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1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

by WBeall Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 12:22 PM

Hi,
My husband and I are celebrating our 1 year anniversary at the end of September and are looking at visiting the San Juan Islands for the weekend. Any Advice as too places to eat, nightlife, shop, whale watch, fish?? We are looking at cabins either on Orca Island or Lummi Island, we are undecided yet due to knowledge of the area and prices. We are flying into Seattle and will be renting a car. Since we are going to be on our anniversary we would like to stay in a place that is secluded and has ocean views. We found a couple places but we are open to more suggestions.

Thank you in advance for any help!
Whitney from Texas

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: 1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

    by glabah Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 1:36 PM

    Food and gasoline tend to be a bit higher in price there than on the mainland, but the good news is that places to eat don't last long if they are bad. So, the best suggestion is to explore, find some place that looks good, take a look at the menu posted in the window, and if it looks good try it.

    Lummi Island is quite different than the rest of the islands due to its having a separate ferry out of Bellingham rather than Anacortes.

    Do you bike much? On the rest of the San Juan Islands (outside Lummi) getting around by bike can be better than driving as you have far fewer limitations on what ferry you can take to get to other islands or back to the mainland.

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  • WBeall's Profile Photo

    Re: 1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

    by WBeall Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 4:17 PM

    Thank you! So is Lummi Island not as good as the others? I am finding that the cabins are cheaper and so is the ferry going to that island. But the Cabin I found on Orca Island is my favorite, it is just more expensive and the ferry it as well. Yes we like to ride bikes so if we decide not to rent a car and to just get a bike, is Orca Island small enough or would we be riding bikes for hours just to get to the nearest bar/restaurant?

    Again thank you for your help.
    Whitney

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: 1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

    by glabah Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    Each of the islands has its own little personality. Lummi Island isn't large, and it isn't connected with the rest of the islands so it isn't as much a part of the San Juan Islands network as the rest of the islands. I've not been there so I can't give too much information about it. It has no major cities on it. It also requires going north all the way to Bellingham to get to it.

    If you look at Google maps, you can see the various ferry routes coming out of Anacortes, and the ferry route that connect Lummi Island to Bellingham.

    The amount of time taken to get to the nearest restaurant depends a lot on where you wind up. However, none of the islands are extremely huge. For example, Orcas Island is an upside down U shape, that is maybe 7 or 8 miles tall. (Indeed the bike route there is called "The Horseshoe Route"). The far end of the island is a state park ($10 a day day use fee if you bring a car, but nothing if you bike to there). There are several small towns on the island, so you are maybe looking at perhaps 8 or 10 miles at most one way, just in terms of the longest theoretical trip, from the southern most point on the island to the northern most point that is likely to have anything you are interested in. Most likely, you will get somewhere closer than this to one of the several towns.

    San Juan Transit also offers bus service on Orcas Island in the summer only, but I think their "summer" service ends sometime in mid-September. (They are also one of the few transit agencies in the country to offer kayak and whale watching trips - see the right side menu of their web site):
    http://www.sanjuantransit.com/

    Also, be aware that there is an airport van service that operates from the SeaTac airport to Anacortes and connects with the ferry there, so if your arrival timing meets their schedule you may not have to drive from the SeaTac airport at all. Traffic through Seattle can be a huge pain in the rear, and avoiding driving anywhere near Seattle is usually high on my priority list when I visit the Puget Sound region. The airport bus can use the carpool lanes to get through Seattle
    http://www.islandairporter.com/
    I'm not sure how they handle passengers going to, say, Orcas Island but I would think they would have a way for those getting off at intermediate ferry stops to do so.

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  • glabah's Profile Photo

    Re: 1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

    by glabah Online Now Feb 12, 2013 at 8:47 PM

    Oh, and in answer to the question you ask on the other forum: are you likely to see whales from Lummi Island.

    It is hard to say, as they do move around. Sometimes they are seen very far south in Puget Sound, but it seems that in September they are almost always out between Orcas Island and San Juan Island and Vancouver Island.

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  • zuriga's Profile Photo

    Re: 1 year anniversary trip to The San Juan Islands

    by zuriga Online Now Feb 13, 2013 at 7:13 AM

    Quite a long time ago, I stayed at Friday Harbor House which was very nice. It's on San Juan Island and, although, right near the ferry dock, it had beautiful views and a nice restaurant. It might not be as secluded as you'd like but it's another option. In fact, I'm thinking of a return there later this year as my son lives in Seattle and we go there often.

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