At the strong recommendation of people familiar with the region, we were told the San Juan Islands are a "must." It didn’t take long to see why. Just the 75-minute ferry ride from Anacortes (90 minutes north of Seattle) to Orcas Island was one of the more scenic and relaxing boat rides we’ve ever taken. We booked the Buck Bay Bed & Breakfast for 4 days, just enough time to take in all that the island had to offer. If you want to capture what makes Orcas Island so lovely, it’s important that you do it at a relaxed pace. The bohemian vibe and artistic community give the island its laid-back charm.
The B&B doubles as a lavender farm. Our kids were just as content to hang out there as they were to go to explore any of the rocky beaches or hike along the many trails of Moran State Park, which features Mt. Constitution and its magnificent 360-degree views of the Cascades, Seattle, the sound, and British Columbia. But no family vacation to the San Juans would be complete without going out to see the family of orca whales that inhabit the water between spring and fall.