San Juan Islands

Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 12:56 PM
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San Juan Islands

We have 3 days to see some of the San Juan Islands, the first part of September. What would be some recommendations to stay convenient enough to do "island hopping"? What are some favorite places to see while there for such a short time? Also, we want to rent bikes so need advise on where is a good spot to do this. OR--can you rent mopeds to go about the islands? Thanks.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 01:59 PM
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Well, my personal preference is to stay on Orcas--I just like the "feel", if you will, of that island the best. And if you can get in, Spring Bay Inn is my favorite place to stay on Orcas. But you don't say whether you're a couple or a family, or what your budget is, so that may not be a good fit for you. Perhaps you could post again about the type of accommodations you're looking for.

To do/see: sea kayaking, hiking in Moran State Park, driving around and visiting cool places like Orcas Island Pottery.

You can rent bikes or mopeds at the ferry dock on Orcas. A day or half day trip over to Lopez would be great for cycling, since it's flatter than Orcas and less busy than San Juan Island.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 02:05 PM
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There have been some excellent trip reports, as well as general threads, about the islands recently if you search.
Island hopping is somewhat time consuming due to the ferry waits. There's only 3 islands with accomodation, and I don't think any of them are better placed than any of the others to island hop. If you have 3 full days, pick 2 islands at the most. You could either divide your time or base yourself on one, while visiting the other for a full day.

Bikers usually like Lopez the best, since it's the flattest and has little car traffic. Orcas is the hilliest, so hardest for biking, but it's also the most scenic and has a great state park with amazing views, hiking trails, lakes, waterfalls, etc. San Juan has a great National Historical Park and most whale watching tours are based from there. It's also generally easy to spot whales from shore here.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 02:20 PM
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I topped an excellent trip report for you.
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Old Aug 22nd, 2006, 04:45 PM
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Also-there is a very nice article (cover story) on Orcas in this month's Sunset Magazine (PNW edition).
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Old Aug 27th, 2006, 11:04 PM
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Not sure exactly your dates for going, but you say the first part of September. If it is during Sept 2 and 3 (over Labor Day wkend), Lopez Island is having its 10th annual Studio tour every day from 10 to 5. There will be 23 studios open representing 32 artists. A lot are located near the village. You could bike it or they will be having a bus, but you need to reserve in advance for the bus. For more info check out: www.lopezisland.com/studiotour
We just got back from the San Juans and I got to bike on Lopez for the first time. It was great. We took our bikes with us but there were rentals at the fabulous Spencer Spit State Park. I'm sure there are rentals elsewhere. The only really difficult hill is supposed to be the long rise from the ferry landing. I didn't have to do that. It was really lovely riding. There wasn't much traffic. The views were lovely - lots of farms and views of the water. The town has nice places to sit down and have a drink and snack, plus some very good gallaries and a few shops. Very laid back. I don't think you'd have to wait at the ferries at all if you walked on. Lopez is just south of Orcas Island.
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