Exploring San Juan Island

You’ll discover something new around every bend in the road on San Juan Island—an alpaca ranch, a sweeping valley dotted with cows or sheep, the terraces of a lavender farm, vineyards with a tasting room in a historic schoolhouse, deep forest giving way to shining sea, a pod of orca whales, and two iconic lighthouses. Variety, beauty, serenity . . . day after amazing day.

Gateway to the San Juan Islands

Caution: many of the 8,000 year-round residents of San Juan Island fell in love with it during their first visit, and the town of Friday Harbor is where it all began. Historic and just one square mile in size, Friday Harbor is the very walkable hub of San Juan Island, the most populated of the San Juans. Browse art galleries, bookstores and antique shops. Sample a bouquet of boutiques, stop for a cafe lunch or enjoy a fresh seafood dinner overlooking the harbor. Visit The Whale Museum and the San Juan Historical Museum, or meander through the marina. Take a walking tour of Friday Harbor, which includes many of the town’s important sites.

In this visitor-, family-, and dog-friendly town, you’ll find many of the San Juans’ whale and kayaking tour headquarters, the Chamber of Commerce Visitors’ Center, historic Palace Theater (first-run movies on two screens), a community theater (weekend plays and musical events), and a plethora of B&Bs and other lodgings.

No need for a car to see Friday Harbor. Everything is within walking distance of the ferry landing, including San Juan Transit shuttle buses to take you around the island, as well as bike, three-wheeled Scootcoupe, and moped rentals. From Friday Harbor you can also catch an inter-island ferry to Lopez, Orcas and Shaw Islands.

Roche Harbor

At historic Roche Harbor Resort on the north end of the island you’ll find several waterside eateries, a marina full of beautiful yachts, and local artisans’ booths in summer—showing off jewelry, wool, paintings, pottery, and more. Take a cycling or driving tour of the north side of the island.

The resort’s centerpiece, the Hotel de Haro, has stood since 1886, when what was a sleepy Hudson Bay Company camp became a full-fledged lime works and company town—remnants of the giant lime kilns are still there. Near the entrance to Roche Harbor you’ll find the San Juan Islands Museum of Art Sculpture Park—more than 100 sculptures placed in an open, 19-acre, natural setting. You can ramble among the sculptures or follow the nearby nature trail that takes you into a native forest and close to Westcott Bay, home of the world-famous oysters.

Exploring the Island

When you travel San Juan Island beyond Friday Harbor, you’ll journey through miles of farmland and stretches of forest on your way to American Camp or English Camp, both part of the San Juan Island National Historical Park, or to the two waterfront state and county parks. You’re bound to hear about the 1859-1872 Pig War ”Crisis,” when Great Britain and the United States settled ownership of the islands through peaceful arbitration—the national park marks the sites of the U.S. and British encampments. Take a cycling or driving tour of the south and west areas of San Juan Island.

American Camp includes the island’s longest stretch of beach, South Beach, and a network of forested and open trails along the coast, Jakle’s Lagoon and Mt. Finlayson. Orcas occasionally swim past this beach, and sharp-eyed youngsters may spot agates among the beach’s colorful stones. Close to Friday Harbor lies Jackson Beach, a popular picnicking, wading, and dog-walking/swimming spot.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on the island’s west side is also known as Whale Watch Park for good reason—the three local orca pods are frequent summer visitors. This is the only park in the world dedicated to shore-based orca whale watching. A seasonal interpretative center offers information on orcas and a history of the lime kilns and the nearby lighthouse, and you have a choice of forest and shoreline hiking trails.

Other popular stops: Pelindaba Lavender Farm in the middle of the island, one of the largest in the country, for a taste of all things lavender in the aromatic store, housed in a historic island home—and host to the July lavender festival. Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, also mid-island, where more than 50 endearing alpacas roam the gentle pasture slopes. Stroll around the farm and browse the store for alpaca everything—socks, scarves, toys, and sweaters.

