Friday Harbor is a small charming historic town on San Juan Island in San Juan County, Washington State. Friday Harbor is the major commercial center of the San Juan Islands archipelago and a perfect base for exploring this fascinating area. Reachable only by a ferry, Friday Harbor is relaxed, walkable and lively, with small shops, galleries, restaurants and pubs, surrounded by wild, spectacular nature. After sailing with one of the tour boats to see whales that live in the waters around the island, learn more about these magnificent animals by visiting The Whale Museum. The San Juan Islands Museum of Art features works of local artists and the San Juan Community Theatre is a surprisingly high quality theatre offering free plays to everyone. The San Juan Historical Museum and American and British Camps tell the story of the town and island’s past.
1.Lime Kiln Point State Park
Perched on a rocky bluff at the west end of San Juan Island in the San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, Lime Kiln Point is a small day park considered one of the best places in the world to watch whales- humpback, orcas and minke whales. Large pods migrate through this area between May and September. Visitors can watch whales from a 1919 historic lighthouse or from a sea cliff. The park’s Lime Kiln Interpretive Center offers a range of exhibits on resident and transient whale pods as well as on the lime kiln industry that once occupied the area. The park is a beautiful spot to explore in its own right – there are hiking trails along the rugged coast, plenty of birds for bird watchers, opportunities for diving and kayaking or a visit to the historic 19th-century lime kiln.
1567 West Side Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2044
2.Pelindaba Lavender Farm
© Pelindaba Lavender Farm
Pelindaba Lavender Farm is a beautiful spot on San Juan Island, overlooking Olympic Mountains and a tranquil lake, where visitors can stroll through 25 acres of fragrant fields growing certified organic lavender plants. The farm also includes a nursery, essential oil distillery, exhibits on the role of lavender and its products and a Gatehouse Farm Store that sells over 200 lavender-based products for botanical, culinary, therapeutic, household, personal care and pet care use. Visitors are welcome to enjoy picnic on the lawns or in the fields in the summer. Every third weekend in July the farm hosts the Annual San Juan Island Lavender Festival.
45 Hawthorne Ln, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-4248
3.Cattle Point Lighthouse
Overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca where the Haro Straits join the San Juan Channel, Cattle Point Lighthouse stands on the southeastern tip of San Juan Island, Washington State. Next to the light is the state's Cattle Point Natural Resources Conservation Area. The lighthouse is part of the San Juan Islands National Monument. The first light on this spot was a post erected in 1888 with a lens lantern. It was replaced in 1921 by a radio compass station. The 34-foot octagonal, concrete tower was erected on Cattle Point in 1935. The tower's lantern was removed in the late 1950s, and replaced with a 250-mm drum lens we can see on a short mast on top of the tower. The lighthouse was used as a backdrop for an Exxon television commercial in 1984.
San Juan Island, WA
© Whale Museum
The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor, Washington is a natural history museum founded in 1979 with the goal to interpret whales in the wild. Its mission is the protection of wild whales in the Salish Seaecosystem with education and research programs. The Whale Museum has a range of exhibits that include life-sized models of whale, full articulated skeletons, detailed information on the pods or family groups of the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, as well as current scientific research on local whale species. The museum includes also exhibits on porpoises, pinnipeds and other marine mammals that live in the Salish Sea. There are also wildlife videos, and exhibits on Northwest Native American culture.
62 First St N, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-4710
The south end of the San Juan island is covered with the prairie and forest. That is where American Camp was located during the peaceful 12-year joint U.S./British occupation from July 1859 through November 1874. There is a visitor center with a selection of books on history and wildlife of the island. The rangers offer nature and history walks on weekends from June to August. Visitors can see the only remains of the former camp – two officers’ quarters, the parade ground, laundress quarters, an earthen lookout known as the Redoubt and a small museum. Several miles of trails through prairies mixed with rocky outcrops lead to South Beach, the longest public beach in the islands, overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca with the Olympic Mountains in the background.
