With kids in school and 9 to 5 jobs you are most likely going on vacation when everybody else is; in the Summer, on weekends and holidays. Everything is crowded, takes a little longer and is more expensive. Not so on beautiful San Juan Island. Don’t get me wrong, Friday Harbor is hopping in the Summer, street fairs, art festivals, live music in the parks and the wonderful County Fair. But if you know where to go, you can find yourself completely alone on our pristine island, regardless of the time of the year. Check out these uncrowded places, soak in the views, hear nothing but birds, breathe the salty, clean air, and relax and rejuvenate your senses.
Beach art at the lagoons
- The Lagoons by Mt Finlayson
On the south end of San Juan Island, in American Camp National Park, nestled on the bottom of Mt. Finlayson, you’ll find three precious lagoons: First Lagoon, Jakles Lagoon and Third Lagoon. Protected from wind, the waters here are calm and the beaches perfect for sun-bathing, tide pooling and picnicking. The Lagoons are home to many birds and other wildlife. A sophisticated network of trails leads you through woodlands, and along pebbly beaches. Watch Bald Eagles soar, Blue Herons patiently await their prey and seals and sea lions sun on nearby rocks. This is the perfect spot for the entire family to have a fun beach day away from it all.
- Deadman Bay
Don’t let the charming name make you miss this San Juan Island treasure. This tiny bay is located just a short hike south from Lime Kiln State Park, along rugged, steep cliffs and feels like you are in the tropics but with the wrong trees. Deep green waters swirl around rich tide pools, low tide exposes another, even smaller bay. Watch otters feed and whales swim by. This is a fantastic place to be at sunset.
- Mt. Young
Above English Camp National Park on the north end of the island towers Mt Young. A steep 1.6-mile trail leads you through old growth Douglas Firs, Madronas and Red Cedars to the spectacular top where you will delight in a spectacular view of all the other islands. In the spring the forest ground and mountain top are carpeted with wildflowers. Lay under wolf trees in the soft moss, count eagles and hawks. While Mt. Young is a popular island hike, there is room to spread out and be alone on top of the world.
The prairie at American Camp
- The Prairie above Grandma’s Cove
The vast, 100-acre, trail-lined prairie above Grandma’s Cove in American Camp National Park is a a splendid spot to take a comfortable hike with breathtaking views of Mt. Baker to the north and the snow covered Olympic Mountains to the west. The prairie is home to millions of bunnies and just as many foxes, as well as deer, sea-otters, Bald Eagles and Hawks. Walk as far as you can see or find, among the many coves, your own private beach paradise.