 

Friday Harbor
The Whale MuseumSee all information about this member
62 First St. N.
Friday Harbor
(800) 946-7227 ext. 30
(360) 378-4710 ext. 30
Whales, Museum, Whale Information, San Juan Island

Housed in an 1892 Odd Fellows Hall overlooking Friday Harbor, The Whale Museum is the local center for Salish Sea stewardship and research since 1979. Many early notable events took place at the Hall, including the year-long murder trial of Richard Straub, the only person ever executed in San Juan County. The courthouse also hosted the fiery orator, Billy Sunday, a proponent of prohibition; the day after his speech, the county council approved prohibition for San Juan County, previous to national passage of the 21st Amendment. Now you can see a young orca skeleton, watch free videos, and find treasures in the museum gift shop. Upstairs, visit the Gallery of Whales and learn about how you can Adopt an Orca to support the 80 Southern Resident orca whales that call Northwest waters home. [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Islands Sculpture ParkSee all information about this member
Roche Harbor Road at Roche Harbor Entrance
Roche Harbor
(360) 370-0035
San Juan Islands Sculpture Park - Aerion by Don Moss

The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park is 20 acres of outdoor art. This idyllic setting features more than 100 unique sculptures in a variety of media, from wood and metal, to glass and stone. Artists range from well known to unknown, and there are new additions every year. The park is open all year round from dawn to dusk; a $5 per adult donation is requested. Kids and dogs are free. [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan County FairSee all information about this member
846 Argyle Ave.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-4310
San Juan County Fair

The SJC Fairground is a multi-use event center with indoor rental facilities, group camping, RV sites and year round activities. The annual Fair in August draws thousands of visitors and is a sweet, small town county fair with an arts festival feel and major fun for the whole family!  The 14-acre fairground rental facilities include a 10,000-square-foot exhibit hall for large events; 1,800-square-foot building for receptions, parties, meetings, concerts, etc.; seven RV sites with full hookup and group camping areas.  [more...]

Friday Harbor
Arctic Raven GallerySee all information about this member
130 First Street South
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-3433
Art Gallery Shopping San Juan Island

We are a fine art galley that offers a venue for the native people of the Northwest Coast, the Inuit and Alaskan indigenous artists. We feature master carvers in wood, stone and bone. Our selection of silver, argillite basketry, paintings and ivory will enhance your island experience.  [more...]

Friday Harbor
Susie's Mopeds & BicyclesSee all information about this member
sjmopeds@rockisland.com
Friday Harbor
(800) 532-0087
(360) 378-5244
Susie's Moped & Car Rentals, Transportation, San Juan Island, Friday Harbor

Explore San Juan Island at your leisure with a moped, scoot-car, or car from Susie's Mopeds, an island tradition since 1986. Let our professional and friendly staff help plan your island adventure and get you on your way. Pack your lunches and enjoy spectacular scenery of a full-day tour or head off to a specific location like the Whale Watch Park. We offer hourly and daily rates. 

"You are off the ferry and on your way!” [more...]

Friday Harbor
Paradise Lanes Bowling & ArcadeSee all information about this member
365 Spring Street
Friday Harbor
(360) 370-5667
Activities - Bowling San Juan Island

Air-conditioned Paradise Lanes and Games Arcade has eight lanes of bowling, three pool tables, air hockey and arcade video games. We also are the only games arcade for the "under-21" set in the islands. [more...]

San Juan Island
Yvonne Buijs-Mancuso Studio San Juan GlassworksSee all information about this member
1296 Wold Rd.
Friday Harbor
360-378-6725
Art - San Juan Island

Yvonne’s work space is a multi media island studio located four miles from the town of Friday Harbor on a beautiful lakeside setting.  Come visit to watch and learn about her art glass panels, miniature sculptures (jewelry), and encaustic (beeswax) paintings.  Artwork is available for sale and custom commissions always welcome.  By appointment or call for studio hours. [more...]