4668 Cattle Point Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2240
English Camp on San Juan Island was home to a group of the British Royal Marines during what was known as "The Pig War," which resulted in 1859 in a 12-year long joint British/U.S. occupation of the island. British Camp was located at the north end of the island, on the shores of Garrison Bay and visitors can still see a formal garden, a few buildings and a cemetery that remain from that time. The camp is today a charming day-use park , which includes a visitors’ center and a network of trails that range from a strenuous hike up Young Hill that ends at the cemetery and beyond, to an easy 45-minute loop trail through lush woodland and along the bay. Every Saturday, from June to August, park rangers and volunteers recreate military and civilian life during the early pioneer period on the island.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2240
7.Westcott Bay Shellfish Co.
© Westcott Bay Shellfish Co.
Westcott Bay Shellfish Co. is located directly above cultivated tidelands on Westcott Bay. A visit to the farm offers a unique island experience, where visitors can actively participate in selecting freshly harvested shellfish from the farm tanks to take home, or shucking and eating raw oysters on the spot, on-site, at one of several picnic tables. On a low tide, it is fascinating to observe aquaculture farming on their beaches. At high tide, they can watch resident herons, seals and eagles cruising above water. Westcott offers all the necessities for the perfect summer picnic, including locally baked bread, a range of salads, cheeses and charcuterie, everything that goes perfectly with their hand-shucked oysters. They also offer beer, wine, water and sodas.
904 Westcott Dr, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2489
8.Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm and Country Store
Krystal Acres is an 80-acre alpaca farm on San Juan Island in Washington State, owned by Kris and Albert Olson. The constantly growing herd of about 50 alpacas lives on the gentle slopes of sunny pastures, cooled by the shade of massive 100-year old oaks. It is the largest herd of alpacas on the San Juan Island. The farm is open to the visitors and they are invited to stroll around, see the animals and stop by their Country Store and browse an extraordinary selection of alpaca-wool sweaters, coats, and cuddly toys. They also offer all sorts of accessories such as hats, scarves, socks and slippers and, of course, alpaca yarns.
152 Blazing Tree Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-6125
9.IMA - San Juan Islands Museum
© IMA - San Juan Islands Museum
The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is dedicated to promoting the visual arts of the Pacific Northwest and Southwest British Columbia. The museum has three galleries and offers 8 to10 rotating exhibitions every year, as well as a series of lectures named Art as a Voice. The exhibitions feature fine visual art, including paintings, sculpture, drawings, photography and more, from all over the world, but especially from artists of the Salish Sea. The museum also works with the San Juan Island School District by providing on-going financial support for art education. Without their help, there would be no any arts program in the elementary schools on the island.
540 Spring St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-370-5050
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10.Arctic Raven Gallery
© Arctic Raven Gallery
Arctic Raven Gallery is an art gallery in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island in Puget Sound featuring Native art of Arctic and American Northwest Coast. The gallery features a collection of Northwest Coast Indian masks, prints and wood carvings that represents local peoples including the Kwaguilth, Coast Salish and Makah nations as well as the Haida, Tlingit and Tsimshian from further north. The gallery is proud to represent some of the most recognized names such as Susan Point, Robert Davidson and the Hunt family. The gallery also features prints from the Arctic and stone, bone and ivory sculptures. Through the art of the Inuit, Inupiat and Yup’ik natives visitors can visualize a unique lifestyle of peoples adapted to the harsh northern environment.
130 First St S, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-3433
11.Stuart Island Marine State Park
Stuart Island State Park is a marine camping park in San Juan County, Washington State, a part of the Washington State Park System. It covers 433 acres of land and water on and around Stuart Island, with picturesque blue inlets and hidden craggy coves. The park has about 33,030 feet (10,070 m) of shoreline, with moorage at Prevost and Reid Harbors. Visitors can enjoy 3.5 miles of hiking trails, boating, fishing, scuba diving and crabbing. The park, a part of the Cascadia Marine Trail, has 18 primitive campsites reserved for kayaker and canoeists not far from Prevost Harbor. There is a trail all the way up the Turn Point Light Station, just outside the park. The park is famous for spectacular sunsets and friendly boating community.
Roche Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2044
12.San Juan Island Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning, from April to October, the historic Brickworks Community Center in Friday Harbor is the place where all locals, and many visitors, go to stock up on fresh island-grown produce, berries, flower bouquets, eggs, dairy products, fresh local seafood, meats, shellfish, cheese and more. The San Juan Island Farmers Market is also the place to enjoy freshly cooked dishes made from local ingredients, including paella, falafels, crepes, Tibetan dumplings, breads, pastries, pizza, music, crafts and more. The Brickworks community center is located two blocks from the ferry port. In November, December and March the market is open only on the 1st and the 3rd Saturday and in January and February, only on the first Saturday.
