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
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...]

Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor DrugSee all information about this member
210 Spring St
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-4421
Friday Harbor Drug - Tacoma Public Library

The Friday Harbor Drug Company, on the corner of Spring and Second Streets, is an amalgam of two historic structures. The 2-story building at 220 Spring St. was built by Dr. George Wright in the 1890s to house the town's original pharmacy. This building went on to become Friday Harbor's first public library; on its inaugural day, the library's entire 28-volume collection was checked out. The corner building, built between 1908 and 1912, operated as a clothing and gift store, the U.S. Customs office and as headquarters for The Islander newspaper. The two buildings were joined in 1929, and was the town's only example of Spanish Eclectic architecture popular in the West at that time,operating as the town's main pharmacy ever since. [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...]

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
Paula West PotterySee all information about this member
160 MacGinitie Rd.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2391
Paula West Pottery

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 for sale as well as in progress.

Location: 160 MacGinitie Rd., San Juan Island; (360) 378-2391
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]

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

Island Studios is a fine arts and crafts gallery opened in 1996 for the exclusive purpose of representing artists and craftspersons who live in the islands.

Location: 270 Spring St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-6550
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]

Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor Marine & YachtsSee all information about this member
4 Front St., Suite C
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-6202
Boating Cruising San Juan Island

Friday Harbor Marine is in Spring Street Landing, on the waterfront in Friday Harbor. Friday Harbor Marine offers a variety of activities to get visitors out onto the water. Rent family-safe Hobie pedal kayaks, Duffy electric party boats, Boston Whalers with outboards, or Stabi Craft runabouts.  Explore the marina, Brown Island, and the protected harbor from the water, or take a short ride to Turn Island State Park for a hike and a picnic, or go fishing or crabbing. Friday Harbor Marine also provides yacht brokerage and marine repair services at our slips on the Fuel Pier. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Be Chic BoutiqueSee all information about this member
125 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-6454
shopping Clothing San Juan Island

At Be Chic Boutique you'll find fresh and feminine clothing with a Northwest flair. We carry hand picked clothing, shoes, lingerie, jewelry and accessories to keep you current on all the new fashions. Styles are individual and eclectic, mixing cutting edge fashion with classic and comfortable clothing. Be Chic carries clothing by Charlotte Tarantola, Jag Jeans, Anne Ferriday, For Love & Liberty, Worn Jeans, Johnny Was Collection/JWLA, Rock Revival, Leatherock, Royal Plush, Tribal, Hanky Panky, Nougat, One Girl Who, David Kahn Jeanswear and many more designers. [more...]

San Juan Island
Landscape CyclesSee all information about this member
845 Argyle Avenue
Friday Harbor
541-357-0834
360-378-2311
Landscape Cycles - Bicyclist Cattle Pt. Rd.

Welcome to Landscape Cycles, where all of your travel plans are taken care with style, sensibility, and comfort in mind. We're a one-stop shop for your travel and exploration needs in the San Juans. Experience the unique San Juan Island landscape by land and sea. We offer lightweight quality hybrid road bikes allowing your comfort and enjoyment of the coastline.  [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Community Theatre See all information about this member
100 Second St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-3210
San Juan Community Theatre - Outside of Bldg.

San Juan Community Theatre is a state-of-the-art facility far exceeding expectations of what might be found on a remote island. The theatre offers a broad variety of high-quality, locally-produced events, as well as performances by renowned touring music, theatre and dance companies, and is active year-round.

Location: 100 Second St.; (360) 378-3210
Hours: Visit www.sjctheatre.org for schedule and showtimes [more...]

San Juan Island
Cranberry Cottage ToursSee all information about this member
1467 Tarte Rd.
Friday Harbor
360-378-9569
Cranberry Cottage Tours - Bedroom

Cranberry Cottage was built in 2009 to replicate a Queen Anne Victorian-style home from the 1800's. Each room is filled with many period antiques that Michael Jean has collected over the years, including a vintage wood burning stove, antique wall phone and gas light fixtures. The Smiths considered every detail when building their new home with Victorian detail: 10 ft. ceilings with transom doorways, beautiful antique woodwork and landscaping. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Island Studios ShoppingSee 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
Sea Quest Kayak ToursSee all information about this member
2 Spring Street
Friday Harbor
(888) 589-4253
(360) 378-5767
Sea Quest Kayak Tours - San Juan Islands Kayaking Trips

Join a "Kayak Quest for Whales” today! Our specialty is finding orca whales while kayaking. Sea Quest was selected by National Geographic in their “10 Best Trips in the World for 2011” and USA Today picked us for their “World's Top 10 Adventure Bargains.” Visit our website now to watch fantastic videos made for National Geographic TV and ABC News. [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Island Artists' Studio TourSee all information about this member
San Juan Island
(360) 378-5594
Art, Event, Studio Tour San Juan Island

The San Juan Islands Artists' Studio tour is a free, self-guided tour of 13 working studios, including 39 participants all around the island. The artists are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open up their personal studio spaces, often including artistic gardens, to the public for an entire weekend each spring.

Location: Various studios on San Juan Island
Visit www.sanjuanislandartists.com for dates and times [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 watch and learn about her art glass panels, miniature sculptures (jewelry), and encaustic (beeswax) paintings. Artwork is available for sale and custom commissions are always welcome.

Location: 1296 Wold Rd., San Juan Island; (360) 378-6725
Hours: Call for seasonal hours [more...]

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