Kathleen Ballard

Set Your Mind to Island Time

Things change when you're on island time. Priorities re-sort. We value a slow pace here, and invite you to "Love It Like a Local" - treating the San Juans with the same care and respect as you would your own backyard. It's an environment we all cherish and want to protect, and we encourage you to embrace island time while caring for one another and nature itself. 

Let us acknowledge that we reside on the ancestral lands and waters of the Coast Salish people who have called this place home since time immemorial and let us honor inherent, aboriginal, and treaty rights that have been passed down from generation to generation. 

Loving the Islands like a local can mean many things — bringing a reusable water bottle, joining a work party or other volunteer event, driving carefully on narrow island roads, and everything in between. The beauty of the Islands is meant to be shared and locals urge you to learn the history of this special place so we can work together to ensure it endures. Here are a few ways to help preserve the qualities that make this place special, and enjoy a better visit in the process. 

Plan Ahead

Book ferries and accommodations early, and consider visiting in the shoulder seasons or during the week for the best island experience.

Conserve Water

On an island, water is everywhere. But fresh water is always at a premium. With lower rainfall from May to October, our water supply is not recharged during the summer. Conserve when you can, keep showers short, and shut off the tap instead of letting it run. 

Tread Lightly

Stay on established trails, campsites, and parking spots. Erosion happens quickly. It's not only unattractive, it can affect the local ecosystem. 

Be Careful with Fire

A friendly reminder to keep an eye on your campfire and make sure it's completely out before leaving it unattended. 

Reduce, Refuse, Reuse, Recycle

Bring a reusable water bottle and mug to reduce waste, and try to limit plastics, which can be harmful to wildlife. All of the Islands' garbage and recycling must be hauled to the mainland. 

Mind Your Dog

Please keep pets on leash and dispose of waste properly. Dogs running free can disturb wildlife and other visitors.

Avoid midday crowds

Many of the most popular parks have very limited parking. Avoid disappointment by visiting early/late in the day when they may not be as crowded.

Be a good neighbor

Thanks for being patient, sharing the road, and keeping noise and speed down

86 the buzz

Drone use is discouraged and prohibited in parks or other public lands without proper permits.

Sightsee by Shuttle

Let the experts do the driving while you sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. Check out San Juan Transit or Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley.

Rent a hybrid or EV

M&W Auto has great options for eco-friendly touring. Check the map of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations if you need to recharge. 

Travel on two wheels

Check out these bike rental options (some include electric-assist): Meat Machine Cycles, Discovery Sea, Susie’s Mopeds and Bicycles, Gilligan's Island Style, Orcas Bikes, Wildlife Cycles

Our wildlife is precious to us and we want to keep them wild. We know that this is their home, too, and we must work to protect their way of life. This is why we don't feed the foxes and maintain a safe distance while watching them. When on the water, we know to give marine life plenty of space to forage, play, and communicate with each other by being "whale wise."

Spring in the Islands

Slow down and explore the beauty of quiet beaches, wildflower hikes, peaceful forest trails, and stunning art in the Islands. 

Start Planning

Use these local resources to learn about the Islands before you visit.

The San Juan Islands Pledge

Add your name to the list of those pledging to protect the Islands.

Take the Pledge
Contact Us:
San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
1-888-468-3701 | (360) 378-9551
P.O. Box 1330, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250
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