The San Juan Islands, huddled in the center of the Straight of Juan de Fuca -- named in honor of a 16th century European explorer -- mark the transition from the Northwestern United States into Southwestern Canada.
The San Juans are comprised of eight large and dozens of smaller islands. Without a doubt the "capital" is the town of Friday Harbor, which serves as sort of a regional jumping off point and host to the thousands of tourists who flock to the area every year.
|Morning along the passage|
|Downtown Friday Harbor|
|Inside the massive Washington State ferry|
|The rising tide|
But regardless of your intent: catching fish, seeing whales, birdwatching or just strolling the streets and galleries while stopping for a drink to people watch, the San Juan Islands are an easy-access retreat from the city, and a truly beautiful part of the world.
|Sunset in the channel|