Winter Fun in the San Juans

What to do, where to stay, the best restaurants to find delicious local food, and more during your getaway in December, January and February

The welcome mat is out year-round in the charming and beautiful San Juan Islands of northwest Washington State. Visit the towns, hamlets and villages on the three main islands—Lopez, Orcas and San Juan—all decked in holiday lights. Stroll an empty beach, browse in uncrowded shops. Indulge in a spa treatment, a glass of local wine or beer by the fire and delicious local cuisine. Winter in the San Juans is tranquil and offers a perfect retreat.

Winter Romance


What's the weather like in the San Juans in winter?

With an average daytime temperature of 46-48 degrees Fahrenheit in December, January and February, winter in the San Juan Islands is mild compared with many other regions of the United States. The islands rarely get snow, and experience overcast and rainy days in winter. The islands get about half as much rain as Seattle, on average. Dressing in layers is always a good idea. An overcast morning may turn into a beautiful sunny afternoon, so be prepared with a light jacket to take the place of your rain gear.


Tips for traveling to the San Juans in winter

The ferry schedule changes each season, so it is best to check the schedule as soon as you start to plan your trip. Even though the ferries are less crowded in winter, it is still a good idea to make a reservation. There are many ways to get to the San Juans, including airplane and sea plane or driving onto the ferry at Anacortes, depending on the weather. Often, the weather in the winter is partially overcast and not too cold, perfect for biking the uncrowded roads on Lopez or San Juan Islands.


Things to do in winter on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands offer a host of things to do in winter. The islands have thriving arts communities, with community theaters, art galleries, and museums that are open all year round. The San Juan Islands Museum of Art in Friday Harbor offers wonderful shows featuring stunning work by international, national, regional and local artists. The Whale Museum offers a fun and educational way to spend a drizzly day, with interactive exhibits and real whale skeletons to wonder at. There are concerts, plays and other performances all year round at the Orcas Center, the Lopez Center for Community and the Arts, and the San Juan Community Theatre.

Winter outdoor activities are an amazing way to get back in touch with nature—and yourself.  Hiking and biking are spectacular, when the trails are empty and the woods are quiet. And there are a few whale and wildlife watching tours running in winter, depending on the weather.



Where to stay? Best lodging options for the winter season

From cozy bed-and-breakfast inns to historic hotels on the water, there are a myriad of lodging options to choose from in winter. Rates are lower, and a wide selection of rooms are available in the quiet months. Watch our Winter Romance Specials & Events page for the best rates.

Winter Wonders of the San Juan Islands

Find a cozy bed and breakfast inn, historic hotel or vacation home as homebase for your winter getaway to the San Juans.