San Juan Islands are a part of the San Juan Archipelago in
the northwest corner of the continental United States. The
archipelago is split into two groups of islands based on national
sovereignty. San Juan Islands are part of the U.S. state of
Washington, while the Gulf Islands are part of the Canadian
province of British Columbia. There are over 450 islands in
the entire archipelago at high tide, but fewer than one-sixth
are inhabited, and only six are accessible by public ferry.
Today, the San Juan Islands are an important tourist destination,
with sea kayaking and orca-watching being two of the primary
attractions. Part of the charm that attracts tourists and
residents to the San Juan Islands is that each island seems
to have a character of its own, both in terms of geography
and of the lifestyle of the people who live there.
The majority of the San Juan Islands are quite hilly, the
tallest mountain being Mount Constitution at almost exactly
a half-mile (800 m) elevation (see "Orcas Island"
below), with some flat areas and valleys, often quite fertile,
in between. The coastlines are a mixed bag of sandy and rocky
beaches, shallow and deep harbors, placid and reef-studded
bays. Gnarled, ochre-colored madrona trees grace much of the
shorelines while evergreen fir and pine forests cover large
San Juan Islands Information: Guide
to the San Juans | San
San Juan Island Pages on the Rose Air website: Eastsound,
Friday Harbor, Orcas
Island, Orcas Island Getaway
and Roche Harbor.
[Material adapted from Wikipedia.
Photo: San Juan Journal.]