Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands

 Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands

Have you been considering travel within the United States of America and Canada? One of the areas that I find most fascinating is the Pacific Northwest.  There are several great itineraries and choices of travel styles available in this area.  For nature lovers you just can’t beat Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands.

There is a simply marvelous array of marine life in the Puget Sound area.  Orca viewing is great from April-October; Humpback Whales are also in the area during that same time frame.  Minke Whales visit the Sound from May-September, and you can go Grey Whale watching from March-May.  The always entertaining Sea Lions are in the area from October-June, with Harbor Seals remaining in the area year around.  Bald Eagle watching is very rewarding from March-October as well.

One town you will want to visit is Olympia, Washington.  It’s the oldest settlement in Western Washington and the state capital.  You’ll love exploring the city’s local landmarks and pubic art displays.  Wander inside the shops, theaters, coffee houses and galleries to complete a day of relaxed meandering.

Tacoma Washington is another fun area.  Alive with a vibrant cultural element, this is a great city for people who enjoy museums.  The Glass Museum and Washington State History Museum are the top two.  America’s Car Museum is also popular.

Seattle Washington has one of the most recognizable skylines in America.  Experience the Space Needle, the Fish Market and more.  Don’t miss a chance to explore Mt Rainer National Park (the volcanic mountain is just 55 miles from Seattle).  Seattle is also known for its lively Jazz scene for those of you who are night owls.

Anacortes Washington is located between Seattle Vancouver on Fidalgo Island.  This thriving sea town is home to Deception Pass, one of the most photographed locations in the Northwest.  Jet boat tours here are very popular.  Local attractions include the Old Prison Rock quarry and Deception Island.

Harbor Washington is a beautiful seaport with small shops and turn of the century buildings.  It’s a great place to experience life as it was 100 years ago, walking along the scenic streets.  It’s also the best place to watch Orca’s, or take a guided kayak trip in Griffin Bay where you’ll see bald eagles, river otters and a wide variety of sea birds.

Victoria British Columbia is home to the world famous Butchart Gardens.  It also has a wonderful China Town area.  If you’re looking for High Tea there is no place better than the Empress Hotel right on the waterfront.

Tulip Time cruises and tours are fantastic in the Pacific Northwest.  Plan your trip around peak bloom times of course.

The Pacific Northwest is only a short flight away for Midwesterners, making it affordable and easily accessible.  There are a wide variety of escorted land tours, river and sea cruises available, giving us lots of great options and price points. 

If you’re ready to experience areas closer to home I can’t suggest a better destination than the Pacific Northwest.  With gorgeous scenery, fascinating history, and a wide variety of wildlife, you just can’t go wrong.

Joy Gawf-Crutchfield owns and operates The Joy of Travel. Contact Joy at 918-339-4805