Pick Shaw, the smallest of the ferry-served San Juan Islands, for a crossing as glorious as the others—past islets with glassy coves, Pacific madrones, and harbor seals—yet with a fraction of the crowds once you get there. If the ferry slows in the middle of a channel, it’s probably pausing to let an orca pod cross, and to give you time to catch a glimpse. To skip the lines at Anacortes terminal, swap your car for your bike.
On land: The island is just 7.7 square miles. There’s no town, but the Shaw General Store has picnic supplies and freshly baked cinnamon rolls. It’s 2 cyclist-friendly miles to Shaw Island County Park and its quiet, sandy beach. $43/ vehicle and driver, $16/bicyclist, $12/passenger only; wsdot.wa.gov/ferries