Skift Take

San Juan Island is beautiful, but perhaps it edged the Hawaiian islands among TripAdvisor readers because they got it mixed up with San Juan, Puerto Rico, which is also an island? Just a theory:)

Hawaii’s islands are not the top choice of travelers using

Not quite sure how this happened, but Kauai (No. 2), Maui (No. 5) and Hawaii island (No. 8) all were soundly beaten by Washington state’s San Juan Island in the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice polling for [top 10 islands in the U.S.] 2013.

San Juan, part of a 172-island archipelago in the Salish Sea in Washington State, also ranked No. 4 among TripAdvisor’s Top 10 islands in the world, a list including two islands in French Polynesia and no Hawaiian Islands.

Not that we’re bitter or anything.

Hawaii’s visitor count continues to grow, and those visitors’ spending is growing as well, according to figures released Thursday by the Hawaii Tourism Authority. About 675,517 tourists visited Hawaii last month, up 7.8 percent from February of last year. Similar figures for San Juan Island could not be found online. The Washington State Tourism Office befell the budget axe in 2011, leaving it as the only state without a tourism office. The work of promoting the state to visitors is handled by a private alliance.

There’s no TripAdvisor Islands list from 2012 against which to compare this year’s ranking, but Hawaii fared very well in the 2012 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice lists of destinations. Honolulu was No. 5 in the U.S. (and No. 20 in the world), Lahaina was 21st and Kailua-Kona was at No. 25. Washington state only had one destination on the list, Seattle, at No. 8. Nanny nanny boo boo!

At any rate, given the rise of San Juan’s popularity in the travel press in recent times, the Pacific Northwest isles are experiencing something familiar to Hawaii residents — an influx of wealthy people from elsewhere — and all the, um, interesting developments (quite literally) that accompany such influxes.

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Tags: hawaii, tripadvisor, ugc

Photo credit: Guemes Island, Washington, San Juan Islands, at sunset. Docent Joyce /

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