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Responsible Travel To The San Juans

From bringing your own travel mug, to conserving water, to eating locally grown food, sustainable travel is in the air - and the water. Here in the San Juans, our passion for our incredible environment means that we’re also committed to being as kind to it as possible. If you’re looking for ways to make a difference when you travel, check out these tips.

Let us acknowledge that we reside on the ancestral lands and waters of the Coast Salish people who have called this place home since time immemorial and let us honor inherent, aboriginal, and treaty rights that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

What Does Stewardship Mean to You?

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

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The shorter your stay in the islands the more important it is to plan ahead. Booking activities, transportation, lodging, and dining in advance will make your trip run smoothly and you'll be more likely to get your first picks! Most tour operators have generous cancellation policies in case you need to make changes. (Check with individual companies to be sure of their policies.)

Whale Watching

The Southern Resident Killer Whales of Washington State are a federally protected endangered species. We encourage visitors to tour with a licensed whale watch operator who follows the NOAA Be Whale Wise guidelines.  


Paddle your own kayak or set out with one of the many knowledgeable kayaking outfitters. All the guides, and anyone looking to launch their own kayak, are required to go through the Kayak Education and Leadership Program (K.E.L.P.), which informs kayakers on marine wildlife regulations.

Eco-Friendly Lodging

Find lodgings that go the extra mile in terms of recycling, composting, and energy conservation. Take a look at their web pages for more information about their sustainability efforts. Glamping and camping on all three islands also help lower your vacation carbon footprint.

How You Can Help

Three orca pods, J, K & L--the critically endangered "Southern Residents"--were federally listed in 2005, but the population continues to struggle. How can you help?

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Flying into Seattle?

Consider these airlines with carbon offsets and other green programs: United AirlinesDelta Airlines, and Southwest Airlines.

Renting a car?

Look for low-carbon options at these companies at Hertz or Enterprise. There are several Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in San Juan County!

Or go carless!

Take the Bellair Airporter Shuttle from Sea-Tac Airport to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal and walk onto the ferry.  

Sightsee by shuttle

Let the experts do the driving while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. San Juan Transit or Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley 

Rent a hybrid or EV

M&W Auto has great options for eco-friendly touring.

Travel on two wheels

Check out these bike rental options (some include electric assist): Meat Machine Cycles, Discovery Sea, Susie’s Mopeds and Bicycles, Wildlife Cycles, Village Cycles, Lopez Bicycle Works 

Eat Local

Rich in agricultural heritage, restaurants, farms, and other artisan producers in the San Juans cultivate a focus on food grown or foraged only steps from their front door.

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Farmers Markets & Co-Ops

Find pastries, lunch, and snacks at the Saturday farmers markets on Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island. Many local artisan producers also sell their products at the Orcas Food Co-op, San Juan Island Food Co-op and Blossom Grocery on Lopez. 

Island Grown

Many restaurants focus on ingredients from local farms, and their own onsite gardens, such as Doe Bay Cafe and Inn at Ship Bay. These and other restaurants, such as Ursa Minor, Duck Soup, and Friday Harbor House, take it one step further, by foraging for salal berries, Nootka rose and other unique items that grow in the islands. Find a list of where else you can taste island grown foods!

Savor the San Juans

Visit in fall during Savor the San Juans - a celebration of food, farms, and film. Enjoy farm tours, wine dinners, and other food and farm activities while you tour the islands. You'll savor the flavors of an island harvest and experience the San Juans in all their autumnal beauty. 

Shop Local

The best gift from any trip is something made by a local artisan. The islands are full of talented jewelers, painters, clothing designers, sculptors and more. Check out the farmers' markets or the shops scattered across the islands.

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