Island Blog

5 Reasons to Visit the San Juans Year-Round

Some of the best things about the San Juans happen in the off-season


Reconnect with nature in springtime

With about half the rainfall of Seattle, the islands are spectacular in the springtime. Wildflowers, poppies and lilacs are in bloom, and you can spot baby lambs and goats at play in the fields, or maybe even catch a glimpse of a fox kit or fawn. Whale watching tours start up in the spring, and the parks and beaches are uncrowded for amazing kayaking or hiking. Moran State Park is open for mountain biking until mid-May.

Spring Break Specials & Events


History Lives Here in May

When you step off the ferry, history is everywhere, from the old clapboard buildings in Friday Harbor, to historic hotels and barns along the Scenic Byway. In May, local history lovers and history museums plan special events to highlight various aspects of island history, during National History Month. Guided walking tours, local history talks, and other fun history-related events make May a fun time to visit with the family.

History Lives Here Specials & Events


Savor the San Juans in the Fall

Two unique film festivals—the Friday Harbor Film Festival and the Orcas Island Film Festival—make an autumn getaway an artistic feast, as the “gourmet archipelago” sets the table to experience the bounty of the islands at its peak from mid-September to early November.

Farm tours and farmers markets on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan Islands make you feel a part of the local culture, where amazingly fresh food is on the menus of many local restaurants, and you can meet the farmers face-to-face.

Savor the San Juans: A Celebration of Food, Farms & Film.


Do the Holidays Island-Style

If you are looking for a way to get away from holiday stress, the small-town vibe of the San Juans from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is a great escape. There's always a celebratory lineup of festive events offering plenty of ways to keep friends and families busy, from holiday plays and concerts to wine tastings and dinners, special restaurant and lodging packages and more. But you can also slow way down, with small-town celebrations including three tree lighting ceremonies in Eastsound Village Green, Lopez Village and Friday Harbor to brighten up the chilly nights, with carolers, cookies, hot cider and good cheer.

Holiday Events and Specials


Romance your Winter

The quiet season is all about chilling out—and keeping warm. It's the best time of year to take a serene walk on a pebbled beach—or watch a storm blow in—depending on Mother Nature's mood. Read a book by the fire in your cozy room, or get out and delight in our art galleries, bookstores and boutiques. Explore a museum—historical or all about whales—or take in a performance at a community playhouse. Satisfy your appetite at a bakery, over lunch in a water-view restaurant, or with a delicious dinner savoring local foods, wines and spirits.

Winter Romance Specials & Events