Here’s the Top 10 Things to Do when visiting San Juan Island. It was surely hard to limit our list to 10! We didn’t want you to miss a thing! Our concierge will be glad to make recommendations if you run out of things to do!
The ability to witness Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) in their natural habitat is an experience of a lifetime. Orcas, humpback and minke whales frequent the waters around San Juan Island year round. Whale watch by boat or by shore. You can often watch the whales feed and play off the west side of the island at Lime Kilm Point State Park. Visit the Whale Museum in Friday Harbor to get a better understanding of these majestic creatures that call the Salish Sea ecosystem home.
2. Sea Kayaking
The San Juan Islands are a world-class kayaking destination in the Pacific Northwest, offering abundant marine wildlife, protected waterways, and beautiful scenery. The Harrison House Suites offers complementary use of sea kayaks for experienced paddlers. For those that prefer a guided trip, there are several kayaking outfitters on San Juan Island that offer a variety of tours based on your ability.
Stroll along a pebbly beach, find a quiet cove, smell the scent of a cedar forest and watch fox frolicking with their pups in a distant meadow. Bike the island or rent a moped to cruise the 32 mile loop that circumnavigates the island.
Enjoy a picturesque ride on the the inter-island ferry. Take a bike across and pedal around Lopez or Shaw or walk on and our concierge will rent you a car at the Orcas Island ferry landing. Want to be more remote, schedule a private plane or boat charter to the non-ferry served outer islands (there are 743 islands, islets and reefs – 428 at high tide!)
Pelindaba Lavender Farm is a must on your San Juan Island itinerary. The fields are simply magical. There is an endless sea of purple no matter which direction you look and you will be transported into a state of relaxation from the scent all around you. While visiting the farm, tour the production facility to learn how lavender is distilled and to find all the amazing uses for this herb in everyday life – medicinal, culinary and for personal products. Sample some lavender ice cream!
We’re happy to share our favorite picnic spot if you promise not to share! We have a number of personal favorites. Let our chef pack a picnic for your outing.
With all these activities to fit into your itinerary, take time to recharge with a slow food farm to fork dinner at Coho Restaurant.
Experience a small town fair that brings the entire county to Friday Harbor the 3rd week of August. It is a 5 day celebration of food, fun, livestock, music and exhibits.
Take home a postcard either figuratively or in your memory from a visit to this iconic lighthouse.
Grab a bucket and walk along virtually any road on San Juan Island and start picking. They are perfectly ripe when the fruit slips easily off the vines. Have a pie crust or a pint of ice cream ready! There’s nothing better!
11. Visit on the 4th of July for a day long party – Parade, Street Dance, Fireworks and Pig War Barbecue
The day begins at dawn when the canons go off and the island parties until well after the fireworks. There is a friendly island rivalry between San Juan and Lopez as to who has the best fireworks show.