The San Juan Islands Museum of Art and Sculpture on San Juan Island is a huge outdoor sculpture garden that you can spend hours walking through. There are sculptures are along the grounds that take you around a small pond, into a forest and along the coastal shore. It really is a great way to spend the afternoon.
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NW Coastal Views
Whale watching by boat in the San Juan Islands is an amazing experience that includes some of the most incredible views of the NW Coast. Look up Captain Jim for a personal chartered tour with a whale expert, and relax as you follow the Orca pods through this rugged and beautiful scenery.
Eager for a Seattle getaway, the plotting and planning began. Most of our Seattle weekends are mini-vacations involving fly-in, fly-out foodie trips with a little shopping thrown in. This time, I wanted something different. Our teen-aged sons were joining us and both needed as much time relaxing as we did.
I booked us on a full-day Clipper Vacation Whale Watching and Sealife Search cruise. We started early, boarding at around 7:30 a.m., grabbed a booth inside, a cup of coffee, snacks, and sat back for the ride. We would be cruising most of the morning before arriving at Friday Harbor to disembark for a short stay - as it turns out, several guests planned overnight stays on the island.
Cruising was chilly, foggy, and invigorating. The tour guides were chatty, as tour guides can be, but we enjoyed the narration and watched the city fade into the distance. The cruise was full and latecomers found themselves without window seats (if you want to ride inside the vessel). Seats outside were available, but warm clothing is a must!
We followed two orca pods that day, one with a calf, and marveled at their size and grace. Our cruise offered up glimpses of dolphins and various sea birds as well.
Halfway through the day, we arrived at Friday Harbor and disembarked for lunch and a quick tour of the harbor shops. Charming, to be sure, and worth a look.
We arrived back in Seattle in time for dinner, feeling as though we'd been a world away for the day - just as I'd hoped!
May through October is a great time to go whale watching among Washington’s charming San Juan Islands. Sightings are not always guaranteed, but it is more than likely you will spot a whale or two along with a host of other marine life like lively dolphins, seals, porpoises and barking sea lions as well as regal birds of prey like bald eagles.
We were incredibly lucky when we were out whale watching with "Western Prince Whale & Wildlife Tours" in May this year. We saw a humpback whale, breaching more than a dozen times continuously, with magnificent shows of pectoral fin slapping, fluke up and down, tail slapping and blows ... hmm, that happens only in the movies, right?! Well, yes … but once in a while, you will get to witness the real deal – thanks to one happy and incredibly active humpback whale.
The naturalists on our boat were stunned themselves, they had never before seen such continuous breaching activity within such a short span of time. Breaching consumes an enormous amount of energy and whales don’t usually display such playful behavior for so long. This was definitely one really gregarious humpback, thanks to whom we have wonderful memories of whale watching in the San Juan Islands.
Time to go back for an encore!