Why You Should Bike Washington State’s San Juan Islands
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
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
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
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
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”
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.