THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
The San Juan Islands, a magnificent 172-island
archipelago in the heart of the Salish Sea, are known for pristine beaches,
panoramic marine views, windswept golden prairies, historic inns and hamlets,
and lingering sunsets over hidden bays. A vibrant arts and outdoor adventure
scene, along with a new scenic byway, attract visitors year-round to the three
main islands of Orcas, Lopez and San Juan. Extensive parks preserve a coastline
renowned for shore-based whale and wildlife viewing. With a total county population
of 16,000 and no bridges, the Islands retain a seductive seclusion.
Kayaker at sunset in the San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of Mark Gardner.
SAN JUAN ISLANDS WEATHER
In the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains,
and moderated by the influence of the Salish Sea, the Islands enjoy a temperate
climate with about half the rain and twice the sunshine of the Seattle area.
January – High 46.0 F, Low 36.0 F
July – High 71.0 F, Low 51.0 F
Precipitation: Rainfall varies between the islands – Lopez is
the driest and Orcas the wettest. The Islands’ many different micro-climates
reflect differences in precipitation, with both dry prairies and moist
and Climate from the San Juan Islands Travel Guide.
PROJECTS FILMED IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
Valley and clouds on Orcas Island. Photo courtesy of Monica Bennett.
- – Your Sister’s Sister
- – Practical Magic
- – Free Willy 2
- – The Dark Horse
- – Eddie Bauer Catalog
- – Jeep, Cadillac, Lipitor
- – Subaru Primal Quest
- – The Food Network: Rachael Ray
- – Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa
- – Rough Guides: Ultimate Escapes
- – Animal Planet’s Jeff Corwin
- – The Travel Channel
- – The Discovery Channel
- – The Weather Channel
- – The Fine Living Network
KEY LOCATIONS OF INTEREST
Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Robin Jacobson, San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.
San Juan Island
The most populous island offers lavender
fields, vineyards, historic barns and farms, and a national historical park
with long beaches, trails and sweeping marine views.
– This walkable historic seaport exudes character from classic wooden schooners
to captivating territorial era structures. The town was recently designated a
“Distinctive Destination” by the National Trust for Historic
Preservation. The Whale Museum, dedicated to the stewardship of whales, is a
favorite stop along with cafés and art galleries.
- Roche Harbor Village –
Features a romantic cluster of waterfront historic buildings including the 1886
Hotel de Harowhich is on the National Historic Register. A private chapel,
Victorian gardens, bricked pathways and hanging flower baskets make it a
favorite wedding and honeymoon venue.
- Lighthouses –
Lime Kiln Point State Park features a rocky shoreline with historic Lime Kiln
Lighthouse. The park is a favorite spot for shore-based whale watching. Cattle
Point Lighthouse, also on public lands, is perched on a sandy bluff with a
stunning water and islands background.
- San Juan Island National Historical
Park – With two separate waterfront locations encompassing over 2,000
acres, the park features 1860’s era garrisons, quiet woodlands, over 3 miles of
beaches, prairies and unbroken terrestrial and marine vistas. Bald Eagles and wildflowers
Westside water view. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Ballard.
Orcas Island is the largest, most
geographically diverse island, a mixture of nestled artistic hamlets and
villages, farm valleys, fjord-like bays and mountains.
Moran State Park
– Includes the easily accessible 2,409-foot summit of Mount Constitution’s with
sweeping views of islands and snow-capped mountains; cascade waterfall; old
growth forest and clear mountain lakes.
- Moran Mansion at Rosario Resort and
Spa – Shipbuilder Robert Moran’s stunning home was inspired by his
nautical background and also by the popular Arts and Crafts movement. Built
between 1906-1909, the massive, yet gracious mansion features original
photographs, fixtures, furnishings and stained glass.
- Eastsound Village
– A picturesque hamlet at the head of East Sound; lovely galleries, shops, a
renowned Farmers’ Market and farm-to-fork cuisine make it a favorite of
visitors to the islands.
- Orcas Historical Museum
– Six original homestead log cabins are joined together to form a museum filled
with captivating artifacts, photographs and memorabilia.
Lopez Island, the third largest of the
ferry-served islands, is relatively flat, open and pastoral – a favorite with
bicyclists. Five county parks, preserves and one state park equate to
plenty of accessible shoreline.
- Shark Reef Sanctuary
– Offers long views west, over wide-open San Juan Channel – great bird and
wildlife viewing from shore.
- Fisherman Bay
– Enclosed by a long spit this protected bay affords integrative views to the
west with boats at anchor in the foreground, beaches in the background. To the
east, Lopez Village and marinas cluster along the shoreline.
- Spencer Spit State Park
– Lovely upland forest and protected anchorages surround the sandy spit – a
favorite haunt of shorebirds.
DISTANCE TO CLOSEST LARGE AIRPORT
Located about 80 miles northwest of Seattle, the
islands are easily accessible by a 30-45 minute flight via Kenmore Air with
frequent connections to/from SEA-TAC International Airport. Bellingham
International Airport is a 20 minute flight away via San Juan Airlines or
Northwest Sky Ferries. For more information: getting
CLOSEST LARGE CITIES ADJACENT
If not flying, getting here
requires a ferry or private boat ride since there are no bridges. The San Juan
Islands are approximately 107 mile from Seattle via road and ferry.
- RELEVANT CONTACTS AND INFORMATION
Hiking at a waterfall in Moran State Park. Photo courtesy of Mark Gardner.
Simple permit applications, when needed, with
local assistance provided.
- Local Film
Liaison – Barbara Marrett, San Juan
Islands Visitors Bureau (888) 468-3701 x 6, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Friday Harbor,
San Juan Island.
- San Juan County
– Roads and other public areas, Stan Matthews, (360) 370-7405,
- San Juan County
Public Works – Traffic control, Guard
Sunstom, (360) 370-0500, Email: email@example.com
- San Juan County Parks – $100 app fee plus
usage, (360) 378-8420, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- The Town of Friday Harbor – Roads, parks and other
public areas, Mike Bertrand, (360) 378-2810, Email: email@example.com
- The Port of Friday Harbor – Marina (also the airport and
Jackson’s Beach), Marilyn O’Connor, (360) 378-2688, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- San Juan Island National Historical Park: American Camp
and English Camp – (360) 378-2902 or
- Washington State Parks, NW Region (Lime
Kiln Point/Whale Watch, Moran, Spencer Spit etc.) – (360) 755-9231
- Washington State Ferries –
Friday Harbor on San Juan Island has over
300 hotel rooms with connectivity and services one would expect to find in a
mainland city. We offer quality lodgings, amenities and custom
arrangements – we understand production needs. Restaurants and services are
within walking distance of accommodations. Catering companies and select properties
are experienced in hosting film crews.
Less populated Orcas and Lopez are also able to
provide a variety of comfortable lodgings and services. Contact our film
liaison for a recommendation to suit your film crew size, or visit www.visitsanjuans.com for lodging
availability by island.
In an effort to expand our Reel Scout Location
Database, we are doing a call for a “Coffee Shops.” If you have a
coffee shop, and are open to filming, you can list your property in our
location database by sending photos to Info@WashingtonFilmworks.org. Please
include address and contact information and attach photos as a JPEG no larger
than 1MB per photo.