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.

 

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
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...]

San Juan Island
Horseshu Guest Ranch - Horseback RidingSee all information about this member
131 Gilbert Lane
Friday Harbor
360-378-2298
Lodging Friday Harbor San Juan Island

We offer riding lessons, scenic forrest trail and pony rides, full care horse boarding, hay and grain sales as well as an outdoor riding arena. Give us a call and head out to Horseshu Ranch for some fun! [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Kayak ExpeditionsSee all information about this member
85 Front St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-4436
San Juan Kayak Expeditions Main

Established in 1980, San Juan Kayak Expeditions is the original sea kayaking company in the San Juan Islands!  Your kayak adventure begins at our conveniently located Sea Kayak Center kiosk directly across from the ferry dock in Friday Harbor. We offer fun outings for all tastes and budgets such as our guided Whales Ho! Full Day tour and our Griffin Bay Full Day, Half Day or Sunset tours! [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...]

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...]

San Juan Island
Pelindaba Lavender FarmSee all information about this member
45 Hawthorne Lane
Friday Harbor
(866) 819-1911
(360) 378-4248
Pelindaba Lavender Farm, San Juan Island, agri-tourism

Pelindaba Lavender Farm, spread over 25 beautiful acres with lake and Olympic Mountain views, has become one of the San Juans' most popular destinations. More than 240 lavender-based, botanical, culinary, personal care, therapeutic, household and pet care products are handcrafted and sold on-site or in their Friday Harbor store year round. Address: 45 Hawthorne Lane off Wold Rd.; (360) 378-4248 Hours: Wed.–Sun., 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m., Apr. & Oct.; daily May–Sept.; closed Nov.–Mar. [more...]

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

WaterWorks Gallery was 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.

Location: 315 Argyle St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-3060
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]

San Juan Island
BrickworksSee all information about this member
150 Nichols St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-0095
Brickworks - Main

Restored in 2013, the Brickworks is now a center for cultural life in Friday Harbor, with a large hall and outdoor plaza for concerts and community gatherings. Visit on a Saturday, and you’ll find fresh local produce at the San Juan Island Farmers’ Market. On Fridays in the summertime, local artists sell their creations at the Friday Harbor Art Market. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Dan Levin OriginalsSee all information about this member
50 First St.
Friday Harbor
(800) 234-5078
(360) 378-2051
Shopping Jewelry San Juan Island

From their studio overlooking Friday Harbor, designer goldsmiths Dan and Diane Levin enjoy an enthusiastic international following. The exquisitely detailed designs they create stand out among the classics of fine jewelry design the world over.

Levin original designs are copyrighted and each individual creation receives the Levin signature, hand-engraved by the artist. [more...]

San Juan Island
Paula West PotterySee all information about this member
160 MacGinitie Rd.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2391
Paula West Pottery Main Sunflower Cups

Visit Paula's studio on the southwest side of San Juan Island, 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 for sale as well as in progress. Location: 160 MacGinitie Rd., San Juan Island; (360) 378-2391 Hours: Call for seasonal 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
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...]

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 in an idyllic setting featuring 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 exciting new additions every year.

Location: Roche Harbor Road at Roche Harbor entrance; (360) 370-0035
Hours: Open year round, dawn to dusk [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...]

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Upcoming Events for San Juan Island

July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5, August 12, August 19, August 26
American Camp Visitor Center,
July 8
San Juan Island Library
July 8 to August 23
See Description
July 8, July 15, July 22, July 29, August 5
405 Park Street
July 2, July 9, July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27
American Camp Parking area
July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21, August 28
Sunken Park
July 3, July 4, July 5, July 10, July 11, July 12, July 17, July 18, July 19, July 24, July 25, July 26, July 31, August 1, August 2, August 7, August 8, August 9, August 14, August 15, August 16, August 21, August 22, August 23, August 28, August 29, August 30, September 4, September 5, September 6
Pelindaba Lavender Farm, 45 Hawthorne Lane
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.
July 3, July 10, July 17, July 24, July 31, August 7, August 14, August 21, August 28
English Camp Barracks