Embrace island time in Washington’s archipelago

For a relaxed atmosphere and top-notch outdoor activities, head to the Islands Region of Washington. Encompassing the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island, and Camano Island, the region has no shortage of charming towns, pristine beaches, art galleries, and fantastic dining.

The San Juan Islands are made up of 172 named islands and rocks. Three primary destinations — bustling San Juan, outdoorsy Orcas and laid-back Lopez — are easily accessible with many amenities. Getting to this island chain is half the fun. Enjoy a scenic ferry ride or hop on a brief charter flight. Whidbey and Camano islands are reachable by car.

Outdoor enthusiasts can stay busy both on and off the water. At Deception Pass State Park, hike along rugged cliffs or kayak to pebbled beaches. With camping, jaw-dropping views, and phenomenal sunsets, it’s easy to see why this is Washington’s most-visited state park.

In the San Juan Islands, take in sweeping views from the stone tower at the summit of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island. For wildlife viewing, a whale-watching cruise offers visitors the chance to spot porpoises, seals, and majestic orcas.

In addition to natural beauty, the Islands Region offers options aplenty for art lovers, history buffs, and foodies. Stroll through the Matzke Sculpture Park on Camano Island or visit Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve on Whidbey Island.

Wine lovers can sip their way along Whidbey’s self-guided Wine & Spirits Trail (with a designated driver, of course). Each island also offers plenty of restaurants focused on locally sourced ingredients.

Since each island has its own character, you'll want to come back again and again to explore them all.