Tucked in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, at the watery edge of the US and Canadian border, the San Juan Islands are a kayaker’s paradise. The more than 170 islands and inlets are sheltered from the biggest ocean swells. This is thanks to their neighboring landmasses — the Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island. And though tucked in the wet Pacific Northwest, this remote archipelago is located at the center of the Olympic Rain Shadow (aka the ‘Banana Belt’). The unique sunshine blanket is created by the Olympic Mountains which condenses and squeezes most of the air’s moisture from the sky before it reaches the San Juans. The result is an average of 270 days with sunshine a year — making this arguably the happiest place in Washington.