Description - The Island region includes Whidbey Island, Camano Island, Fidalgo Island and the San Juan Islands. Many islands and islets make up the San Juan Islands, but it's the four main islands, Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and San Juan, that are accessible to visitors. Highways connect Camano Island and Fidalgo Island to the mainland. The Washington State Ferry system serves the San Juans, as well as providing an alternative route to Whidbey and Fidalgo. Fidalgo itself is also a main point of departure to the San Juans and Victoria, British Columbia.
- Aboard a ferry to the islands of Washington, you can look back at the white pyramid of Mount
Baker standing at the edge of the continent. Eagles carve circles in the sky above. Orca whales and porpoises feed and play in the lush water below. This legendary archipelago was a gift of the glaciers that covered Washington 15 thousand years ago. It is a refuge for some of the world's most rare and regal species, for humans who seek a respite from their life on land and for artists who find inspiration here. Galleries, vineyards and fine restaurants coexist with some of the tastiest canoeing and kayaking waters along the Pacific Coast.
Orcas Island, the largest and most rugged of the San Juan Islands, boasts the enormous (5175-acre) Moran State Park, including 2,409-foot Mount Constitution, the highest point in the region. From the summit, you can peer out over the entire island chain to Mount Baker and the North Cascades, plus the Canadian Coastal Range. When you're on the trails, watch for eagles and owls perched in the giant, old-growth forest of the park. The San Juans are home to more eagles than any other region of the contiguous states.
Whidbey Island can be reached by driving over the majestic Deception Pass Bridge at the northern tip of the island. As you cross the bridge, look out on the incoming sea, churned and squeezed in a bottleneck of rocky, evergreen bluffs. Whidbey Island is known for its quaint inns; historic towns; white oak forests and Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve, 17,000 acres of protected nature and historic sites, including 19th century military fortifications and relics of the area's exploration and settlement. Camano Island State Park is a popular escape that encompasses 134 acres of protected forest and more than a mile of coastline.
Lopez Island benefits from being visited less often. The rolling farm roads and woodlands are perfect for biking. A coastline of steep cliffs is interspersed with secluded beaches and coves.
Recreation - The Islands region offers many recreational opportunities. Along with camping and boating, visitors can ride bikes on rolling island roads, kayak into secret coves, watch for whales from the bow of a boat, or hike to a summit and watch the eagles fly above cliffs.
Climate - Washington's climate varies with each region. The Cascades split the state and alter weather patterns. The terrain east of the mountains receives significantly less rainfall than that west of the mountains, 12 inches is the annual average. Temperatures in this region are lower during the winter months, because it is landlocked. Frequent winds coming down from the mountains also contribute to the low temperatures of eastern Washington.
Western Washington is temperate, due to the coastal geography. The water is a stabilizing force for the climate, making extreme temperatures rare. The area receives large amounts of rainfall from Pacific storms and some snow during winter months.
The mountains of Washington receive large amounts of water-laden snow from October through May. These peaks remain snow covered throughout the year.
The Islands region is located northwest of Seattle in Puget Sound. The islands can be reached by ferry and and some by car.