San Juan Island Bucket List – 10 Must-Do Adventures

Do you have a bucket list? Is San Juan Island on there?  There is so much fun to be had on San Juan Island, including many once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Dare yourself to participate in some brand new escapades and to fully experience the wilder side of our gem in the Salish Sea.

1)    Kayak with the Orcas
Challenge yourself to a 5-hour Orca Search kayak tour and see these majestic giants up-close and personal. San Juan Outfitters offers daily tours out of Roche Harbor during the season. To have an Orca breach just feet from your kayak, hear them sing and look into their eyes is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Flying over San Juan Island, Washington

2)    Take a flight lesson
Fly like an eagle over the island archipelago and realize that the San Juan Islands are ancient mountaintops, submerged in the crystal-clear waters of the Salish Sea. See whales from the air, Mt. Baker up close and Mt. Rainier at a distance. Pilot a Cessna all by yourself for the very first time--priceless.

3)    Zip Line through old-growth forest
Fly through the trees in the heart of San Juan Island. Zip over a lake, cross a suspension bridge high above native ferns and salal. Go on an exhilarating ride with Zip San Juan and feel the excitement in your belly when you take off from a platform 40 feet up in the air.

4)    Charter a sailboat
Charter the classic, 72’ Top’sl schooner Dirigo II, built in 1939, with San Juan Classic Day Sailing. Explore the pristine waters around our emerald isle, enchanted coves and magical wildlife, while breathing the fresh salty air. Dirigo II charters come with an experienced captain and crew, tanks full and galley stocked to take you on an invigorating journey.

Westcott Bay Oyster Farm, San Juan Island, Washington

5)    Shuck your own oysters
Tour San Juan Island’s Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm and find out why their oysters are the plumpest, freshest and briniest. Shuck your own on the beautiful shores of the pristine Westcott Bay, while enjoying a tasty, local salad or sandwich and a cold beer. Shucking tutorial and hot sauce provided.

6)    Take a wild ride on a Zodiac boat
San Juan Island is famous for its amazing whale watching. Besides our three resident Orca pods, you may see Humpback Whales, porpoises, Stellar sea lions, Bald Eagles, seabirds and more. Suit up in a cozy, insulated suit and go on a 2-3 hour, open air ride of your life with Western Prince’s bright orange Western Explorer.

7)    Moped all around San Juan Island
Be your own Easy Rider and explore the island with a zippy moped or scoot coupe from Susie’s Mopeds. Take in the breathtaking vistas, stop by driftwood beaches, historic light houses and working farms and park in tiny pull-outs high above the sea, no man with car has parked before.

8)    Go Saltwater Fishing
There is nothing like the hunt when having the big one on the line. Catch Wild Salmon, Ling Cod or Halibut with Cedar Fishing Charters on one of their fun, professional, comfortable year-round trips. Drop some crab or shrimp pods on your way out and have the most memorable cook-off around a bonfire on South Beach that night.

9)    Take a run on Mt. Young
Mt Young in English Camp National Park is one of the highest, publicly accessible mountains on San Juan Island. From its mossy top you’ll have panoramic views of the snow covered Olympics, the Gulf Islands, Henry, Pearl and Spieden Island and serene Garrison Bay. In the Spring the forest grounds around ancient Garry Oaks are covered with wildflowers. Bald Eagles nest atop the raggedy wolf trees on the summit. It’s just 1.6 miles to the top. It’s steep. Run it and feel the gratifying burn.

Swimming in the Salish Sea

10)    Take a plunge into the Salish Sea
It looks so tempting, the sun, the pebble beaches, the driftwood, tiny waves lapping gently at the shore. Going swimming without a wet suit around San Juan Island is not for the faint of heart. The deep green, crystal clear waters surrounding our isle reach a balmy 50 degrees in the summer. Consider yourself cautioned. Take the ultimate invigorating plunge and feel energized and rejuvenated like never before.