Connor with his bike, sunset, San Juan Islands

Biking, Macs Adventure

Connor’s Top 5 reasons to bike Washington State’s San Juan Islands

16 Aug , 2018  

My recent bike trip to the San Juan Islands was my first taste of the wildly popular Pacific Northwest island chain. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, aside from what friends and colleagues had told me: killer seafood, gorgeous views, and mellow island vibes.

Little did I know how right they were, and how much I’d enjoy cruising the islands on two wheels.

1. What you’ll see on the San Juan Islands

Coastal scenery on the San Juan Islands

Scenery on the San Juan Islands

In terms of scenery, terrain, and wilderness, the San Juans have just the right mix. The variety of landscapes was perfect, as my rides took me from wooded country lanes, through open meadows, past inland farms and ranches and along dramatic ocean-side roads that curved with the coastline, offering amazing views of the sea and surrounding islands. I needn’t look far for a great photo opportunity at any point on my bike rides.

2. Hospitable local welcome

San Juan waterways with ships and boats

Soaking in that coastal vibe

As is true everywhere I’ve traveled, interaction with the locals is always a highlight and this time was no different. My conversations with local business owners, inn proprietors and other bikers and hikers enhanced my visit and helped me feel really comfortable exploring the area on my own. Everyone I met was excited to hear it was my first time to the Islands and I was offered loads of advice on where to eat, what to do in my free time, or a simple offer of help if I needed it.

3. Incredible food and drink

Enjoying a beer in the open air

I found many,many perfect spots to relax and unwind!

Made to order clam chowder (served in the shells!), fresh wild-caught fish, locally raised beef and pork, and delicious locally farmed vegetables, were just a few of the mouthwatering offerings I encountered daily. I enjoyed visiting the many local breweries and wineries along my bike routes and was blown away by the variety of restaurants, cafes, and bars on each of the San Juan Islands – I never went hungry and always left satisfied.

4. Variety of the accommodations

Inn on the San Juan Islands

The places I stayed all had their unique (and delightful) charms

The accommodations I stayed in were unbelievable to say the least. From small family-run bed and breakfasts to historic inns and, finally, a comfortable modern hotel, I loved the mix of properties. The one constant: If I wanted to have a look at the ocean, all I had to do was glance out my window.

5. Enjoying the San Juan “Island Vibe”

Holding bike aloft at the summit

A moment to remember!

Right from the start, I felt like I had stepped back in time. With over 100 years of history on the San Juan Islands, you can tell right away that people are proud of their region and the vibe of living there. Incredibly welcoming and warm locals offered advice or simply applauded my efforts to explore the area by bike, especially the challenge of conquering Mt. Constitution, the tallest point on the Islands.


For more information about biking the San Juan Islands on a self-guided tour, you can browse the biking itineraries on our website, or contact our team on [email protected]. I highly recommend enjoying an adventure on the San Juans!

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Connor Frey By
I’m a Colorado native and someone who thinks an IPA doesn’t taste much better than after a day spent outside. When I’m not sampling my home state’s finest brews, you can find me adventuring with my wife, our dogs, and our 3-year-old son. Whether it’s a day on the slopes, cruising on our bikes, or a little R&R on the golf course, you can be sure that fun and silliness will be aplenty.