On the edge of the United States and Canadian border is a cluster of islands known as the San Juans. A few hours north of Seattle, this scenic archipelago is one of the Pacific Northwest’s most treasured areas and also home to Friday Harbor, a charming beach town on San Juan Island.
Hop on a Washington State ferry from Anacortes, which is about an hour and a half from Seattle, where you will arrive and take an hour-long ferry ride right into Friday Harbor. Whether you drive on, walk on or bike on, this option allows you to sit back, relax and take in the views riding over to San Juan Island. If you are one who prefers a quicker route to your destination, you can take a short 40- to 50-minute seaplane ride from Seattle’s Lake Union landing right alongside the docks of Friday Harbor.
With a variety of lodging options in Friday Harbor, there is something that accommodates everyone and all group sizes. Such as the historic Tucker House Inn, just one minute from the ferry terminal. This cozy bed and breakfast is ideal for those looking to have a quiet getaway. The Evening Star room comfortably sleeps two, with a large jetted tub, walk-in shower, a fireplace and balcony overlooking the town. Enjoy a freshly made breakfast delivered daily to your room; breakfast is also available on the go for those who may be departing early in the morning from the island. If you are looking at hotels on the higher-end, check out Friday Harbor House. Only a few steps from the harbor, this boutique hotel is equipped with noteworthy views, fireplaces and on-site dining in the restaurant/bar.
San Juan Island is filled with lots of activities for all ages, with its lush forests with excellent hiking and fishing, along with some of the best crabbing. Seeking a little more adventure? The island has biking tours available through Terra Trek, suitable for both the novice and more experienced riders. This allows you to explore the island while taking in the fresh air and scenery. One of the most popular adventures in Friday Harbor is whale watching, and San Juan Safaris are experts in this guided tour. There is nothing quite as breathtaking as seeing a pod or majestic Orca whales cruising around the islands. If you arrive on the island by car, take a quick 20-minute drive to the other end of San Juan to check out the McMillin Memorial Mausoleum. This historical landmark is easily accessible via a short walking trail and is a must when visiting.
San Juan Brewing Company is a wonderful place to stop by and enjoy good food and drinks with the family or for a casual date night. The brewery has great beers on tap and brews everything on-site (try a cold glass of Quarry No. 9 Pale Ale or the Island Fir Double Red IPA), with appetizers like the pub pretzel accompanied with Quarry No. 9 beer cheese and mustard mayo or the fried Wisconsin cheese curds to soak it all up. Head down the road to Madrone Cellars & Cider, pouring organic wines, bubbles and cider in the tasting room. Stop in for a sip after strolling through town, and savor a refreshing beverage curated with local organic farming practices.
Friday Harbor is a seafood lover’s dream with the freshest catch available at many local restaurants. A beach town well-known for its crabbing and oysters, you will not be disappointed. Stop by Westcott Bay Shellfish Company for light bites and oysters. About 15 minutes from town, this is a great spot to unwind and enjoy the views on a summer day while indulging in tasty food. Bonus: Westcott is both kid-friendly and dog-friendly! Downriggers is in the heart of Friday Harbor perched right above the ferry terminal and is an awesome location in town to grab lunch or watch the sunset as you sip on a cocktail or enjoy a bowl of famous clam chowder. Salty Fox Coffee on Front Street whips up freshly brewed coffee and pastries made daily, making this a much-needed stop when arriving or departing.
For more information on Friday Harbor and San Juan Island, visit www.visitsanjuans.com/san-juan-island.