Whether you’re seeking solitude in nature, outdoor adventures or just a different pace of life, you won’t struggle to find it in Washington state. Culture Trip’s local insiders give their recommendations on the state’s most beautiful islands for your perfect getaway.
Whidbey Island, one of Washington’s most beautiful naturescapes, is small enough to visit all its top spots in one day. Aa short ride from Seattle and you’re among the giant cedars of Deception Pass State Park and the plentiful wildlife that make Whidbey their home. With so many outdoor activities, campers, hikers and watersports lovers all thoroughly love it here. Langley and Coupeville are charming towns to stop for lunch in. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman
Known as the gem of the San Juans and the largest of the islands, Orcas is the perfect place to relax in nature, with miles of hiking trails through dense forest and fun activities including whale watching, kayaking and mountain biking. The island is also home to some excellent restaurants: pick and shuck your own oysters at Buck Bay Shellfish Farm, or feast on fresh seafood at the Loft at Madrona. Recommended by local insider Grace Coleman
This beautiful spot has been attracting artists and makers to its shores for decades, and as a result, Camano is full of studios and galleries. After admiring some art, head off to enjoy the beautiful beaches, or to explore the forest and parks. Alternatively, combine both with a visit to the Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Sculpture Park. Camano Island State Park is the biggest outdoor space and can get a little busy. However, there are plenty of quieter forest trails and beaches where you can get away from the crowds. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman
This island, the second largest of an archipelago of the same name, comes complete with a resident herd of alpacas – but don’t worry, they’re friendly. There are vast lavender fields here to swoon in, and a family of orcas call the island’s shores home. There are plenty of good dining options available, especially if you head down to the bustling Friday Harbor. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman
Lopez Island is one of the few islands in the San Juan archipelago that you can visit, and life here is pleasantly slow, something its residents pride themselves on. Small bays dot the coast, and forests filled with wildlife surround the main town. Also, the birdwatching is second to none – keep an eye out for resident eagles. Lopez Island has mainly flat roads, so a bicycle is a great way to explore the landscape. Recommended by local insider Eric Coleman