Across the United States, regions that border Canada get a lot of money from tourist dollars. From Niagara Falls to the Upper Peninsula, Americans flock to border attractions every year. But most of these tourists don’t go across the Canadian border. And, as a result, they often lose out on some incredible experiences.
Among these popular tourist areas is the San Juan Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Northwest that sits between Washington and Vancouver Island. The islands are an important tourist destination for the local economy, boasting incredible opportunities for whale-watching, sea kayaking, and hiking.
If you’ve visited the San Juan Islands and loved what you experienced, you might be interested in something just a few miles north: The Strait of Georgia, located in the northern part of the Salish Sea. Just a few miles north of the San Juan Islands, this strait sits between Vancouver Island and the mainland coast of British Columbia. It has a lot of what you might love about the San Juan Islands – all with a less touristy feel.
Whale Watching Opportunities
Whale watching is a big draw to folks who visit the San Juan Islands. Orca whale-watching is available by boat and air tours. Locals say the best killer whale sightings are off San Juan Island, and most companies say that more than 90 percent of their trips result in a whale sighting. But, just a few miles north, the whale watching is just as active. In fact, orcas are so plentiful in this part of the Salish Sea that some people can spot them from land. If whale watching is an essential part of your trip, the Strait of Georgia is an important place to visit.
Fresh Seafood Meals
Both the San Juan Islands and the Strait of Georgia are known for their bountiful seafood opportunities. The operation run by Lummi Island Wild in the San Juan Islands is a particular stand-out, known for their use of indigenous fishing techniques and dedication to sustainability. Similar companies exist in the Strait of Georgia, as do salmon charter operations for those looking to catch their own. The point is: If you go anywhere in the Salish Sea, you’re sure to get a good seafood meal. Check out the restaurants clustered around the Strait of Georgia to experience some of the freshest seafood available.
Proximity to City Life
We all love a good outdoor vacation, but proximity to a city is important to some travelers. Whether for an airport and accessibility or for travelers who want to shake up a week-long trip, mixing the urban with the outdoor is a great addition to a vacation plan. Seattle is the San Juan Islands’ nearest major urban center, and it’s around 100 miles away. By contrast, the islands in the Strait of Georgia are just a handful of miles off the coast of Vancouver, one of Canada’s most vibrant cities. If you want a break from the outdoors, hop on a ferry and go out for a delicious meal in the city.