3 Lesser-Known Islands To Visit In Washington State’s Beautiful San Juan Archipelago

The San Juan Islands may arguably be the most beautiful place on earth. With their rolling fjords and cerulean waters dotting the landscape of the Salish Sea, this ring of 172 islands is situated in the northwest corner of Washington State, not far from the 49th parallel and Canadian border.

Many people, locals and tourists alike, visit the popular destinations of San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Islands, with the Washington State Ferry system regularly servicing all three.

Maritime and water activities are favorite pastimes on the islands. Quiet, shallow harbors offer a serene and safe place to kayak, deep-water harbors provide perfect mooring or anchoring spots for sailboats and larger cruising yachts, and sandy beaches welcome a sunset walk. Even the famous resident orca pods call these waters home while hunting Chinook salmon along the shorelines. These wild and majestic mammals have become synonymous with these islands and are one of their best assets worth protecting.

Spend any time on the waters of the Salish Sea and you will experience a number of smaller islands in this archipelago. Many of them are enchanting as well as inviting, and usually a little less populated. Three lesser-known islands in the San Juan archipelago are Sucia, Matia, and Patos Islands.

Pro Tip: Unlike the more popular islands, Sucia, Matia, and Patos are only accessible by boat or seaplane with no ferry system running to them. For private charters, board a water taxi from either Anacortes, Washington, or Orcas Island in the San Juans. Try Island Express from Anacortes or Outer Island Excursions leaving Orcas. Another option is to charter your own vessel if you are familiar with boating.

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