Can You Hear the Eco?
From bringing your own travel mug to eating locally grown food, sustainable travel is in the air - and the water
Here in the San Juans, our passion for our incredible environment means that we’re also committed to being as kind to it as possible. If you’re looking for ways to make a difference when you travel, check out these tips*.
Find Eco-friendly Lodging
These lodgings go the extra mile in terms of recycling, composting and energy conservation. Take a look at their web pages for more information about their sustainability efforts. Glamping and camping on all three islands help lower your vacation carbon footprint.AA
San Juan Island
The Southern Resident Killer Whales of Washington State are a federally protected endangered species. We encourage visitors to tour with a licensed whale watch operator who follows the NOAA Be Whale Wise guidelines. There are also shore-based viewing options on the west side of San Juan Island, including Lime Kiln Point State Park, San Juan County Park, and South Beach at American Camp.
Kayaking is a low-impact way to see more of the beauty of the San Juans from a unique perspective—feeling the breeze, riding the waves, and seeing the wonders of nature up close. Paddle your own kayak or set out with one of the many knowledgeable kayaking outfitters on San Juan, Orcas, or Lopez Island for three-hour to three-day (or longer) tours. All the guides, and anyone looking to launch their own kayak, are required to go through the Kayak Education and Leadership Program (K.E.L.P.), which informs kayakers on marine wildlife regulations and guidelines with the aim of reducing human-powered vessel disturbance.
The shorter your stay in the islands the more important it is to plan ahead. Booking activities, transportation, lodging, and dining in advance will make your trip run smoothly and you'll be more likely to get your first picks! Most tour operators have generous cancellation policies in case you need to make changes. (Check with individual companies to be sure of their policies.)
green ways to get here
Flying into Seattle?
Renting a car?
Look for low-carbon options at these companies:
There are several Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in San Juan County!
Or go carless!
In the Islands
- Sightsee by shuttle: San Juan Transit or Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley
- Rent a hybrid or EV from M&W Auto
- Travel on two wheels with these bike rental options (some include electric assist): Meat Machine Cycles, Discovery Sea, Susie’s Mopeds and Bicycles, Wildlife Cycles, Village Cycles, Lopez Bicycle Works
Rich in agricultural heritage, restaurants, farms, and other artisan producers in the San Juans cultivate a focus on food grown or foraged only steps from their front door.
- Find pastries, lunch, and snacks at the Saturday Farmers' Markets on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Islands.
- Many local artisan producers sell their products at the Orcas Food Co-op, San Juan Island Food Co-op and Blossom Grocery on Lopez.
- Many restaurants focus on ingredients from local farms, and their own onsite gardens, such as Doe Bay Cafe and Inn at Ship Bay. These and other restaurants, such as Ursa Minor, Duck Soup, and Friday Harbor House, take it one step further, by foraging for salal berries, Nootka rose and other unique items that grow in the islands.
The best gift from any trip is something made by a local artisan. The islands are full of talented jewelers, painters, clothing designers, sculptors and more. Check out the farmers' markets, or the villages scattered across the islands. Find other island-made products here.
- In Lopez Village, explore an eclectic mix of galleries, consignment stores, and boutiques.
- Visit the Girl Meets Dirt tasting room on Orcas Island to sample delicious preserves from heritage orchards or give a second life to gently used treasures from the Exchange.
- Shop Spring Street in Friday Harbor or take a tour at Pelindaba Lavender Farm, choose from more than 250 products made from lavender and oil distilled on their farm.