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Green Guidelines for Travel on The San Juan Islands

By Jennifer Furber published on April 25, 2017

Intentional travel is a good force: hearts that travel with intention support an open mind, deliver a better understanding of the world and inspire others to make a difference. In opposition, travel can have a negative impact when considering strained resources, cultural impact and transportation. Traveling with green guidelines leaves positive, lasting footprints throughout destinations and fosters a deeper, more meaningful experience.

Respect all Living Creatures

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a close encounter with marine life, eagles or even foxes. But stop for a minute, think logically and take a step back. These are wild animals and you are within their homes. Feeding animals like deer, harbor seals or raccoons only hinders their survival and makes them reliant on humans.

Respect the Water

You don’t need to go very far before seeing water on San Juan Island. However, we have a limited supply of clean drinking water. Salmon rely on a healthy watershed and water conservation also helps their survival by making sure the needs of people do not have to compete with fish. The solution: limit the flow and duration of faucets.


Sometimes, travelers need to purchase clothing and outdoor items solely for the location of travel. Instead of trashing these items, donate them to our local thrift houses or religious organization. This way you can support the locals who will need them on a regular basis!

Experience Alternative Forms of Transportation

Bike ride on san juan You don’t need to drive on the ferry or take a private flight to experience some of the islands in The San Juans. It is easy to park your vehicle at the ferry landing in Anacortes (for a small fee) and walk on the ferry. You can explore the San Juan Islands easily with bicycles, even between islands on the inter-island ferry. There is also a shuttle on-island that takes tourists to all the popular locations. As a historic port, Friday Harbor is centrally located adjacent to the ferry terminal and the majority of shops, restaurants and museums are within walking distance of one another.


Appropriately dispose of cardboard, glass and paper in the well-placed cans and baskets around the islands. It is also possible to reuse pertinent tourist materials like ferry schedules, town maps and shuttle cards. Simply fold and return to the Chamber of Commerce office or brochure kiosk on the Washington State Ferries.

Use a Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle is conveniently refillable around the islands. They are durable, stylish and are better for your health when you consider leeching plastics. They are cost effective since bottled water can cost more than 500 times the cost of tap water. Reusable water bottles are better for the environment by reducing the toxins and fossil fuels released into the air during production.

Support Local Artists

When you buy directly from an artist, you’re helping support their family and their way of life. When you buy from a local entrepreneur, such as jewelry or pottery or artwork, more of your money stays in the community to continue the economic base of support. By purchasing a locally made good, you are supporting the unique character of the community. And thus, you are speaking directly to the defining aesthetic of the culture.

hiking on san juan Stay on the Path

The native flora and fauna makes each of the San Juan Islands unique. In parks, preserves and designated natural areas, native plant restoration is underway and needs space and light to prosper. Soil compaction of the trails helps deter erosion. Also, in some of the more heavily forested island areas, you are less likely to get lost if you stick to the clearly marked trails.

Green Traveling Extends to the Accommodations You Choose

Green travelers keep so much in mind including environmental protection standards, social welfare within a destination, and habitat preservation. The Tucker House acknowledges its presence within the fragile marine ecosystem of the San Juan Islands. We operates as good stewards of the environment and hosts the present-minded green traveler. As a Green-Certified hotel, the Tucker House uses organic cleaning products, runs Energy-Star appliances, encourages limited water use, and much more. These green initiatives extend into a deeper Farm-to-Table philosophy for our guests. We have seasonal local and sustainable dairy, meat and seafood delivered weekly. When our linens become too worn, we donate them to the animal shelter and/or wildlife rehabilitation center. We also encourage guests to walk on the ferry and use the complimentary bicycles. Green-certified businesses, like Tucker House, partner with like-minded farmers and adventure operators who practice responsible tourism to ensure the long-term care of our marine environment.

Traveling with intention to the San Juan Islands ensures our marine environment is a positive and supported destination for tourists in all seasons for decades to come. So, pack a light bag and walk on the ferry with your reusable water bottle. Support our local artisans and enjoy the locally grown and harvested foods. Respect the marine life and support businesses that also practice responsible tourism.

Jenn ~ Local blogger for the San Juan Island Inn Collection

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