Many people come to visit the San Juan Islands in the summer time, our peak season runs from June through August. The summer in the Islands is absolutely beautiful, but many visitors overlook the spring and fall as a great time to visit! Why should you visit in our shoulder seasons? Glad you asked!


1) Wildlife is off the Charts

During the spring and fall we see a transition in our wildlife species as animals start to migrate to and from the islands. In the spring and fall we see a plethora of ducks, grebes, and auks arriving for birds. In terms of marine mammals we start to see Steller’s sea lions returning in the fall and they remain in the islands through the end of May. In the fall we also see a lot of humpback whales as they make their final preparations for their migration south for their breeding and calving seasons. The spring and fall are also perfect times to come to the islands to look for transient, marine mammal eating, killer whales.


2) Storm watching!

In the summertime our weather is very mild. Our average day is right around 75 degrees and sunny. In the spring and fall, you get a mixture of those beautiful days with some of the most incredible storms that transform the landscape. Check out this photo of Lime Kiln Lighthouse!


3) South Beach walks

Who doesn’t love being the only person on a beach!?! In the spring and fall I love to throw on a scarf and a wool sweater and walk the beach! What a beautiful way to get outside!


4) Friday Harbor Community

Visiting Friday Harbor in the spring and fall gives you the opportunity to truly experience the community! In the summertime our population is estimated to be 15,000-20,000 people, while in the wintertime our population shrinks to 5,000 year-round residents. During the spring and fall there are so many community events that are open to the public. My favorite recommendation if you are joining our community in the spring and fall is a Community Dinner at the high school. Look for the sandwich board outside of the school for the menu and date! These dinners help to support the innovative school lunch program that emphasizes sustainability, and local wholesome ingredients.