Island Hopping in Washington on an RV Vacation

Map of the San Juan Islands

Map of the San Juan Islands

Pack up your gear and gather your family for an RV jaunt to Washington State and a fun experience at island hopping. The San Juan Islands north of Seattle are a gorgeous and unique place where you can get back your basic sense of nature and beauty. Start with a few days in Seattle, Washington, seeing the sights. There are so many fabulous places to go in the city. Don’t miss the famous Space Needle.

As you head north up Interstate 5, stop off in Langus Riverfront Park and get in some hiking. An easy, paved trail takes you over bridges, along dikes and through wetland environments where you will catch glimpses of animals and birds abound. This is the perfect opportunity to stretch your legs before continuing on north to the intersection of I-5 with Highway 20, taking you to the islands.

On Highway 20 head west until you arrive at Anacortes, Washington, the gateway to the San Juan Islands. Visit Old Town, watch the whales or engage in some great shopping. Perhaps a dinner out would be just the thing, so you can go at least one night without fixing your own dinner. Orca watching is best from May through June. You will find RV camping at Fidalgo Bay RV Resort in Anacortes, or you can go ahead and take your RV over to Friday Harbor. The Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes offers RV camping four miles north of Friday Harbor.

Now that you have arrived at the heart of the San Juan Islands, be prepared for a wide variety of things to do and see. Beautiful views, amazing outdoor activities, island life that is tranquil and inspiring – all this awaits you. Explore the seas on a kayak trip, fly around the islands on a biplane or go horseback riding. Pedal a bike around the perimeter of San Juan Island. The choices are incredible.

Cattle Point Lighthouse is a favorite. You can hike to the lighthouse and sit as the sun goes down to really experience a peaceful setting like no other. Eagle Cove Beach is also the spot to go when you love water sports. Swim until your heart’s content. Who can resist the beach in the summer? Certainly not one vacationer! Wander the broad expanse of sand to find tide pools with many colorful sea-life inhabitants.

While in Friday Harbor, be sure to go to the Whale Museum to learn all about these magnificent marine animals. You will find out many fascinating details of the pods that live in these island waters specifically. Stop at Whale Watch Park and enjoy a hike to the Lime Kiln Lighthouse. From here you might see the Olympic Mountains if the day is clear. If you listen very carefully, you may hear the song of the whales.

You will never experience flowers like you will at Pelindaba Lavender Farm. As you tour, you will be amazed at the beauty of lavender and the aesthetics of these marvelous flowers. Then on to San Juan Island National Historical Park! Explore the shoreline, hike the trails and do some birding. There are more than 200 species of lovely migratory birds.

Friday Harbor is quite the place to enjoy island life, even if only for a while. Stroll along the docks, get a whale charter and head out to sea to do some real whale watching. In the summer on Wednesdays you will find Music on the Lawn is relaxing and entertaining. If you brought a bicycle, you will enjoy a bike ride to Shaw Island. This is the smallest of the islands, but not lacking in history or beauty. Check out the Shaw Island Historical Museum and stop at a unique country store that is run by Franciscan nuns. This is a very isolated and pristine spot to get a feel of island life in early days.

If you are visiting San Juan Islands in August, you simply can’t miss the San Juan County Fair. The fairground fun consists of four days of exhibits, horse and dog shows, baking contests, carnival rides and of course, some amazing local foods. RV sites are available for those who have brought their homes along with them, and you should make RV reservations well in advance.

A San Juan Island RV vacation is such a treat for anyone of any age. The islands are filled with history, marine life and tons of outdoor recreational opportunities. There is something for everyone here in northwestern Washington.

Map credits: The map of the San Juan Islands is from the Wikimedia Commons. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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