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.

 

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
Friday Harbor Cruises Wildlife ToursSee all information about this member
1 Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
360-317-4321
Friday Harbor Cruises - Seals on Rocks

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
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...]

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...]

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...]

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...]

Friday Harbor
Zip San JuanSee all information about this member
1959 Egg Lake Road
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-5947
Zip San Juan

Come and experience for yourself the only Zip Line Tour in the San Juan Islands. Our family friendly zip tour features eight zip lines that will take you through a beautiful forest, across a pristine lake and over protected wetlands. This tour is an amazing way to experience the natural landscape of San Juan Island while zipping from platform to platform through the forest canopy. [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
Afterglow Spa at Roche HarborSee all information about this member
232 Reuben Memorial Drive
Roche Harbor
(360) 378-9888
Spa massage San Juan Island

Conveniently located in the new Quarryman Hall building in Roche Harbor Resort, the Afterglow Spa is the perfect complement to your experience on San Juan Island.  Begin your vacation with a relaxing massage, or indulge in one of our signature body treatments, hydrotherapy, steam room, facials, manicures and pedicures. [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
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
San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife ToursSee all information about this member
Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
360-298-0012
San Juan Island Whale & Wildlife Tours - New Spy Hop

Join owner Captain Hobbes aboard "Natsilane" for an intimate whale & wildlife tour of a lifetime. Limited to only 6 passengers, come discover the unique ecosystems of the Salish Sea in a comfortable and stable boat with a heated cabin, indoor & outdoor seating, and a restroom. Tours depart one or two times daily depending on the season. [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...]

San Juan Island
San Juan Outfitters KayakingSee all information about this member
2 Spring Street Landing
Friday Harbor
(866) 810-1483
(360) 378-1962
Kayaker Enjoying The Waters off San Juan Island

Specializing in high quality, low guide to guest ratio, sea kayak tours: 5-hour whale tours by kayak,  3- hour nature tour by kayak, multi-sport kayak tours,  overnight kayak camping tours and family kayak tours.

San Juan Outfitters owns the exclusive private kayak launching rights at Roche Harbor  and kayak launching rights in Friday Harbor.   

  [more...]

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Upcoming Events for San Juan Island

July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29
American Camp Visitor Center
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 11, July 12
San Juan County Courthouse lawn on Court Street
July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29, September 5, September 12, September 19, September 26, October 3, October 10, October 17, October 24, October 31
July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 22, August 29
July 4, July 11, July 18, July 25, August 1, August 8, August 15, August 22, August 29
English Camp Parade Ground
July 11 to August 1
WaterWorks Gallery
July 5, July 12, July 19, July 26, August 2, August 9, August 16, August 23, August 30
North end of English Camp parking area
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 11, July 12
San Juan County Courthouse lawn on Court Street