Location of the Month March 2013
THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
The San Juan Islands, a magnificent 172-island archipelago in the heart of the Salish Sea, are known for pristine beaches, panoramic marine views, windswept golden prairies, historic inns and hamlets, and lingering sunsets over hidden bays. A vibrant arts and outdoor adventure scene, along with a new scenic byway, attract visitors year-round to the three main islands of Orcas, Lopez and San Juan. Extensive parks preserve a coastline renowned for shore-based whale and wildlife viewing. With a total county population of 16,000 and no bridges, the Islands retain a seductive seclusion.
Kayaker at sunset in the San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of Mark Gardner.
SAN JUAN ISLANDS WEATHER
In the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains, and moderated by the influence of the Salish Sea, the Islands enjoy a temperate climate with about half the rain and twice the sunshine of the Seattle area.
January - High 46.0 F, Low 36.0 F
July - High 71.0 F, Low 51.0 F
Rainfall varies between the islands - Lopez is the driest and Orcas the wettest. The Islands' many different micro-climates reflect differences in precipitation, with both dry prairies and moist old-growth forest.
Weather and Climate from the San Juan Islands Travel Guide.
PROJECTS FILMED IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
Valley and clouds on Orcas Island. Photo courtesy of Monica Bennett.
- Your Sister's Sister
- Practical Magic
- Free Willy 2
- The Dark Horse
- Eddie Bauer Catalog
- Jeep, Cadillac, Lipitor
- Subaru Primal Quest
- The Food Network: Rachael Ray
- Smart Travels with Rudy Maxa
- Rough Guides: Ultimate Escapes
- Animal Planet's Jeff Corwin
- The Travel Channel
- The Discovery Channel
- The Weather Channel
- The Fine Living Network
KEY LOCATIONS OF INTEREST
Lime Kiln Lighthouse. Photo courtesy of Robin Jacobson, San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau.
San Juan Island
The most populous island offers lavender fields, vineyards, historic barns and farms, and a national historical park with long beaches, trails and sweeping marine views.
- Friday Harbor - This walkable historic seaport exudes character from classic wooden schooners to captivating territorial era structures. The town was recently designated a "Distinctive Destination" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Whale Museum, dedicated to the stewardship of whales, is a favorite stop along with caf�s and art galleries.
- Roche Harbor Village - Features a romantic cluster of waterfront historic buildings including the 1886 Hotel de Harowhich is on the National Historic Register. A private chapel, Victorian gardens, bricked pathways and hanging flower baskets make it a favorite wedding and honeymoon venue.
- Lighthouses - Lime Kiln Point State Park features a rocky shoreline with historic Lime Kiln Lighthouse. The park is a favorite spot for shore-based whale watching. Cattle Point Lighthouse, also on public lands, is perched on a sandy bluff with a stunning water and islands background.
- San Juan Island National Historical Park - With two separate waterfront locations encompassing over 2,000 acres, the park features 1860's era garrisons, quiet woodlands, over 3 miles of beaches, prairies and unbroken terrestrial and marine vistas. Bald Eagles and wildflowers abound.
Westside waterview. Photo courtesy of Kathleen Ballard.
Orcas Island is the largest, most geographically diverse island, a mixture of nestled artistic hamlets and villages, farm valleys, fjord-like bays and mountains.
- Moran State Park - Includes the easily accessible 2,409-foot summit of Mount Constitution's with sweeping views of islands and snow-capped mountains; cascade waterfall; old growth forest and clear mountain lakes.
- Moran Mansion at Rosario Resort and Spa - Shipbuilder Robert Moran's stunning home was inspired by his nautical background and also by the popular Arts and Crafts movement. Built between 1906-1909, the massive, yet gracious mansion features original photographs, fixtures, furnishings and stained glass.
- Eastsound Village - A picturesque hamlet at the head of East Sound; lovely galleries, shops, a renowned Farmers' Market and farm-to-fork cuisine make it a favorite of visitors to the islands.
- Orcas Historical Museum - Six original homestead log cabins are joined together to form a museum filled with captivating artifacts, photographs and memorabilia.
Lopez Island, the third largest of the ferry-served islands, is relatively flat, open and pastoral - a favorite with bicyclists. Five county parks, preserves and one state park equate to plenty of accessible shoreline.
- Shark Reef Sanctuary - Offers long views west, over wide-open San Juan Channel - great bird and wildlife viewing from shore.
- Fisherman Bay - Enclosed by a long spit this protected bay affords integrative views to the west with boats at anchor in the foreground, beaches in the background. To the east, Lopez Village and marinas cluster along the shoreline.
- Spencer Spit State Park - Lovely upland forest and protected anchorages surround the sandy spit - a favorite haunt of shorebirds.
RELEVANT CONTACT INFORMATION
Hiking at a waterfall in Moran State Park. Photo courtesy of Mark Gardner.
Simple permit applications, when needed, with local assistance provided.
DISTANCE TO CLOSEST LARGE AIRPORT
Located about 80 miles northwest of Seattle, the islands are easily accessible by a 30-45 minute flight via Kenmore Air with frequent connections to/from SEA-TAC International Airport. Bellingham International Airport is a 20 minute flight away via San Juan Airlines or Northwest Sky Ferries. For more information: getting here.
CLOSEST LARGE CITIES ADJACENT
If not flying, getting here requires a ferry or private boat ride since there are no bridges. The San Juan Islands are approximately 107 mile from Seattle via road and ferry.
Friday Harbor on San Juan Island has over 300 hotel rooms with connectivity and services one would expect to find in a mainland city. We offer quality lodgings, amenities and custom arrangements - we understand production needs. Restaurants and services are within walking distance of accommodations. Catering companies and select properties are experienced in hosting film crews.
Less populated Orcas and Lopez are also able to provide a variety of comfortable lodgings and services. Contact our film liaison for a recommendation to suit your film crew size, or visit www.visitsanjuans.com for lodging availability by island.
In an effort to expand our Reel Scout Location Database, we are doing a call for a "Coffee Shops." If you have a coffee shop, and are open to filming, you can list your property in our location database by sending photos to Info@WashingtonFilmworks.org. Please include address and contact information and attach photos as a JPEG no larger than 1MB per photo.
1411 Fourth Ave., Suite 420
Seattle, WA 98101