Orcas Island
San Juan Island
Anacortes Kayak ToursSee all information about this member
2201 Skyline Way, Suite 203
Anacortes
360-588-1117
800-992-1801
Anacortes Kayak Tours - Family of Four

Voted #1 Eco-Adventure in Western Washington 2010-2012-2013 by Evening Magazine and King5 News!  Join us on a sea kayaking adventure to the most rewarding destinations in the San Juan Islands.  We offer tours departing from San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Anacortes.  We offer Half Day, Full Day, and Overnight sea kayaking expeditions.  Anacortes Kayak Tours prides itself on being a family friendly kayak company, with dedicated family tours departing Deception Pass State Park. [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Classic Day Sailing Whale WatchingSee all information about this member
2 Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
360-378-6700
San Juan Classic Day Sailing Whale Watching - Main Image Sailboat at Sunset with People

Half & Full Day Sails, Whale Watching & Nature Sails, Sunset Sails, Private Charters and Schooner Adventures on the Salish Sea and beyond! Step aboard with San Juan Classic Day Sailing and take your opportunity to let go of the hustle and bustle of the daily grind and and connect with the the natural rhythm of the sea, traditional maritime heritage and our pristine marine environment. We offer a variety of sailing charter opportunities, giving you the chance to experience the joy of being on your own classic yachting adventure in the Islands! [more...]

Friday Harbor
A Place to PlaySee all information about this member
55 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-0378
A Place to Play - Boat

Come visit Friday Harbor's newest attraction for active kids and their favorite adult. Located in the heart of downtown; this happy and colorful indoor space is filled with creative and imaginative play areas, designed for ages 1 to 8. It is the perfect spot for kids to move, build, create, socialize and explore, while parents can relax, catch up with a friend and are always welcome to join in the fun. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Island StudiosSee all information about this member
270 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-6550
Island Studios - Art Gallery Shopping San Juan Island

Island Studios is an art gallery representing exclusively island artists and craftspersons. This unique gallery offers a large collection of paintings, photographs, prints, jewelry, glasswork, sculptures, textiles, pottery, books and music. [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Safaris LLC Whale Watching & Wildlife ToursSee all information about this member
2 Spring Street Landing #6
Friday Harbor
(800) 450-6858
(360) 378-1323
San Juan Island whale watching with San Juan Safaris

Located steps from the Friday Harbor ferry terminal, San Juan Safaris Whale Watching & Wildlife Tours has an excellent reputation for respectful wildlife viewing. On the water since 1995, this company is known for providing high-quality, small-group size whale watching & wildlife tours. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor Art Market (FHAM!)See all information about this member
Brickworks Plaza
Friday Harbor
360-472-0216
Art Market Friday Harbor San Juan Island

Friday Harbor welcomes a new Friday evening experience, the Friday Harbor Art Market, just steps from the ferry landing, on Fridays from 3:00 - 7:00 p.m., June 21 - August 29 at the Brickworks Plaza on Sunshine Alley. Approximately 20 local artists will feature a variety of creations for sale—pottery, jewelry, photographs, clothing, sculpture, textiles, paintings, soaps, woodwork, food from Cynthia's of Course and more. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Legacy Charter FishingSee all information about this member
#14 Cannery Landing
Friday Harbor
360-378-3744
Fishing San Juan Island

Whether you are looking for a premier whale watch tour, quality family adventure, or a fun-filled fishing excursion, Legacy Charters is here to make it happen. Offering whale watching and fishing charters for groups of six or less assures the most authentic and personalized charters available. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Post San JuanSee all information about this member
685 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2400
Post San Juan - main image

A professional packing, shipping and receiving store offering services for FedEx, UPS and USPS.  Private mail boxes available.

Ship your luggage through us and avoid the hassle of carrying excess luggage through the airports. [more...]

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