Brickworks Building, 150 Nichols Street, Friday Harbor WA
© Schooners North
Schooners North is a classic wooden vessel, beautiful, sturdy and seaworthy, that will make your sailing voyage unforgettable. Schooners North sails from the small coastal town of Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands, Washington. The waters around the islands are teaming with wildlife including the Orcas and Humpback whales, dolphins, otters and a range of bird species including bald eagles. The sheltered, peaceful waters between the islands make it for a peaceful and interesting sailing. Sailing these waters from the deck of a beautiful Schooner will give you a unique perspective into this beautiful part of the Salish Sea. While cruising among whales, porpoise, seals and sea lions and otters, onboard naturalists will tell you about their habits and dangers they face.
8058, 1 Front St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2224
14.San Juan Museum Historical Society and Museum
© San Juan Museum Historical Society and Museum
Museum is located on the former James King farm which was homesteaded in the 1880s. The museum complex includes the original farmhouse, root cellar, carriage house, milk house, the first San Juan County jail, a barn, a pioneer log cabin and resource center. The museum is managed by the San Juan historical Society, which also maintains a large collection of historic artifacts, photographs and documents on the history of San Juan Island. The society organizes the annual 4th of July Pig War Picnic, Island Rec's "Music on the Lawn Summer Concert Series” and the Old-Fashioned Christmas Celebration.
405 Price St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-3949
15.Harbor Song Art Gallery
Located in the quaint coastal town of Friday Harbor, Washington, Harbor Song Art Gallery is dedicated to the art of local artists Tom and Mary Garrels, who are also the owners of the gallery. Besides their own artworks, Harbor Song offers custom picture framing and unique decorative pieces for home or office. Their artworks can be found in several public and private collections all over the world. They are representing their work exclusively in their gallery and are available for commissions, individually or together. They decided to remain in the Pacific Northwest, counting on the magnificence and the splendor of the San Juan Islands to provide them with the constant inspiration for their art.
180 1st St S, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-370-7037
16.Island Stage Left
Island Stage Left is a high quality professional theatre located in Friday Harbor, Washington State, which offers theatre experience, free of charge, to all islanders and island visitors, regardless of their financial or social status. The theatre was established 20 years ago by long-term theatre professionals Helen Machin-Smith and Daniel Mayes, who moved to San Juan Island to bring the performing arts to a small community. Since their inaugural 1999 performance of Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' the company has produced many Shakespearean and other works ranging from James Goldman's 'The Lion in Winter' to John Patrick Shanley's 'Doubt'. Island Stage Left chooses works that move, speak of the human spirit and challenge. The company has taken many of their productions to other islands in the archipelago, including San Juan, Lopez, Orcas, Waldron, and Shaw.
1062 Wold Rd, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-5649
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17.John S. McMillin Memorial Mausoleum
© Lora Sutyagina/stock.adobe.com
Just a short trip from the Tucker House Inn in the historic village of Roche Harbor on San Juan Island, Washington State is John S. McMillin Memorial Mausoleum, a stately, rotunda–style family crypt. John S. McMillin was the founder of the Roche Harbor town, and the owner of the Roche Harbor Lime company that ran a monopoly on the lime business west of the Mississippi River. McMillin helped rebuild San Francisco after the earthquake by sending much of the needed lime for reconstruction. Feeling the sense of great purpose, he decided to build a monument to celebrate his achievements. He named the family mausoleum the Afterglow Vista. The Mausoleum stands in the center of a ten-acre forest next to Roche Harbor Resort. John McMillin incorporated in the design of the mausoleum many meaningful symbols from the Bible, Masonry, Sigma Chi fraternity and his own family.
