Fun Facts About The San Juans

  • There are no traffic lights anywhere in the islands. People hardly even honk
  • Just a 30-minute seaplane flight from Seattle or a scenic ride on a Washington State Ferry
  • In summer, passenger ferries connect Bellingham, Port Townsend, and Seattle with the Islands
  • New National Monument Status (1,000 acres) – 2013
  • Orcas Island was named by a Spanish explorer for his expedition’s sponsor, Viceroy Juan Vicente Guemes de Padilla Horcasitas y Aguayo. Just coincidence that it’s also habitat for orca whales!
  • 4 iconic lighthouses on public lands; three open to the public in summer. 
  • Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the U.S and also connects the Islands to Canada
  • San Juan County has more marine shoreline than any other county in the country (408 miles)
  • San Juan County is the first county in the country to ban Jet Skis
  • San Juan County is considered an “Arts Hot Spot” by the Washington State Arts Commission
  • San Juan County is the first county in the U.S. designated as a voluntary “Leave No Trace” area
  • Friday Harbor, San Juan Island: National Trust for Historic Preservation Destination of Distinction
  • World-renowned for shore-based orca whale watching and sea kayaking in the heart of the Salish Sea
  • San Juan County residents are highly ranked nationally and statewide for quality of life, longevity, and physical and mental health, according to recent national studies
  • Roche Harbor’s business license pre-dates Washington statehood. The company, in continuous business since 1886, is now a destination resort offering a spa and five lodging choices—from historic to luxury
  • The “Gourmet Archipelago,” has four shellfish farms, three vineyards, three breweries, one cidery/distillery, and six tasting rooms featuring local and Northwest wines, local beers and locally distilled spirits. Enjoy farm feasts and festivals, in a thriving culinary arts scene
  • San Juan Island National Historical Park commemorates peace over war during the “Pig War” crisis—the last time the U.S. and Great Britain were engaged in a territorial dispute
  • An ordinance banning Styrofoam take-out containers was passed in 2010, followed by a ban on single-use plastic bags in 2016.

Recent Awards:

Travel + Leisure: “Top Islands Continental U.S. and Canada” 2003-2012, 2014 - 2018, 2020-2021

New York Times: #33"52 Places to Go in 2019"

USA TODAY 10Best Reader’s Choice: #1 “Best Washington Attraction” 2017

Travel + Leisure World’s Best Awards: #2 “World’s Friendliest Islands,” 2016

Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice: “Best U.S. Islands for Families,” 2015


MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Nesler 360-378-6822 ext. 6

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San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
1-888-468-3701 | (360) 378-9551
P.O. Box 1330, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
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