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5 Ways To Experience Hygge In The San Juan Islands

Hygge (pronounce hoo-ga) ) is found in life’s simple pleasures. It’s a Danish term that refers to feelings of coziness, contentment, and togetherness – especially in the cold winter months. Find Hygge in the San Juan Islands by enjoying the following small pleasures.

Try the Japanese art of "shin-rin-yoku," more commonly known as "forest bathing." Wash off the stress of 2019 with a cleansing stroll through a lush, mossy wonderland. Enjoy Moran State Park's waterfalls, sweeping views from Young Hill, and the peaceful stillness of Hummel Lake Preserve. Breath in the fresh smell of rain - and maybe even jump in a puddle or two! Here's a list of our other favorite forest bathing locales:

Turtleback Mountain

Turtleback Mountain, Eastsound ; 360-378-2461

Jakle's Lagoon/Mt. Finlayson, San Juan Island National Historical Park

Cattle Point Rd., Friday Harbor ; (360)378-2240 x2233

Lopez Hill

Lopez Hill Trailhead, Lopez South Road, Lopez Island ; 360-890-7447

Shark Reef Sanctuary

Shark Reef Rd., Lopez Island ; (360) 378-8420

The word hygge comes from a sixteenth-century Danish term, hugga, meaning “to comfort” or “to console." Closely related to the English word “hug,” hugga and hygge encourage closeness and community. Create a sense of well-being for yourself by basking in the glow of those you love.  Enjoy a weekend away with friends, family, or that special someone, and find comfort in togetherness. Cook a meal together with fresh, local ingredients, challenge each other to a board game, or explore the many art galleries and local shops together. Check out island museums as well, listed below:

Lopez Island Historical Society & Museum

28 Washburn Pl., Lopez Island ; (360) 468-2049

Orcas Island Historical Museums

181 North Beach Rd., Eastsound ; (360) 376-4849

San Juan Historical Society & Museum

405 Price St., Friday Harbor ; (360) 378-3949

San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA)

540 Spring St., Friday Harbor ; (360) 370-5050

The Whale Museum

62 First St. N., Friday Harbor ; (800) 946-7227 ext. 30

Find hygge in the beckoning aroma of local bakeries and chocolate shops. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Orcas Island's famous Brown Bear Baking or Friday Harbor Chocolates, a small shop known for its mouth-watering array of treats and port wines. Indulge in lattes topped with foam hearts from local coffee shops sprinkled throughout the Islands. Looking for a taste of the San Juans? Let talented island chefs warm you from the inside out with farm-to-table dishes featuring winter vegetables, foraged herbs, and fresh seafood. From hearty soups and stews to decadent desserts, creative chefs are always serving up something new. Click HERE to find island dining.

Trade the glow of your phone for the flicker of candlelight and enjoy slowing down. Put down the electronics and pick up your favorite book. Get back to that scarf you've been trying to knit or pull out your journal for some quiet reflection. Practice yoga at one of the many island studios – or by yourself in the comfort of your water-view room, at the top of your hike, or wherever you feel inspired!  Cuddle up in an island cabin to drink warm cider and swap stories, or dust off a favorite board game for some friendly competition. Embrace Island time, unplug, and be present.

Is there anything more relaxing than a hot soak during the winter? Watch the steam swirl in the crisp air and release your worries to the wind. Relax in a woodland retreat and enjoy a private hot tub outside your yurt at Lakedale Resort. Also on San Juan Island, you'll find hot tubs at the Earthbox Inn, along with complete spa services. On Orcas Island, enjoy Doe Bay Resort and Retreat's sauna and saltwater soaking tubs that overlook the bay. Treat yourself to the hot tubs and spa services at Rosario Resort, along with a fine dining experience at the Mansion Restaurant. Nourish your body with a rejuvenating getaway in the San Juans. Find a list of all island spas HERE. 

Romantic Winter Getaway

Quiet beaches, tranquil forests and fireside dining make the San Juans an easy way to decaffeinate and reconnect with nature.

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