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.
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 was where it all began. (Often it was love at first sight, before they even got off the ferry.) In this historic, compact, and very walkable town, the hub of the island, you can easily fill a delightful day. Stroll through art galleries, bookstores, and antique shops, sample a bouquet of boutiques, stop for a cafe lunch or enjoy a world-class dinner overlooking the harbor, visit The Whale Museum and the San Juan Historical Museum, or meander through the marina.
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 here. 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.
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.
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 the 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.
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.
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...]
Experience The Spa at Earthbox. Let our soothing ambience and the indulgence of Comfort Zone, a line of high quality products from Italy, work their magic. Our commitment to you is absolute: renew and rediscover.
Spa Services Include:
• Massage, including therapeutic, relaxation and hot stone
• Luxurious body and face treatments
• Signature nail care [more...]
The San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild is a 501©(3) Washington State non-profit corporation. A mission to foster a vibrant and sustainable local food system in San Juan County, Washington, through technical and financial support to the agricultural community, consumer education, and advocacy on behalf of consumers and agricultural producers. [more...]
Unique small ship cruiser in the San Juan Islands, up the southern inside passage of British Columbia, and in SE Alaska aboard the 1932 historic wooden vessel, MV Catalyst. Hiking, kayaking, wildlife viewing. Available for special events in the fall. [more...]
See the largest herd of alpacas in the San Juans on this 70-acre working farm. Alpacas grow one of the world's softest, most luxurious fibers, and are irresistibly cute. The whole family will enjoy a self-guided stroll around the beautiful grounds with cameras clicking at these photogenic animals. Guided educational tours may be scheduled by calling a week in advance. The Country Store offers a wide selection of fine alpaca clothing, accessories, and gifts, and is where visitors can feel the amazing softness of alpaca. [more...]
IMA - San Juan Islands Museum of Art in downtown Friday Harbor, 235 "A" Street, above the ferry lanes, provides four visual art exhibitions yearly, featuring artists both regional & beyond. Visit our website for current shows & events. Open Thursday through Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Established in 1980, San Juan Kayak Expeditions is the original sea kayaking company in the the San Juan Islands! We offer guided half-day, full-day and sunset tours and two-, three- or four-day trips, as well as self-guided, multi-day sea kayak rental adventures. Operating May through September, our tours incorporate camping, kayak sailing, hiking, whale watching and birding in an expedition style. Please join us this year for a sea-level view of these breathtaking San Juan Islands. Come play in our backyard! [more...]
"Discovery Sea Kayaks, known by reputation, selected for adventure!" Discovery Sea Kayaks was awarded "Best Outfitter on Earth" by National Geographic Adventure Magazine 2008 and 2009. We offer truly unique, small-group, year-round sea kayaking adventures in the San Juan Islands. [more...]
Adventure Attractions Northwest offers sea kayaking, whale watching, flight seeing, bicycle tours, land tours and much more.
We are continually adding more exciting things to do. Put our website on your 'favorites' so that next weekend's adventure is just a click away.
Adventure Attractions North West will connect you to the best, most experienced outfitters in the Northwest, which includes San Juan Islands and Seattle. Operators are pre-qualified so that you can start having fun now. Take the trip you have always wanted. Reserve your adventure now!
Whale watching and wildlife tours. Sea kayaking tours and custom adventure tours from Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. Tours depart from the best locations in the San Juan Islands. See killer whales, seals, eagles and porpoise. Join our expert staff for a unique adventure. [more...]
A self-guided tour of 12 working studios with over 31 participants. We are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open up our personal studio spaces, often including artistic gardens, to the public for an entire weekend at the end of spring each year. This free community event celebrates the way we work and live. In addition to displaying our work, including sculpture, jewelry, pottery, printmaking, glass, fiber and fine art, we share insights into how our art is created and what inspires and motivates us in our chosen media. [more...]
We are a cozy, inviting, and well organized used bookstore housed in a 100-year-old historic home above the ferry landing. We offer over 40,000 titles in our computerized inventory, and are open seven days a week. [more...]
The Whale Plane Package: See Wild Whales! Your tour starts from Lake Union in Seattle via seaplane and lands at the docks in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. You will then take a three-hour Whale Watch and Wildlife Tour by boat. After the tour you will fly back to Seattle in time for dinner.
The boat is a new, fast 55-foot vessel with a walk-around deck and windowed cabin. There is time prior to and after the tour to shop, view galleries, see the sights and enjoy lunch. $325 per adult. $299 per child. April to October. Includes round-trip flight and Whale Watching Tour. [more...]
Located in the Port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Canvas is a full service marine canvas shop. We offer sail repair as well as the occasional custom sail. San Juan Canvas sells a line of unique canvas and sailcloth bags designed and made here in our shop. Stop by for visit. [more...]
Visit Paula's studio where she turns porcelain clay on the potters wheel into unique and functional vessels for your table. Established in 1993, the studio offers visitors the opportunity to see a working studio and the many aspects of pottery making. Browse the showroom and view works in progress. Call for hours. [more...]