It's all too easy to take your backyard for granted, even when that backyard is home to islands mantled in hemlock and madrona, fringed in pebble beaches and stark bluffs, and dotted with storybook farms, where shaggy sheep graze on windswept grass. But a ferry ride or bridge crossing will reignite any flagging gratitude. And not just because of all that natural beauty--the very qualities that inspired President Obama to designate 75 sites in the San Juan Islands collectively as a National Monument earlier this year--but also by the sheer ease of your great escape. The fact that these sublime retreats are so close to home is part of what makes them so incredible. Leave the world behind.
Read all about Orcas Island here .