What Makes the San Juan Islands So Special?

There are a lot of amazing places in the world. So why do people come to the San Juans?

The San Juan Islands have a network of complex ecosystems. The diversity of whales and wildlife, the scenic vistas, the calm island culture - it’s hard to imagine until you experience it.

The islands have more nesting pairs of bald eagles than any other county in the Contiguous U.S. They're also home to the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, an array of seals and sea lions, porpoises, humpback and minke whales, and a variety of other wildlife. In fact, after nearly 100 years of presumed extinction, the dainty Island Marble Butterfly was rediscovered in 1998 by researchers at American Camp on San Juan Island.

Southern Residents in the San Juan Islands by Jim Maya Photography

We have a responsibility to protect the places we love. Because while the beauty here feels powerful, it’s still quite fragile. More and more people realize that the reasons they come to the San Juan Islands, are also the reasons to care for and protect them.

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We try to experience the islands gently. It’s about balance.  So that we can share what makes the San Juan Islands special with the next generations. Learn how you can help preserve the islands below.

San Juan Islands Aerial at sunset, Photography by Jack Riley 2

We practice the seven principles of "Leave No Trace" to ensure the pristine beaches and beautiful forest trails stay that way. We encourage visitors to "Be Whale Wise" as they learn about and admire the magnificent killer whales.  We seek ways to give back while vacationing in the San Juans and support local efforts to care for the environment. 

The islands bring you square into the living room of mother nature. They inspire and immerse, reconnect and invigorate you. They remind you that we don't just witness nature - we're part of it.

How will the islands inspire you?  How will they “speak” to you?

San Juan Islands marine life by Mark Gardner

Leave No Trace

Learn how to travel kindly in the San Juan Islands