A New Year in the San Juans

Achieving your New Year’s Resolutions in the San Juan Islands

Travel is a top resolution for many people – so why not combine it with other top goals and check off your resolutions in the San Juan Islands?!

1. Eat Healthy

Lopez Farmers Market, Monica Bennett (3)

One of the best ways to eat healthy is to eat local! Try shopping at one of the weekly farmers markets and cook a fresh meal using local ingredients. Find the San Juan Island Farmers Market at Brickworks, the Orcas Island Farmers Market in the Village Green, and the Lopez Island Farmers Market in the village. 

Look for “Island Grown” stickers in the local grocery stores and markets to support San Juan Islands farmers. You can find local products at the San Juan Island Food Co-op and the Orcas Island Food Co-op. Blossom Grocery on Lopez Island also carries local products.

Many local restaurants use fresh, island-grown foods. Experience the flavor of the San Juans along with the peace of mind you’re eating healthy, organic produce. Find local restaurants HERE!


Orcas Island,  hiking Turtle Back Mt, Dana Halfery(1 of 228) (100)

Exercising is a popular resolution for the new year – so why not exercise with a view? Hike the many island trails to scenic vistas, sweeping outer-island views, and historic look-outs. Climb Mount Constitution’s stone tower, wind your way through Young Hill’s forest of mighty Garry Oaks, or take a stroll up Chadwick Hill. No matter which island you choose, there are plenty of options to work up a sweat.

Find your perfect hike HERE!

3. Lose Weight

Orcas Island,  yoga, Dana Halfery

This is a popular resolution. But what if you lost a different kind of weight? What if you lost the weight of stress? In our hectic lives, we're weighed down by busy schedules, stressful jobs, and too much traffic. Lose the weight of city life and seek a change of pace in the islands.

Enjoy island time and shed pounds of tension and worry. Take in the tranquil scenery, visit one of the many relaxing spas, or simply unplug. You'll feel lighter after a trip to the San Juans!

4. Save Money

Biking on San Juan Island by Dana Halferty (4)
Family of 4 Picnicking, Orcas Island, Photography by Robert Harrison

If you're trying to be budget-conscious in the new year, but don't want to miss out on new experiences, consider a budget-friendly getaway to the San Juans! An easy drive from Seattle, the Islands offer the adventure of a far-away destination, without the expensive air travel.

  • Lower your trip costs by parking your vehicle in Anacortes and walking onto the ferry. Use bikes or public transit to navigate the Islands. Tips for GETTING AROUND.
  • Many activities in the San Juans are free! Beach walks and hikes don’t cost a thing! Enjoy the national historical park, a stroll through the San Juan Island Sculpture Park, or public art in the villages and towns – all for free!
  • Shop at the farmers markets and pack a budget-friendly lunch to-go as you explore the Islands. In the summer months, you might even find some road-side berries to snack on!

5. learn a new hobby

Orcas Island Pottery, Tyrone Lee
painter en plein air, San Juan Islands

The new year brings opportunities to better ourselves and broaden our horizons. The Islands are full of creatives, ready to help you learn a new skill or hobby.

  • Enroll in an art class at Alchemy Art Center on San Juan Island. From pottery to print-making, photography to sculpture, the passionate artists at Alchemy are excited to help you try something new.
  • Brush up on your painting skills at the San Juan Island Museum of Art’s “Art for Fun” classes and “Free Family Art Days.” You can also unlock your inner artist at the Orcas Island Winery’s painting  events.
  • Join the active bird-watching community and learn about the interesting avians that call the Islands home. You can also take marine naturalist training or a winter birding workshop at the Whale Museum and immerse yourself in the natural world.

6. read more

Orcas Island, Darvill's Bookstore,  Dana Halfery

Many of us want to spend more time turning pages and less time scrolling through screens. Attracting and inspiring many writers, the Islands are the star of many books. Check out this list of our favorites: Island Books.

Shop local bookshops for your next great read, or attend the Orcas Island Lit Festival and join local and regional writers in sharing their art, wisdom, and know-how. 

7. Focus on Experiences

Orcas Island, camping Moran State Park, Dana Halfery
Orcas Island,  hiking Turtle Back Mt, Dana Halfery

This is the time of year to take stock of what matters most. Often times, it’s not the things we buy, but the memories we make and the experiences we share that have the most impact. This year, spend time connecting with friends and family in the San Juans. Wander where the Wifi is weak and unplug from busy life.

  • Spend time on trails and beaches, island hopping, and exploring this unique archipelago.
  • Embark on wildlife watching tours and learn about the delicate ecosystem of the Salish Sea.
  • Snuggle up with family and friends and play games in a cozy, island cabin.

8. Give back/volunteer

Mitchell Hill Volunteers

The holidays are the season of giving. But why stop at the holidays? You can give back all year long! Volunteer your time and talent with some of the many island organizations.

9. Be more eco-friendly

Tea Salish Sea - Picking Mint
farmers market in the san juan islands

The new year is a great time to start making eco-conscious choices. Cut down on car emissions and take the Bellair Airporter shuttle to the Islands from Seattle. You can also rent e-bikes while touring San Juan Island! 

Many island businesses have made a commitment to be greener by eliminating plastic straws and utensils, banning Styrofoam take-out containers, and avoiding single-use plastics. Follow in their footsteps and support their efforts by using this helpful list: The Last Straw. You can also choose to stay in one of the green lodgings from this list

Find other ways to travel green HERE!

10. be adventurous

Kayaking to Stuart Island by Dana Halferty

2020 is your year to seek adventure! Embark on a multi-day kayak expedition, charter a boat and explore the outer-islands, camp out in a bucket-list destination, and try something new. Whatever adventures are on your list, check them off in the San Juan Islands!

What Makes the Islands Special?

What Makes the Islands Special?

Let the islands inspire new goals, creativity, and curiosity. Learn about the islands and what makes them so special.