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), the San Juan Community Theatre for 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 Sculpture Park—more than 125 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 Shellfish Company, home of the world-famous oysters. You can also visit the Westcott Bay Cider and San Juan Island Distillery, near Roche Harbor.

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
Spring St. Landing AquariumSee all information about this member
Spring St. Landing
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2688
Spring St. Landing Aquarium

Watch local marine life up close at the Spring St. Landing Aquarium, a 400-gallon saltwater tank displaying a variety of creatures such as sea cucumbers, tube worms, singing scallops, nudibranchs, sea stars, sea urchins and anemones. This is a great free attraction for kids. [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
Island Boat Rentals, LLCSee all information about this member
B Dock
Roche Harbor
360-317-6160
Island Boat Rentals, LLC - Boating at Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Located on B Dock at Roche Harbor, our 21ft welded aluminum “Thunder Jet” boats will seat up to 6 passengers. They are equipped with a 90 hp Yamaha 4 stroke engine and a 9.9 hp Yamaha 4 stroke trolling motor. They are PERFECT for salmon fishing, crabbing, island exploring and whale-watching. All of our boats are equipped with touch screen color GPS navigation systems as well as all the safety equipment required by the USCG. For salmon fishing, downriggers are available on request. [more...]

All San Juan Islands
Friday Harbor
Schooners NorthSee all information about this member
Spring St. Landing, Slip 16, 18
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2224
Schooners North Main

Schooners North offers sailing adventures in the San Juan Islands aboard our traditionally rigged vessel. Spike Africa is the last West Coast working top-mast schooner. Come set sail with us for the experience of a lifetime. [more...]

San Juan Island
Popeye the Harbor SealSee all information about this member
Port of Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2688
Visiting Popeye at the Port of Friday Harbor

Popeye the harbor seal has been a frequent visitor to Friday Harbor since 1995. In 2005, the Port of Friday Harbor named her the port's official seal, and commissioned a granite sculpture of her, which stands in Fairweather Park, near the main marina dock entrance.  [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Island Farmers MarketSee all information about this member
150 Nichols St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-3724
San Juan Island Farmers Market Friday Harbor - Display of Veggies

The San Juan Island Farmers' Market is your source for beautiful and bountiful island produce, fine crafts, and delicious prepared foods. You can find the market at the historic Brickworks building, just two blocks from the ferry landing.

Located at Brickworks, 120 Nichols St., Friday Harbor

Hours: 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m., Saturdays, April.–October; twice a month in November & December; first Saturdays, January – March; 10:00 a.m.–1:30 p.m., July 4 to Labor Day. [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Island Park & Rec DistrictSee all information about this member
580 Guard Street
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-4953
San Juan Island Park & Recreation

It is the mission of San Juan Island Park and Recreation District to improve and enhance the quality of life on San Juan Island by: [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
San Juan Safaris Whale Watch & 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 - 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...]

San Juan Island
Outdoor Odysseys Kayak ToursSee all information about this member
86 Cedar St.
Friday Harbor
(800) 647-4621
(360) 378-3533
Outdoor Odysseys Kayak Tours, Whale Watching Tour, San Juan Islands

A writer described the essence of sea kayaking perfectly when she said, "Kayaking is the closest you'll ever come to actually being a marine mammal."

With 175-forested islands surrounded by crystal-green waters and snow-capped mountains, the San Juan Islands in the NW corner of Washington State are an idyllic sea-kayaking destination.

The pristine waters of the San Juan Islands are home to over 85 resident orca whales. We launch most of our tours from the west side of San Juan Island, putting our guests in the heart of the “best orca whale habitat” on the West Coast. [more...]

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
Island Stage LeftSee all information about this member
1062 Wold Rd.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-5649
Island Stage Left

Renowned for professional quality productions and unmatchable island ambiance, Island Stage Left's goal is to provide the best theatre for everyone, regardless of their financial circumstance. Join us under the stars every summer for Shakespeare and indoors from September to May for contemporary and classical plays. Admission is free/donations are appreciated. [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Islands Museum of Art (IMA)See all information about this member
540 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 370-5050

The new San Juan Islands Museum of Art offers quarterly exhibitions of fine visual art from around the world. The IMA mission is to connect people with art that inspires, challenges, and enlightens. Hours: 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Friday through Monday. Summer hours will vary. Please see the website for current information. Admission is free! [more...]

Friday Harbor
WaterWorks Gallery ShoppingSee all information about this member
315 Argyle
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-3060
Waterworks Gallery, Friday Harbor, Art Scene, Artists

WaterWorks Gallery is San Juan Island’s première gallery for contemporary artwork, established in 1985 with the concept of showcasing artists based in the San Juan Islands and the Pacific Northwest. The work of the gallery’s painters and sculptors reflect the unique Northwest experience. Artists and their visions evolve and change, stimulated by the changing times we live in. Art jewelry is a new addition to the gallery. Monthly show schedule posted online. Seasonally adjusted hours. [more...]

San Juan Island
Discovery Sea Kayaks Bicycle Rentals See all information about this member
260 Spring St
Friday Harbor
(866) 461-2559
(360) 378-2559
Discovery Sea Kayaks - Bicycles in a row

Bike Rentals in the heart of downtown Friday Harbor. Easy and convenient location from the ferry. Explore the island at your own pace. Travel along country roads to beautiful National Parks and Lime Kiln State Park. Pack a picnic and pedal to the west side of San Juan to enjoy sunshine, views of the Olympic Mountains and watch for passing whales from shore.  Rent for one day or several days.  [more...]

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Upcoming Events for San Juan Island

June 14 to August 30
North end of English Camp parking area
June 15 to August 17
English Camp Barracks
June 17 to August 26
American Camp Visitor Center,
June 18, July 16
San Juan Golf & Tennis Club
June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17
Lavendera Massage
June 18 to August 27
American Camp Parking area
June 19, June 26, July 3, July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21, August 28, September 4
Brickworks Plaza, 150 Nichols St.
June 19
San Juan Islands Museum of Art
June 20
Lime Kiln Point State Park