Anyone been to the San Juans lately?

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May 28th, 2009, 08:01 AM
  #1
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Anyone been to the San Juans lately?

My husband and I are trying to decide where we are traveling to this year. I've been reading up on Hawaii a lot, and would really like to see the volcano erupting. But my husband is not really into it. So I've been considering the San Juan Islands also. But I'm not finding as much info as I did several years ago when I researched them. It seemed like a great all around place to stay for a week or so, with beaches, wildlife, fishing, clamming, etc. Are all these still available? I don't want to have to travel too far from there, as we've been to many of the other areas in that region. Any input, please.
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May 28th, 2009, 08:25 AM
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We went Sea Kayaking on San Juan Island.
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May 28th, 2009, 08:37 AM
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We have friends who own a cabin on San Juan Island, and have visited them there the past two summers, and plan to again in another couple months. When we visited 20+ years ago, it was all about crabbing, fishing, shrimping..... These days it's more about solitude, whale watching, bald eagles, kayaking, bicycling... Too many restrictions now on the activities of bygone years. Regardless, I'd bet my wife would agree that we enjoy our time up there more now than back in the day.

As for beaches, I see more people splashing around in lakes, ponds, and pools than I do hanging out at beaches. Trying to recall if I've ever even seen a nice sandy beach up there... But, we've generally stayed close to San Juan Island. An advantage to that is that you can hop a ferry from there to Vancouver Island and spend a day or two in Victoria.
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May 28th, 2009, 08:49 AM
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I think it's safe to say that the main attractions of the islands are all still in place, but popularity takes its toll in high summer, especially when people are looking for lower-cost (shorter-range) travel alternatives.

If you decide to come, maybe you could look at Lopez instead of San Juan or Orcas. Lopez has decent tourist infrastructure, but also has (IMO) a much more laid-back atmosphere, more conducive to bike riding and strolls than more high-energy pursuits.

Along those lines, you might also have a look at the Gulf Islands on the Canadian side of the dotted line. They offer lots of variety and are rather sparsely visited by US residents. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulf_Islands
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May 28th, 2009, 09:11 AM
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If you take gardyloo's suggestion, Salt Spring Island is a gem.
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May 28th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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I agree about Lopez. It is very quiet and lovely!

I have not been to Salt SPring but it's on my short list. We did stay on Mayne Island at The Oceanwood. It was a lovely trip. We ferried over from Vancouver Island.
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May 28th, 2009, 09:26 AM
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I don't think much has changed in the San Juan Islands from a couple years ago. Seriously

But they aren't Hawaii that's for sure!!!
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May 28th, 2009, 04:15 PM
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Thank you so much for all the input! My husband grew up in Washington State and tells stories about clamming, and grunyun, etc. But I saw a lot of warning signs about the clamming and fishing when we were in Washington and Oregon a couple of years ago and I figured that could be a possibility on the islands also.
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May 28th, 2009, 05:53 PM
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I was just up there last week and among other things, had a fantastic day out on the water watching J pod...wish I were back up there now ;-).

American Camp on SJI has a nice sandy beach but I can't say I've heard about any clamming there.

The capt of the whale watch boat did have pictures on the boat of him and some big fish caught locally...not sure how recently though.

But for me, as has been said, the islands are more about things like hiking in Moran St Park on Orcas, driving the back roads to find pottery studios and other surprises (yes, that *was* a camel you just saw, LOL), going sea kayaking, etc.
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