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
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...]

Friday Harbor
PedalAnywhere San JuansSee all information about this member
50 Malcolm Street, Suite E
Friday Harbor
360-317-6668
Bicycling San Juan Islands

We rent quality bikes for 2 days up to months at a time in Friday Harbor, starting at $115 per week.  You can pick up in our store or order delivery of your bike(s) for an additional fee.  Book instantly online, reservations are free. [more...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Golf & Country ClubSee all information about this member
806 Golf Course Road
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2254
Golf San Juan Island

The Pacific Northwest Golf Association rates our golf course as the second best nine-hole course in the state. The Seattle Times calls it "the best golf in the San Juans." The layout has two sets of tees for the front and back nines allowing for an 18-hole golfing experience. The facility also offers a driving range, practice greens, and hand and power carts. For those who prefer tennis, the club has two quality courts available for play seven days a week. [more...]

Orcas Island
San Juan Island
Lopez Island
TerraTrek Bicycle & Multi-Sport Vacations Bicycling ToursSee all information about this member
40 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(888) 441-2433
(360) 378-4223
TerraTrek Bicycle & Multi-Sport Vacations

Escape with TerraTrek on a two- to six-day bicycle and multi-sport vacation through the San Juan Islands. Only a short drive from Seattle or Vancouver B.C., the San Juan Archipelago is an ideal getaway because of our long days of sunshine and plenty of activities. Enjoy cycling along quiet two lane country roads lined with wildflowers that wind down to spectacular vistas of neighboring islands and snowcapped mountain ranges, hiking around lakes that lead down to waterfalls, and kayaking past pebble stone coves and rocky islets in orca whale territory! [more...]

San Juan Island
Western Washington
EverGreen EscapesSee all information about this member
801 S. Fidalgo St., #110
Seattle
(866) 203-7603
(206) 650-5795
EverGreen Escapes, Kayaking, Whale Watching, Hiking Tours

EverGreen Escapes blends nature, adventure, wildlife and local epicurean indulgences into rich and meaningful travel experiences that showcase the best Cascadia has to offer to couples, families and wedding parties. Our naturalist-led small group half-, full- and multi-day escapes aboard luxurious Mercedes vans and SUVs promise to inspire, educate and satisfy explorers from around the planet. [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
A Trophy ChartersSee all information about this member
Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2110
A Trophy Charters - Fishing San Juan Island

Best prices for San Juan Islands salmon and bottom fishing.  Longest established fishing charter  in the San Juans.  We know where the fish are! [more...]

Friday Harbor
Post San JuanSee all information about this member
685 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2400
Post San Juan - main image

A professional packing, shipping and receiving store offering services for FedEx, UPS and USPS.  Private mail boxes available.

Ship your luggage through us and avoid the hassle of carrying excess luggage through the airports. [more...]

San Juan Island
Cap'n Howard's Sailing ChartersSee all information about this member
Roche Harbor
(360) 370-5855
(360) 317-8421
Boating Cruising San Juan Island

Available for sailing charters, whale watching, wildlife tours, sailing lessons, and providing transportation to outer islands.  We leave from Roche Harbor.

  [more...]

Friday Harbor
San Juan Island Food Co-opSee all information about this member
775 Mullis St., Unit C
Friday Harbor
360-370-5170
San Juan Island Food Co-op - Apples

We gladly welcome visitors to shop at the San Juan Island Food Co-op where we vote with our forks in order to support local food production & consumption, reduce trucking & warehousing, and promote healthful nutrition by sourcing responsibly, sustainable & organically produced foods.  

50% of our grocery offerings are local & regional, including pastured meats & poultry, wild-harvested fish, farm fresh produce, eggs, cheese, & milk products, and much more than we can list here! [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
Western Prince Whale Watching San Juan IslandSee all information about this member
1 Spring Street
Friday Harbor
(800) 757-6722
(360) 378-5315
San Juan Islands Whale Watching, Friday Harbor, Washington

Adventure awaits you! Join Western Prince Whale Watching on an intimate sized tour (limited to 32 passengers on the Western Prince II and 15 passengers on the Western Explorer) as we explore protected waters and discover the islands' abundant wildlife and spectacular beauty. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Paradise Lanes Bowling & ArcadeSee all information about this member
365 Spring Street
Friday Harbor
(360) 370-5667
Paradise Lanes Bowling & Arcade - Bowling Pins

Air-conditioned Paradise Lanes and Games Arcade has eight lanes of bowling, three pool tables, air hockey and arcade video games. We also are the only games arcade for the "under-21" set in the islands. [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
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...]

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