An island destination that’s basically a zoo

Trees with the ocean in the background

Every year for a close friend’s summer birthday, we go on a road trip to a scenic location outside Seattle. This year was to San Juan Island, a relaxing island getaway filled with majestic animals and outdoor activities.

The town was cute- it has your typical island hippie vibe. And their farmers market had the BEST BLT I have ever had. I know, you may be thinking, “BLTs are so basic how can you have one worthy enough to be called the best?” Picture thick bacon with fresh juicy tomatoes and perfectly baked sourdough. Yes, it was the best.

The countryside reminded me of Hawaii’s countryside. Maybe all islands are the same. But we passed through it to get to Lime Kiln State Park to hang out and potentially whale watch. Even though it was cloudy, we still saw a TON of whales! On the way we stopped by The Whale Museum and learned a bit about their history and role for the natives.

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You can’t tell from this picture, but there were, in fact, whales.

BUT the best part of our trip was our kayaking tour! Now, most of the time I am super against tours. They cost more money than doing things on your own, they seem manufactured, and you have to follow their schedules. I only did this tour since it was part of the birthday deal. But it was SO WORTH IT. The guide was so friendly and knew a ton about the land and animals. He showed us baby seals, bald eagles, starfish, stingy and not stingy jellyfish, edible plants. You learn so much you wouldn’t have on your own (unless you are also a nature expert).

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Purple starfish?! Don’t worry, this guy was trained.

Tour or no tour, kayaking around the San Juans on a sunny day is one of the most beautiful experiences ever. Ocean kayaking is different from lake kayaking. I can’t describe it well, but it’s one of those things that reminds me at least of how small we humans are in the grand scheme of the world.  You really take in the sound of the water on your oars, the call of birds overhead, and the mountain ranges and forest covered islands from a distance. Also would not recommend this if you’re new to kayaking or not in shape- 6 hours of kayaking is no joke.

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View from the island we stopped through for lunch.

We were only there for two days, so there were a ton of things we didn’t get a chance to do/see- bike tours, Lavender farms, island sunsets. Conclusion: I would come back to explore more.

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