About Friday Harbor
Seaside Town of Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor is located on beautiful San Juan Island, in an archipelago of 170 islands in the Salish Sea between Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria. Friday Harbor is a picture-perfect historic seaport surrounded by spectacular mountain and marine views. With a natural grandeur that combines salty breezes, vibrant blue water, pebbled beaches and fragrant woods, it is a rare, unspoiled retreat ideal for outdoor adventurers, wildlife enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Friday Harbor, an antidote to city life, is a small, well-preserved community. It’s a year-round destination, accessible only by ferry or seaplane, where visitors can easily get around on foot to indulge in the eclectic collection of art galleries, coffeehouses, boutiques and eateries. Nestled in the center of a “rain shadow” cast by the mountains on the Olympic Peninsula, Friday Harbor enjoys nearly 250 days of sunshine each year and only half the annual rainfall of nearby Seattle, making it a place where kayaking, biking and walking are as common as driving. It is one square mile of walkable seaside activity, recreation and culture, known for its picturesque streetscape of turn of the century wood frame buildings and popular harbor.
The residents of Friday Harbor are proud to have no stop lights, billboards or look-alike big-box retail stores. Instead, the hamlet offers authentic small-town atmosphere, rich with culture, and a landscape of pastoral countryside and marine views.
One often-asked question is how Friday Harbor was named. The story goes that a ship’s captain was shouting to shore “what bay is this?” and hearing the reply of “Friday” in response to the misheard question “what day is this?” Hence it is always Friday in Friday Harbor!
Despite its small size, Friday Harbor boasts nearly 150 historic buildings reflecting the community’s civic, commercial and residential history. The town has been selected as a 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destination by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Friday Harbor is one of Washington’s few seaport villages to survive the turn-of-the-century fires that engulfed early Seattle and other cities. Its authentic downtown streetscape and postage-size Memorial Park are the gateway to discovering the rich history, rural character and pristine marine environment of the San Juan archipelago. Friday Harbor is rich with history celebrating its centennial in 2009.
Friday Harbor and the San Juan Islands have long been recognized as one of the Northwest’s most beautiful destinations – and getting here is half the fun!