wildlife, whales, seals, kayaking, bed and breakfasts (charming!), banana belt- sunshine!!!, harbor views, pebble beaches
Things are kind of expensive, the ferries can be difficult to deal with
It's easy to fall in love with Friday Harbor
If it were just Friday Harbor in question, this place would barely rate a mention in any tourist's book. The fact is, there really isn't that much to this little town. The thing that makes it so popular for tourists is the close proximity to so many other activities and beautiful places all over the San Juan Islands, but on San Juan Island itself...more
Finding things to do in the San Juan Islands can be an interesting experience, and not necessarily easy for those who are used to finding out about everything online.Here in the San Juan Islands, news tends to travel along traditional routes - word of mouth and public posters are still commonplace.If you want to find out what is going on around the...more
I mention this because, though I did not rent a boat here, there was a question on the Lopez Island forum not too long ago (written in August of 2013) about renting a sailboat on that island.While I am not sure what is available on Lopez Island (it doesn't have as much as San Juan Island or Friday Harbor), Friday Harbor does have at least one place...more
Spent a long holiday weekend at Snug Harbor Marina with friends. The management was supportive and...more
My wife and I were visiting family on Friday Harbor and because their house was packed, we needed...more
one of the best experiences of our travels. our entire experience was excellent from the staff, to...more
Located very close to that premium location that is the Washington State Ferry terminal in Friday Harbor, the Market Chef has soups, salads, and sandwiches that are fresh made to order. Like anyone making food in the San Juan Islands, the price will seem a bit expensive except when you compare it to everywhere else on the islands. They claim the...more
This house converted into a restaurant is typical of what you might have found in Friday Harbor decades ago, before the tourist traffic had increased so much. It is not too far from downtown Friday Harbor to render it impossible to walk, but at the same time it is far enough away that tourists don't tend to find it as much as the places downtown.I...more
There is a wide variety of food available from The Doctor's, and so this place is hard to classifly. It claims to be a café, but they also have ice cream and other more substantial food items available, depending on the season.The most important feature to note is the opening time: 4:30 in the morning. This is due to the 5:50 am departure of the...more
Yes, in fact Friday Harbor does in fact have a movie theatre that shows all the latest movies to hit the screen. "The Palace" is perhaps a little bit of an exaggeration as it is only another storefront on Spring Street.However, let's face it: Friday Harbor can not support a vast multi-plex movie theatre, especially in the winter months when the...more
Unfortunately Friday Harbor doesn't have that much when it comes to night life. This bowling alley is one of the few things in town that is open until reasonably late at night (9:30 on many nights). Prices are a bit cheaper from noon until 6 pm, however. It is located in a modern strip mall just off Spring Street, several blocks from downtown.If it...more
63 Reviews and Opinions
NOTE: The photo above does not show the San Juan Transit bus stopped at the ferry terminal. It is stopped in traffic. The actual bus stop for the ferry terminal is to the left of this view, in the auto staging area of the ferry terminal. There is an actual bus stop sign at this location. Thee actual bus stop is shown in photo 2. This tiny strip of...more
While the Victoria Clipper primarily aims its sights at Seattle to Victoria service all year, and the name "Clipper Vacations" implies they are a package tour company, the fact is their primary revenue is their small fleet of boats that provide passenger only ferry service to various locations. This includes a seasonal passenger-only trip that...more
The San Juan Islands services are the most complicated of those offered by the Washington State Ferry system. Ships depart Anacortes, and run direct to Friday Harbor. Other trips stop at Lopez and/or Shaw and/or Orcas island before arriving at Friday Harbor. Some trips operate from Anacortes direct to Friday Harbor and then continue to Sidney,...more
Located slightly south of the intersection of Spring Street and First Street, King's Market is well known as for many years it was the only grocery store in the city, and the largest on the island. It is not, however, especially large. It does maintain an inventory of most of life's necessities when it comes to food and drink and other needs of day...more
Located fairly close to the ferry terminal, this store is the retail branch of the San Juan Island lavender farm named Pelindaba. They have become reasonably well known throughout the region for their extensive line of lavender products, but as there is no nearby competition (as there is in, say, Sequim which is a well known lavender producing...more
Currently the Farmer's Market is located down a street shown on the maps as "Sunshine Alley", which may be accessed from three different directions. The location is a small empty lot located behind several businesses. It isn't especially difficult to find on foot as there are a number of signs on the sidewalk indicating its location. However, by...more
Because the San Juan Islands have no natural water source for fresh water, all drinking water is hauled in from the mainland. A local custom has developed from this of not providing a glass of water during your meal. If you would like a glass of water, all you need do is ask, but since many don't drink the water put in front of them, the islanders have learned not to waste it. But they'll gladly get you a some if you just ask.
