San Juan Islands Wa. Today, the San Juan Islands are an important tourist destination, with sea kayaking and orca whale-watching by boat or air tours, two of the primary attractions. Politically, the San Juan Islands comprise, by definition, San Juan County, Washington. The majority of the San Juan Islands are quite hilly, the tallest mountain being Mount Constitution at almost exactly a half-mile elevation, with some flat areas and valleys, often quite fertile, in between. The coastlines are a mixed bag of sandy and rocky beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded bays. Gnarled, ochre-colored madrona trees grace much of the shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large inland areas.
The San Juan Islands get less rainfall than Seattle, about 65 miles to the south, due to the rain shadow of Olympic Mountains to the southwest. Summertime high temperatures are around 70 °F while average wintertime lows are in the high thirties and low forties. Snow is infrequent in winter except for the higher elevations, but the islands are subject to high winds at times, those from the northeast sometimes bring brief periods of freezing and Arctic-like windchills. There are no bridges to the San Juan Islands; therefore, all travel from the mainland is either by water or by air.
Three ferry systems serve some of the San Juan Islands.Washington State Ferries serves Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island (typically in that order), from a dock in Anacortes. Puget Sound Express Passenger-only service from Port Townsend, Olympic Peninsula to Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Clipper Navigation Victoria Clipper whale watching to Friday Harbor
Passenger-only ferries serve more islands. Passenger-only ferry service is usually seasonal and offered by private business. San Juan Cruises offers charter service to Eliza Island, Sinclair Island, Blakely Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island and daily seasonal service to San Juan Island from the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Bellingham, Washington. North Shore Charters provides high speed water taxi service to all of the San Juan Islands.
Air service to the San Juan Islands is provided by:Kenmore Air (To & From: Roche Harbor, Orcas Island, Seattle/Boeing Field, Seattle/Lake Union) San Juan Airlines (To &
From: Anacortes, Bellingham, Eastsound (Orcas Island), Lopez Island, Blakely,
Decatur) Northwest Sky Ferry (An inter-island carrier serving: Bellingham,
Anacortes, Friday & Roche Harbors (San Juan Island), Eastsound (Orcas
Island) and Lopez, Waldron, Shaw, Stuart, Blakely, Center, Crane, Decatur and
Eliza Islands, and also to Seattle)