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May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

north vancouver
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May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

Hi Everybody,

I am planning a short trip to San Juan Islands during Victoria Day long weekend. I know it's a tight schedule. I've read a lot in this forum, and still have some questions.

I'll drive from Vancouver on May 18, after work, to Anacortes. The only concern is seems the lodging there doesn't have many good reviews. I just want a nice, clean room, nothing fancy, just for the night, so that I can catch an early ferry the next morning. Any recommendation? Or should I stay the night somewhere else?

I'll take the early ferry to Friday Harbour, and stay @ Island Inn at 123 West. I am just not sure if I should stay both 2 nights at Friday Harbour, or 1 night on Orcas Island.

I will go to Orcas Island anyway, because I already bought a groupon for whale watching. If I stay at Friday Harbour for 2 nights, then I'll take the ferry to Orcas Island early on May 21, wander around, and go whale watching 2 pm, then take the ferry back to Anacortes, and drive all the way back to vancouver the same day.

Or I can leave Friday Harbour on May 20 around noon to Orcas Island, go whale watching 2pm, stay over night, thus allowing me more time on Orcas Island.

Please help. This is my first time to San Juan islands, want to make the best of my time.

What's the must see in both Islands? Is it too much for two whole days in Friday Harbour?

Thanks,

Green Valley...
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for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
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1. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

I'd lodge in Anacortes and get the earliest ferry possible. Some motels did get good reviews. As you read the reviews, discount the worst, there might have been issues with the person writing the review.

I'd stay two nights on SJI; lots to see there and there is no real need to change motels and lose the time doing so.

You'll be driving around both San Juan and Orcas Island and yes, there is a lot to see. Friday Harbor is simply the town, you will want to explore the many features of SJI.

When necessary, take the ferry to Orcas, hit the highlights (e.g., Mt. Moran), then, I guess, your whale watch, return to Friday Harbor when done for night #2 - that is, if I read your post/schedule correctly. Or, simply ferry back to Anacortes per one of your comments.

Where is your whale watch charter, on Orcas? I know you have a Groupon. Many charters leave from San Juan Island which is somewhat closer to the whale action and would be more convenient if already based on SJI.

Here is a TA article that lists the things to see, to do, etc. I think you made the right choice to base on San Juan Island; you can take the inter-island ferry to Orcas for as long as you need to explore.

San Juan Islands (Specific information on the several major islands, with key websites.) tripadvisor.com/Travel-g58727-c102104/San-Ju…

That last day will be a long one!

Edited: 05 April 2012, 16:57
Green Valley...
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2. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

PS Ask the ferry terminal staff when to be in line for the different ferries. If you are in Friday Harbor, you can put your car in line then, if there is time, walk around the town or dine, then return to your car for boarding.

Friday Harbor...
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3. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

As you say you'll be leaving after work in Vancouver then yes, I'd say staying in Anacortes that night is a good idea. Of the lodging in Anacortes we prefer the Islands Inn (nothing fancy but they have a good breakfast and it's clean and well run) or the Ship Harbor Inn if you want to be right next to the ferry landing.

If you stay 2 nights in FH then it would be best IMO to do your Orcas whale watch boat trip by stopping off at Orcas on your way back to the mainland on your last day. If you like nature and things like hiking there is much to do here on San Juan island.

north vancouver
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4. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

My groupon is for whale watching on Orcas Island.

Based on your suggestion, I think I'll stay two nights @ Friday Harbour, take 8:30 am ferry to Orcas Island, drive to Moran State Park, any other recommendation before the whalewatching trip 2 pm?

After the whale watching trip, I think I should be able to catch 7:45 pm ferry , and arrive at Anacortes @8;35. The only concern for this plan is I will be home after 10:30 pm, which might be a problem for my husband's early shift next morning.

I wish I had one more day!

Green Valley...
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5. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

What to do on Orcas? Included in the TA article provided, above. Also: Informative Site for Orcas Island www.turtlebackinn.com/moran_park_brochure.pdf

You should easily make that ferry, but again, I'd inquire when you should be in line, just to be safe.

Edited: 05 April 2012, 19:50
Friday Harbor...
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6. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

If you like hiking or just want a great selection of places to have a picnic you'll have more than enough to do at Moran State Park before your whale watch boat trip. You can read more about the park at tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g58656-d14… or on the official website www.parks.wa.gov/parks/?selectedpark=Moran

7. Re: May 19-21 San Juan Islands Itinerary

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