Here are the Top 10 Activities on San Juan Island during the quieter times of the year. San Juan Island is spectacular any time of the year. Because Friday Harbor is the county seat, it’s “bustling” even during the quiet season. Here’s why you should visit and if you run out of ideas, ask our concierge.
Three miles outside of town, San Juan Vineyards, a family-owned winery produces two estate-Grown wines, Siegerrebe and Madeleine Angevine. These wines are German varietals that grow well in the cool Puget Sound AVA. San Juan Vineyards procures fruit from vineyards in Yakima and Prosser to create a line up of reds, whites and roses that will surely please. Tour the winery, walk through the vineyards, sip your favorite glass on the patio and watch Mona, the island’s resident camel who lives across the road.
There’s much to savor on San Juan Island no matter what the season. Head down to San Juan Coffee at the Cannery Landing, adjacent to the ferry and and sample their locally roasted coffee. Visit Friday Harbor Seafood and take home some smoked salmon. While you there buy a few treats to feed Popeye, the resident harbor seal. Drive out to the San Juan Island Distillery and sip their hard cider, gins, and brandy. Stroll through the farmer’s market on Saturday mornings at Brickworks.
There are a number of museums and galleries in Friday Harbor that will engage the mind and inspire your creative side. The Island Museum of Art offers world-class art exhibits, the Friday Harbor Historical museum connects us to our island roots and the Whale Museum promotes education and stewardship to protect the island’s resident killer whales. If you find yourself on the north end of the island, stroll through the San Juan Island’s Sculpture Park and discover about 150 unique creations.
Visit Pelindaba Lavender in down town Friday Harbor and peruse the more than 200 products that are made locally at the farm all using lavender. The herb has a multitude of using for medicinal, aromatherapy, personal and pet products, and much more.
Relax and enjoy a slow food farm to fork dinner at this Best of the San Juan Restaurant offering Pacific Northwest cuisine with a Mediterranean Flair.
A trip to San Juan Islands is not complete without learning about the infamous Pig War, a little known conflict between the USA and Great Britain that started over a pig’s death in 1859 and was not settled until 1872. Visit American Camp and English Camp for an interesting view into the politics of the time. Friday Harbor is steeped with history as well.
The Harrison House Suites has received the distinction as one of the “Best Places to Kiss in the Northwest.” So what are you waiting for? Book your suite today and see if they are right! A true romantic knows that the right kiss at the right time at a spectacular place can be a memory of a lifetime.
8. Enjoy Local Music/Plays/Festivals
Ask our concierge to point you to the local watering holes for live music, karaoke, billards, or trivia. Friday Harbor has two thriving theater companies, and locals use any excuse or holiday to have a parade, eat, and party! Check with our concierge about what’s happening during your visit.
If you’re one who wears three devices and is simultaneously texting, e-mailing and facetiming…use your holiday on San Juan Island to disconnect, decaffeinate and unplug even if for a few hours. Let the tension in your shoulders slip away as you savor a glass of wine, a fantastic sunset, or close your eyes and nap under the shade of a madrona tree. No need to find an excuse to turn off the cell phone or shut down the email. Sit by a cozy fire, wrap yourself in warm blanket, and gaze into that special someone’s eyes and slow down…..breathe.
10. Enjoy Family Time
Get away from the rat race of soccer practice, piano lessons and the minivan for a few days! Reconnect with the family, spending time talking, bicycling around the island, going to a small town play, shrimping along the docs or doing puzzles and eating popcorn in your suite.
San Juan Island is home to many species of marine migratory birds and boasts the greatest density of eagles in the lower 48. Looking to add that Rhinoceros Auket or Snowy Owl to your birding list? Well this is the place, and remember your binoculars!