The Lore of Washington's Islands

When it comes to the island region of Washington state—home to the San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island and more—there is both history and scenery waiting to be uncovered.

The Pig War was a dispute over San Juan Islands territory, the only casualty of which was a single swine. The remnants of the war today take the form of the American and English camps, abandoned in the 1870s and now part of San Juan Island National Historical Park.

The Island County Historical Society Museum in Coupeville has the largest collection of mammoth artifacts in all of Puget Sound.

Whidbey Island’s Route 525 is the only nationally designated Washington Scenic Byway on an island; one stretch of it is the bridge approximately 180 feet above the violent and swirling waters of Deception Pass.

The summit of Mount Constitution on Orcas Island offers 360-degree views of the surrounding islands and the Cascades, as well as a stone observation tower modeled after medieval watchtowers.

Dozens of San Juans–based whale-watching boats catch glimpses of the Puget Sound’s packs of orcas roaming the island byways from spring to autumn.

The 190-acre Jones Island State Park, across from Deer Harbor, is home to a tame herd of black-tailed deer, but no permanent human population.

—Emily Dhatt