Just off the coast of San Juan Island, a congregation of Steller sea lions perches atop jutting rocks to greet passing boats with a chorus of yelps. Residents of the isle have learned to live in harmony with the rugged environment and diverse wildlife of the Pacific Northwest. Inspired by this symbiotic exchange, Earthbox Motel & Spa's spacious rooms and soothing day spa incorporate an aesthetic of natural greens and wood tones to reflect the surrounding wilderness.
The Earth Place rooms' natural palette jibes with the chic, modern decor, and the Water Place rooms tranquil blue-green color scheme and minimalist design capture the simplicity of still water. After a dip in the heated indoor pool or jacuzzi, a relaxing sauna session may help to oust toxins, clear sinuses, and dry out wet dollar bills. The Earthbox's sustainable spa harnesses the healing powers of nature to soothe aches and pains during hot-stone massages, wraps, facials, and reiki therapies.
Chugging ferries, weathered fishing boats, and whale tour boats crisscross Friday Harbor's bay, San Juan Island's largest port. A handful of the historical buildings date back to the towns founding in 1909, though they now assume new identities as eclectic eateries, indie bookstores, and chic coffee shops.
San Juan Island owes its dramatic shorelines and unique terrain to ice-age events in which glaciers carved out pieces of land in the Salish Sea. Most of the island's wildlife trails, pebble beaches, and out-of-the-way spots are accessible via one of Earthbox's complimentary beach cruisers. Just north of Friday Harbor, San Juan Vineyards shares its varietals with barrel tastings and events year-round. Hiking trails meander through hills, promising an up-close view of the area's striking fauna and a revealing glimpse of the island's cardboard-tree forest. Orca whales, porpoises, and sea lions inhabit the chilly waters surrounding the islands.
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