Throughout the San Juans, the seasons dramatically change, and as such, visiting during the Summer could be a completely different experience compared to traveling here for the Winter. While all locals agree that the islands are beautiful and inviting all year round, there really is no better time of the year to visit than from May to October. During this period, the archipelago is at its most lively, ensuring that tourists never want for entertainment and exciting things to do.
If cruising the San Juan Islands, Washington is one of the top items to cross off your bucket list for the next year, you better start planning right now. You can expect voyagers to flock to this dream destination, so it’s never really too early to book a trip. Need a little more incentive to make early reservations? Here’s what you can expect from an idyllic cruise during May to October.
Thanks to the Olympic “rain shadow effect”, the islands enjoy a significantly dryer and brighter weather than neighboring cities like Seattle. While the area is shielded from rainfall most of the time, it does get pretty cool, especially if you’re going to be on a windjammer like Schooner North’s Spike Africa. Sailing during late Spring to Fall is ideal for people who don’t like chilly weather. The Fall season in particular is long, warm and sunny. So if you can’t make it during the Summer, you can afford to wait a few more weeks.
Just like the local human population, the wildlife in the San Juans tend to be active around this time, too. Majestic sea creatures will have already returned from warmer waters by then. Humpbacks, for instance, like to make their return journey here, with their younglings in tow. Orcas also like to frequent the Salish Sea during this period—it even gets to the point where sailors report almost daily sightings! Sea birds like bald eagles are in the habit of migrating to certain parts of the islands as well. Where else can you get an educational expedition and perfect holiday all in one?
The locals are indeed nothing if not hospitable. In fact, to make tourists feel welcome, the San Juans event calendar is fully booked. A few events you need to watch out for during May to October include the Farmer’s Market, 4th of July fireworks display on Friday Harbor, Tuesday Night Dinner & Movie, Music & Martin and more. There’s always something being celebrated on one or all of the islands, so do keep an eye out.
With all that’s happening on the islands, you’re going to need a seasoned sailor to serve as a guide. Pick local charter companies like Schooners North to easily navigate the archipelago.