Fun Family Activities in the San Juans
Make great memories with your family with outdoor adventures, indoor activities and unforgettable moments together
- Whale & Wildlife Watching: The San Juan Islands are one of the best places in the world to see orca whales in their natural environment, and your best chance to see them is on a whale & wildlife tour. But you may also catch a glimpse of "blackfish" from land, at Lime Kiln Point State Park (a.k.a. Whale Watch Park) on San Juan Island.
- Kayaking around the islands' coves and beaches makes for an unforgettable family day. Or canoeing or paddle-boating on a still lake.
- Summer Camps & Classes: San Juan County Parks & Recreation has a variety of summer camps and fun activities & classes.
- Dog parks and other pet-friendly places on all three islands.
- Bring your skateboard and visit the islands' three skate parks in Lopez Village, at Buck Park on Orcas Island, and at the San Juan County Fairgrounds in Friday Harbor.
- In August, visit the old-fashioned San Juan County Fair in Friday Harbor to see farm animals, ride carnival rides and eat elephant ears.
- Libraries on Orcas, Lopez, San Juan Island offer internet access, great books and fun events.
Moran State Park’s five fresh-water lakes include Cascade Lake, with special appeal for families—a sandy beach and designated swimming and play area. Rent a paddle boat if you’re feeling energetic, or cast a fishing line off the dock. Visit the salmon hatchery at the lake’s day-use area. Take a little hike and see a waterfall or circle around to hug an old-growth tree, or go horseback riding through the forest with Orcas Island Trail Rides. Near Cascade Lake, there are also two pools on Orcas Island; Rosario Resort has an indoor lap pool at the spa, and two outdoor pools, one at the Marina, and one near the Mansion (21-and-over), where you can sit and sip a cocktail by the water.
Orcas Island’s biggest village is the takeoff point for nearby beaches to explore—Crescent Beach, Waterfront Park, or North Beach—and at Eastsound’s Buck Park kids will find a 15,000-square-foot, world-class skate park. The town’s bakeries, good library, and gift shops appeal to kids, and consider taking your lunch to the Village Green and relaxing in the shade of fruit trees. The Funhouse Commons provides fun and educational activities and classes for children.
Call ahead to schedule a personalized tour of Once in a Blue Moon Farm—feed chickens, alpacas, llamas, horses, goats and sheep. You can also gather eggs, collect flowers and herbs to take with you, sample fruit and help groom farm animals.
Do your kids like to skateboard? There's a cool skate park right in Lopez Village, just across the street from Blossom Grocery, where you can pick up lunch, then sit and watch the action. The charming Lopez Island Public Library is just down the street, with ongoing events for kids and adults. The Family Resource Centre in Lopez Village offers a dynamic range of courses, activities and day camps throughout the year. Families can pick from a broad selection including sailing, kayaking and creative arts.
San Juan Island
A visit to the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park is a great way to see art in the great outdoors. With more than 125 sculptures situated on 20 gorgeous acres at Roche Harbor. Kids love to walk around these amazing sculptures and let their imaginations roam free. Have a picnic or watch the birds and butterflies flit about, while enjoying one of the best outdoor art experiences anywhere.
Add an adrenaline kick to your adventure with the only public zip line experience in the islands. Zip San Juan zips you from platform to platform through the forest canopy, across an otter-inhabited lake, and over protected wetlands. Plan on about three hours, including transport to and from Friday Harbor. Ages 8 and up (minimum weight 60 pounds); under age 17 requires an adult along. At Horseshu Ranch, you can go horseback riding through beautiful San Juan Island forested trails.
There are three pools to cool off in on San Juan Island, one at Earthbox Inn & Spa, one at the San Juan Fitness Club, and an outdoor, seasonal pool at Roche Harbor Resort.
The Whale Museum, in Friday Harbor, is a fun way to see and hear the whales up close, and learn about the Salish Sea marine environment. A Place to Play, also in Friday Harbor, is a great business where kids and parents can play together in a miniature boat, farm, kitchen and more. Friday Harbor also has a bowling alley, where you can spend a drizzly afternoon.