San Juan Island & Friday Harbor | San Juan Islands Washington Visitors Bureau | Orcas Island | Lopez Island | Friday Harbor | San Juan Island

San Juan Island & Friday Harbor

Discover 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 in the distance, and two iconic lighthouses. Variety, beauty, serenity ... day after amazing day.

Friday Harbor is the Gateway to the San Juan Islands

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, the San Juan Historical Society & Museum, San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA), San Juan Community Theatre, or meander through the marina.

Drive the Scenic Byway to Roche Harbor and back

When you are ready to adventure out of Friday Harbor, the Scenic Byway routes (North, South and West) take you through rolling farmlands, along stunning coastlines, and past some of the main attractions on San Juan Island, such as Cattle Point Lighthouse, American Camp, Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse, English Camp, San Juan Vineyards and more.

If you are into outdoor adventure, go out on a whale and wildlife watching tour, kayak tour, or go hiking or biking. After a day of adventure, explore some  of the great restaurants on San Juan Island, such as McMillin's at Roche Harbor, or enjoy a great meal in Friday Harbor.

Voices of the Islands - San Juan Island - Ferry Captain Donna

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island
Friday Harbor House, San Juan Island

Well-appointed hotels or bed & breakfast inns in Friday Harbor, private cabins overlooking the water, cozy cabins tucked away in pastoral loveliness, its all here, offering you different atmospheres and opportunities to enjoy your San Juan Island getaway.

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Visit Friday Harbor for a great espresso or delicious locally grown food. Browse shops, galleries & museums. Visit a farm, hear great music or just wander the many beautiful beaches on this tranquil island. Whale watching, cycling, kayaking, hiking and boating are also favorite activities on San Juan Island.

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Experience San Juan Island

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      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. 

      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.

      At historic Roche Harbor 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.