Remember that the people of Friday Harbor live there. All the time. We don't disappear in the winter. If you are respectful of them, their environment, and the wildlife (do not harrass the whales) then you will be welcomed with open arms. If you are disrespectful towards our home and are rude, pushy, etc people will be pleasant but you will just be...more
Be very careful when riding a bike or one of those $%#@&*%$ mopeds that are for rent on this island. Literally every week in the summer the newspapers have at least one note about a tourist injured falling off a moped. If you drive a car on the island be very watchful of bikes and mopeds during the summer. Many roads have no shoulder and these slow...more
I took a taxi out to Roche Harbor and didn't know that there are NO published rates on Friday Harbor, so they charged me $35.00 - two people, 2 bags. Unreal. Turns out there is another taxi that only charges $20.00 for the same trip, so be sure you find out the fare before you get into that cab! Find out the fare before you get in, shop...more
Wear comfortable shoes; it is easier to walk through town then drive in the summer. And bring casual clothing. Even to a nicer restauarant the attire is simple. At the community theatre, it is common to see people in jeans and a nice sweater.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: In the summer Benedryl for any Stinging Nettle plant brush ups. Also bug repellant for mosquitoes, but only at twilight.
Photo Equipment: Camera is a must. Everything is a postcard waiting to happen.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: Camping is easy. You don't have to worry about bear or cougar; we don't have any. Prepare for racoons though...
In an acknowledgement of First Nations culture, this story pole was erected in Fairweather Park.Calling these totem poles isn't always accurate. A totem pole tells the story of a particular family living in a particular longhouse. Story poles tell a particular legend that isn't associated with a particular family. This pole does a little of both.A...more
This modern but attractive structure serves as the arrival and departure point for the Victoria Clipper, and sits at the end of the pier from which a number of the whale watch boats and other tour vessels depart.However, rather than consider it a "transportation" tip I have put it in the "Off the Beaten Path" category because the facility has some...more
In some ways, Spring Street Landing isn't that much of an off the beaten path place. This is where the Victoria Clipper ties up once a day during peak tourist season, and quite a number of people walk past here. However, other than the public rest rooms, few people seem to appreciate the structure for what it has.There is a very attractive mural...more
Whale Watching is a big deal off San Juan Island and that is why we went there on a trip to Seattle.We saw at least 15 orca whales on our trip with San Juan Safaris. We drove up and used the ferry to get to the island. The ferry ride over was nice too, about an hour. You might want to bring your own food the food on the ferry was from a machine....more
If you are in the islands either get out on the water or IN the water. Winter is a great time to dive up here, and there are lots of great spots. Be careful of strong currents, know what you are doing and dive with a buddy. Bring your cold water gear or drysuit. Or you can rent equipment from Island Dive, which has a shop right down at the Port....more
63 Reviews and Opinions
Well, I happen to like rainy days. I would like to caution visitors who believe the publicity that says 270 sunny days per year -- or some such number. Somehow, somewhere, someone read climate information in a meteorological data set and saw that there are 270 (or whatever) "days with sun". My memory may fail me, but when I last read in a similar...more
There are many public beaches on the island, and they are all beautiful. South Beach, is great for beachcombing, barbecueing, partying and flying kites. Eagle Cove is a great family beach, especially for small kids. It is a nice sheltered cove, a little bit of a hike down from the parking area. The beach is sandy and the water is pretty shallow...more
Take a drive around the island, and explore the beautiful inland scenery also. We were amazed at the lush but bucolic landscape and how many little farms and homesteads were there. No (or at least we didn't see them) subdivisions! The island is very manageable to drive around, with services at both ends (Roche Harbor and Friday Harbor). Most...more