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

The San Juan Islands Museum of Art has exciting plans for a beautiful new facility opening in early 2015. The design by architect Richard Hobbs features interior Main and North Galleries within the walls of the existing building and a proposed outdoor South Terrace Gallery, the combination of which invites all to participate and be involved in the world of the IMA visual arts experience. The new San Juan Islands Museum of Art will provide quarterly exhibits that reflect the best of the visual arts from the northwestern U.S. and southwestern Canada. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Lavendera MassageSee all information about this member
285 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(800) 349-0337
(360) 378-3637
Spa massage San Juan Island

From your first step over our threshold into our earthy, sensual environment, you will feel comfortable exactly as you are. Like our island home, our warm, accessible ambiance invites visitors to reconnect with the beauty and wisdom within. [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. [more...]

San Juan Island
Friday Harbor CruisesSee all information about this member
1 Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
360-317-4321
Friday Harbor Cruises - "Bee" main

Experience the islands with a cruise on the “Bee”!  A proper little yacht, the Bee is a Grand Banks 32 and is one of the most comfortable boats in the harbor. A sunny flying bridge or a heated cabin offer all weather comfort as we see wildlife in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Captain Greg’s stories of the colorful history of soldiers, smugglers, and the wildlife in this corner of the world will keep you entertained and informed. Try a sunset cruise or our “Round the Rock” day trip that circles the island with a lunch stop at Roche Harbor. [more...]

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

We offer guided or unguided kayak trips, starting at 2 hours, from downtown Friday Harbor to the inner harbor, Brown Island, or to beautiful Turn Island State Park, where you can hike the trails, enjoy a beach picnic, and explore the tide pools. Our fleet of Hobie kayaks includes singles, tandems and trimarans, and can be paddled, pedaled, sailed or even driven by an electric motor. The unique and versatile Hobie kayaks are extremely stable, and suitable for pros or beginners of any age. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Discovery Sea Kayaks See all information about this member
260 Spring St
Friday Harbor
(866) 461-2559
(360) 378-2559
Kayaking San Juan Island

"Discovery Sea Kayaks, known by reputation, selected for adventure!" Kayak Tours and Bike Rentals. 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...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Island Yacht ClubSee all information about this member
237 Front St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-3434
SJI Yacht Club Boating - Port of FH

Founded in 1964, the San Juan Island Yacht Club's membership has grown to over 300 active boaters. Our clubhouse is a full service facility with large meeting room, bar and kitchen facilities.  The San Juan Island Yacht Club is a cruising club. Our members travel as far north as Glacier Bay and south to the Gulf of California.  We sponsor 10 to 12 local cruises each year along with major racing events, including the Shaw Island Classic. Additionally, sailors are invited to participate in the One Design race series. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Susie's Mopeds & Car RentalsSee all information about this member
125 Nichols
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 have hourly and daily rates, and two locations Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor.

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

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
Friday Harbor Film FestivalSee all information about this member
10 First St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 298-1939
Friday Harbor Film Festival - Banner

Immerse yourself in more than 40 documentaries, with three days of award-winning films to entertain, inspire and enlighten us about the the people, cultures and environment of the Pacific Rim. [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Outfitters KayakingSee all information about this member
(866) 810-1483
(360) 378-1962
San Juan Outfitters Couple

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. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Kings MarketSee all information about this member
160 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-4505
(360) 378-5228
Kings Market

Kings Market has all of your grocery needs and our upstairs Kings Marine is where you will find a full selection of clothing, shoes, marine and fishing gear. Fresh produce, meat and seafood, full-service deli, and expansive wine department make Kings Market a one-stop shop. [more...]

Friday Harbor
The Toy BoxSee all information about this member
20 First St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-8889
(360) 317-5689
The Toy Box - Inside Store

The Toy Box is a wonderful toy store, whether you are looking for ducks that walk on tightropes, the world's farthest flying Frisbee, or educational toys that make learning fun. The store is full of unique, fun merchandise for every age. You can find a wide variety of puzzles, games, plush toys, art supplies, educational toys, dolls and much more.

Drop by and see Nancy on your next visit. [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...]

Pages