A Weekend of History on San Juan Island
Step back in time on an island rich with stories and historically significant sites
San Juan Island is located within an archipelago of islands in the Salish Sea between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C. The town of Friday Harbor is one square mile worth of picturesque turn-of-the-century wood-frame buildings and a popular harbor. Surprisingly, many visitors never wander much beyond the ferry terminal to discover an island rich with history, beautiful countryside and
In 1859, Great Britain and the United States agreed to a joint occupation of San Juan Island until the water boundary between the two nations could be settled. During this time it was decided the two camps would be located on opposite ends of the island and have remained this way every since. A visit to San Juan Island's English Camp may include watching a historical reenactment, strolling the gardens, walking up the trail to Mount Young and viewing the historic structures left over from the Royal British Marines occupation during the Pig War.
A visit to American Camp in the San Juan Island National Historical Park may include hiking through the grassy prairies down to South Beach, the longest public beach on the island. From American Camp you can enjoy views over the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Mountains, or head up Mount Finlayson for views of Cattle Point Lighthouse and then down to 4th of July Beach. It is fascinating to learn more about the fourteen years of American military presence on the island and envision how it would have looked during its height of occupation. American Camp is home to
A little over a mile up from the ferry terminal, the San Juan Historical Society & Museum is a good place to stop and learn more about how Friday Harbor has been the commercial hub of the San Juan Islands since the 1890s. Located on the grounds of the former James King Farm, the San Juan Historical Society consist of eight buildings. I spent a quiet Saturday morning touring the property with local historian, Kevin
In fifty-five square
Sleep in History
Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island have many historical inns, bed & breakfasts and other lodging options. Find your favorite and learn their stories.