10 Fun Things to do this Summer in the San Juans
Long, sunny days let you love your endless summer in the San Juan Islands
hike the hills
1. Take a hike
The San Juan Islands are a hiking paradise, with thousands of acres of public lands available to enjoy. Along rocky bluffs and driftwood covered beaches, you'll find historic lighthouses, stunning vistas and unmatched Salish Sea beauty. Choose your level of difficulty, from easy walks to challenging climbs, across many different landscapes on countless nature preserves and public lands.
The San Juan Islands Historical Parks at American Camp and English Camp offer great trails, and Moran State Park on Orcas Island provides steep summits. Check out the County Parks on all three islands, the San Juan Preservation Trust, and San Juan County Land Bank trails, too!
Ride the country roads
2. Two-wheeled Fun
Each of the San Juan Islands—Lopez, Orcas
Lopez Island is known for its easy, rolling hills and beautiful farmland. A long-time biking destination, choose Lopez for its beautiful scenery, charming village, and safe and easy routes. Orcas Island has multiple challenging climbs with its main village far from the ferry terminal. San Juan Island has both easier routes and steep climbs along cliffs and through island farmland. Learn more about a guided tour or renting bikes from local island shops here!
Kayak through the islands
3. Paddle around
Experience Washington's coastal wildlife and scenery from a spectacular sea-level perspective. The San Juan Islands is a world-class destination for kayaking, with isolated bays, dozens of uninhabited islands, rocky bluffs and vivid sunset paddles on gentle waves. You can drop a kayak in at a San Juan County Park, a serene lake in Moran State Park, or
4. Find beach treasures
Island beaches range from tiny, sandy coves hidden among rocky bluffs, such as Obstruction Pass State Park, to long wide pebbled beaches covered in old-growth driftwood, like South Beach in American Camp at the San Juan Islands National Historical Park.
Have fun exploring with your furry friends, too! They'll love running along the beaches as much as you do - just be sure to keep them on
Explore local farms
5. Fun on the farm
No summer vacation is complete without great food and cute animals! There are many places to find fresh seafood and produce - right here in the islands!
Meet heritage breeds of goats and sheep, walk in an Edible Food Forest, and taste locally grown heritage wheat baked into delicious pastries. Explore Orcas Island's OrcaSong Farm and stroll through fields of fresh lavender, an enchanting garden, and learn how to bring a little bit of the islands home with you. Enjoy crab, clams and oysters from local waters at farms like Buck Bay Shellfish Farm on Orcas Island and Westcott Bay Shellfish Company on San Juan Island. Or spend a day touring different farms (special farm tours available in the fall!) or perusing the Saturday Farmers Markets on Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island. Tour activities change every year, so stay tuned and check out our Savor the San Juans page.
Witness incredible wildlife
6. Nature watching
There’s nothing like being near the Salish Sea on a summer day. You can start a wildlife watching tour from Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, or from Orcas or Lopez Islands. On a boat tour, you will have a chance to see a variety of whales and porpoises, seabirds, sea lions and seals, and the beautiful shorelines of the outer islands. You might pass by notable landmarks like Lime Kiln State Park (a.k.a. Whale Watch Park), Turn Point Lighthouse, Patos Lighthouse, and more!
7. Zip through the forest
If you are looking for a more adventurous experience, change your perspective with a zip-lining trip through the evergreen forests of San Juan Island.
San Juan Zip Tour offers 8 zip-line stations through Western Red Cedar and Douglas fir trees, across a pristine lake, and over protected wetlands. A great way to experience the natural landscape of San Juan Island, take the family for an adrenaline rush! Kids under 18 can zip-line with an accompanying adult, as long as the child weighs at least 60 pounds.
This tour is perfect for anyone who has never gone zip lining before. Everyone starts on practice zip lines before moving to the 600 foot long lines, 60 feet in the air. You're sure to leave exhilarated - no matter what level you're at.
Attend the county fair
8. meet me at the fair
Every August, people come from near and far to attend the popular San Juan County Fair, just a few blocks from the ferry landing in Friday Harbor. Enjoy live entertainment from regional groups, interact and learn from island locals, and experience small-town fun for the whole family!
Play games and win prizes, pet and feed farm animals, and snack on classic fair food favorites! The food court offers classic elephant ears along with a variety of delicacies from Greek to Mexican food. Catch a craft demonstration, a "
Lavender festival and art show
9. Love lavender?
Spend a weekend frolicking in fields of lavender! Each July, the Pelindaba Lavender farm hosts the San Juan Islands Lavender and Summer Arts Fair - a weekend of art, music, and of course, beautiful and delicious lavender! Wander through the purple fields and learn about the history, growing and production of distilled essential oils and other lavender products.
Local artists show and sell their work, and you might even catch them in action! The flower fields often spark creativity, so you might see artists painting or making jewelry right on the farm. Pack a lunch or nibble on lavender snacks as you enjoy this island treasure. Later in the summer, check out the San Juan Summer Arts Festival!
concerts, movies & plays
10. Outdoor entertainment
Nothing says summer quite like a drive-in movie or outdoor concert. In Friday Harbor, enjoy favorite movies and popcorn at the fairground or local parks. See Island Rec's website for info about movie times and locations or the Port of Friday Harbor for an outdoor concert schedule.
All three islands have performances of Shakespeare Under the Stars by Island Stage Left, with a troupe of performers traveling to Orcas, Lopez and San Juan Island.
Looking for the perfect place to spend your summer night? Check out these island options!