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
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...]

Orcas Island
San Juan Island
Lopez Island
Bicycle AdventuresSee all information about this member
29700 SE High Point Way
Issaquah
(425) 250-5542
(800) 443-6060
Bicycle Adventures - Bicyclist on Road

Bicycle Adventures, Inc is one of North America's premier bicycling and adventure vacation companies, offering fully supported cycling and multi-sport tours in the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Tours feature deluxe lodging and dining, equipment, luggage service, full van support and expert World Outfitters and Guides Association certified tour leaders. [more...]

Friday Harbor
Girlfriends ConsignmentSee all information about this member
210 Nichols Street
Friday Harbor
360-378-4475
Shopping San Juan Island

Men & women's new and gently used clothing including designer labels. We carry formal and casual wear, business suites, jewelry, belts, purses, shoes, boots and so much more!  We are open 7 days a week Monday - Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. [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 more than a dozen working studios, including many artists all around the island. The artists are a group of mutually supportive San Juan Island artists who open 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...]

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
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
The Whale MuseumSee all information about this member
62 First St. N.
Friday Harbor
(800) 946-7227 ext. 30
(360) 378-4710 ext. 30
Whales, Museum, Whale Information, San Juan Island

Housed in an 1892 Odd Fellows Hall overlooking Friday Harbor, The Whale Museum is the local center for Salish Sea stewardship and research since 1979. Many early notable events took place at the Hall, including the year-long murder trial of Richard Straub, the only person ever executed in San Juan County. The courthouse also hosted the fiery orator, Billy Sunday, a proponent of prohibition; the day after his speech, the county council approved prohibition for San Juan County, previous to national passage of the 21st Amendment. Now you can see a young orca skeleton, watch free videos, and find treasures in the museum gift shop. Upstairs, visit the Gallery of Whales and learn about how you can Adopt an Orca to support the 80 Southern Resident orca whales that call Northwest waters home. [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
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 VineyardsSee all information about this member
3136 Roche Harbor Rd.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-9463
Vineyard, Wine, Shopping, Church, Weddings, San Juan Island

At San Juan Vineyard's beautiful 30-acre vineyard, winery, and historic tasting room, you can sip from a line-up of award-winning wines including estate-grown Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine. Enjoy the ambiance of the grounds at a barrel tasting or harvest festival.

Address: 3136 Roche Harbor Rd., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-9463
Hours: Daily, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. [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...]

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
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
Paula West Pottery ShoppingSee all information about this member
160 Mac Ginitie Road
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-2391
Paula West Pottery, Arts Scene, Crafts, San Juan Islands

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.   [more...]

Friday Harbor
A Place to PlaySee all information about this member
55 Spring St.
Friday Harbor
(360) 378-0378
Fishing Boat

Come visit Friday Harbor's newest attraction for kids. Located in the heart of downtown; this happy and colorful indoor space is filled with creative and imaginative play areas, designed for ages 1 to 10. It is the perfect spot for kids to move, build, create, socialize and explore, while parents can relax, catch up with a friend and are always welcome to join in the fun. [more...]

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Upcoming Events for San Juan Island

May 23
San Juan Island Library
May 25
First block of Spring Street to the Harbor
May 25
San Juan Community Theatre
May 30
San Juan Golf & Country Club, 806 Golf Course Road
June 6 to June 7
San Juan Island
June 12 to June 14
595 Park Street
June 15 to June 19
San Juan Islands Museum of Art
June 19, June 26, 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.