ll have a stunning collection of vacation rentals on San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Islands that will put you close enough to the action. It’s no surprise that our beloved archipelago is a regional vacation hub. 

San Juan Island Memories | 5 Things to Do With Kids

From outdoor adventures to indoor educational entertainment, the San Juan Islands are teeming with things to do that will keep everyone busy. Whether your kiddos want to learn about marine life or spend time at Moran State Park, the possibilities are endless! Here are five of our favorites!

  • The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor is a San Juan Island staple. This educational mainstay features two floors of exhibits, including an extensive natural history gallery, artwork, models, and artifacts. If your kids would rather learn by seeing living specimens, there are several whale watching and other wildlife tours throughout the islands.
  • The San Juan Islands have three different skateparks, one on each island. Surf concrete at Orcas Island Skatepark, see a pro demo at Lopez Skatepark, or catch air at San Juan County Fairgrounds Skatepark in Friday Harbor. Rip it up!
  • The Lime Kiln Lighthouse on San Juan Island is just one of many iconic lighthouses scattered throughout the Salish Sea. Lime Kiln takes visitors one step further by providing insightful tours, an interpretive center, and family activities.
  • Kayaking along the island shores is an immersive way to reconnect with your family and the great outdoors. There are several kayaking tours and rental companies from which to choose.
  • Moran State Park is arguably the San Juan Islands’ most comprehensive outdoor adventure area. You can hike trails, try fishing, go swimming, have a picnic, launch your boat, or visit Mount Constitution, the highest point in the San Juans!

San Juan Islands Vacation Rentals

Now that you have a few ideas of things to do on the San Juan Islands with kids, it’s time to choose your home base! With vacation rentals on Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island, Northwest Island Escapes is here to provide your home away from home and easy access to all types of family activities. To start planning your family getaway on the San Juan Islands, please visit us online or call 800-391-8190 today!

What to Know About Fishing in the San Juan Islands

An angler looks off in the distance while fishing in the San Juan Islands.

Fishing in the San Juan Islands is intriguing because it offers the ocean’s excitement with the simplicity of freshwater inland lakes. As such, angling has become a popular thing to do for locals and visitors alike. From the shores of Cascade Lake to the Rosario Strait, you’ll find everything from bass to halibut. And whether you plan on enlisting the help of a fishing charter or going on a solo adventure, Northwest Islands Escapes has the perfect basecamp for angling adventures in the San Juans! 

Inland Fishing in the San Juan Islands

All three primary San Juan Islands (Lopez, Orca, and San Juan) have decent fishing lakes. Thanks to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, many lakes are stocked with rainbow trout before each season. In addition to stocked fish, you can also find native largemouth bass, yellow perch, and sunfish. 

Egg Lake

With an abundance of lily pads, largemouth bass, and adequate shoreline access, Egg Lake is perfect for casual anglers hoping to wet a line on the northeast side of San Juan Island. You won’t need a boat to navigate this small waterbody at just under seven acres. Egg Lake also has a fishing pier and stocked rainbow trout.

Sportsmans Lake

Sportsmans Lake is significantly larger than Egg Lake and comes with more variety. Located only three and a half miles from Friday Harbor, anglers can try their luck targeting largemouth bass, yellow perch, and sunfish in the summer. There is also a boat launch, but the shoreline is undeveloped, making it difficult to fish on foot.

Hummel Lake

Hummel Lake has an area of 35 acres and is the only actual freshwater lake on Lopez Island. Like many San Juan Islands fishing lakes, largemouth bass dominate Hummel. Still, eager anglers will also find rainbow trout during early spring and bluegill throughout the summer. Hummel Lake is also big enough for small watercraft that come in handy when navigating through heavy vegetation.

Moran State Park

Boasting four different inland lakes, Moran State Park on Orcas Island offers arguably the best freshwater fishing in the San Juans. For kokanee salmon and various trout species, check out the scenic Mountain Lake. If you haven’t had your fill of largemouth bass and rainbow trout, stop by idyllic Cascade Lake, which also has kokanee and cutthroat trout. Finally, if you want to mix in a bit of hiking, Twin Lakes is only accessible via a hike from Mountain Lake but rewards visits with a tranquil fishing experience.

3 Saltwater Fishing Charters in the San Juan Islands

With a healthy population of halibut, lingcod, and various salmon species, the San Juan Islands are teeming with excellent saltwater fishing opportunities! Although some fishermen and women would like to try saltwater angling on their own, there is no shame in finding assistance from a local charter service. 

Where to Stay on the San Juan Islands

Now that you know what to expect while fishing on the San Juan Islands, you’ll want to find a place to stay! Thankfully, NW Island Escapes offers a stunning array of vacation rentals awaiting your arrival. To start planning your angling escape, reach out online or call 800-391-8190.