664 Afterglow Dr, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 206-935-5919
18.Turn Island State Park
Turn Island is a 34-acre island in the San Juan Channel, about 900 feet off the eastern coast of San Juan Island, Washington State. The island is part of Turn Island Marine State Park and the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. It is a favorite among the kayakers, who love its pebble beaches and scenic shoreside campsites. There is a trail that runs around the island's perimeter. It starts in a grove of madrone trees just above a small rocky beach, a dreamy spot shared between blue herons and raccoons. The path, which goes up and down, offers spectacular views of the sea on every corner. Turn island is accessible only by boat, via Jackson Beach on San Juan Island, or Anacortes. It is great starting point for exploring all San Juan islands. For supplies, you will have to paddle to Friday Harbor.
20 Cormorant Ln, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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19.Posey Island State Park
Posey Island State Park is a one-acre public recreation area on Posey Island in San Juan County, Washington. The island is located between Roche Harbor and Pearl Island, San Juan Islands. It is part of the Cascadia Marine Trail and has about 1,000 feet of shoreline and campsites for visitors arriving in sailing of paddling boats. The island-park is popular with kayak groups and porpoises, but there is a good chance you will have the place to yourself. Although the island seems barren, it is covered in spots by meadow grasses, bright orange lichen, ancient Yew trees, and in season bright blooming wildflowers. From Posey Island you can take your kayak around nearby savannah-like Spieden Island where you can spot antelopes and longhorn sheep and harbor seals resting on surrounding rock formations.
Pearl Island, Friday Harbor, WA 98250
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20.St. Francis Catholic Church
St. Francis Parish Friday Harbor church was built around 1875, about three miles outside of Friday Harbor in the Catholic cemetery in the San Juan Valley. There, it replaced the original log cabin church built in 1860 and destroyed by fire in 1874. In 1958, the church purchased five acres of land in Friday Harbor and moved the church from its old cemetery home to its today’s location on Price Street. St. Francis became a parish in its own right in 1968, and it continues to grow, from only nine homesteading families in 1884 to a diverse vibrant community of about 300 families today.
369 Price St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2910
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21.San Juan Bistro
© San Juan Bistro
Charming spot with a lovely garden, San Juan Bistro in Friday Harbor, Washington State, started in 2013 as a retail cheese shop and quickly grew into everyone’s favorite local restaurant. The locally owned, family-run lunch bistro is ideally located just across from the Brickworks Farmer’s Market and within easy walking distance to the ferry. They offer hot panini sandwiches on house-made bread, hand-rolled pasta, daily soups made from scratch, fresh salads and delicious house-made desserts. They offer a nice selection of Northwest wines, beers, and ciders, and fresh, locally roasted coffee. You can eat your meal inside of the lovely, homey dining room, in the beautiful garden if weather permits, or you can take it with you for a day of exploring fascinating San Juan islands.
155 Nichols St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-370-5115
© Cynthia's Bistro
Warm and cozy, with homey atmosphere and original paintings on the walls, Cynthia's Bistro is a popular breakfast and lunch restaurant in Friday Harbor, Washington State, offering a nice choice of brunch and dinner dishes in the summer and brunch year around. The restaurant can accommodate 30 guests indoors, with additional outdoor seating in the summer. They also have a take-out Espresso Deli area. The menu includes Skillet Baked Eggs, Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies, Tofu Scramble, Sausage Rolls, Cinnamon Custard French Toast, Paninis, home- made soup and more. The Espresso/Take out area has a full espresso bar and also sells smoothies, juices and a nice menu of savory and sweet things you might want to take on a picnic or while exploring the island. Check their fresh baked pies picnic.
65 Nichols St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-298-8130
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© Friday's Crabhouse
Friday's Crabhouse is an outdoor seafood bar and grill in Friday Harbor, Washington State, just across from ferry landing. For the last 23rd year the Crabhouse has been a favorite waterfront eatery in Friday Harbor, with the spectacular view of the harbor. With four levels of decks, every guest has the front seat view. Both inside and outside spaces are heated and can fit about 180 people all together. The menu is extensive and is focused on fresh local oysters, clams, mussels, grilled and deep fried seafood and, of course, Dungeness Crab. There are also hamburgers and seafood tacos as well as a range of side dishes. Full bar has just about anything you might want, including local wines and beers. Dogs on a leash are welcome on the decks outside.
65 Front St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-8801
24.China Pearl Restaurant
© Karan Daswani/stock.adobe.com
China Pearl Restaurant and Lounge in Friday Harbor is the only restaurant in town specializing in the cuisine of Northern China. Spacious dining room is family-friendly, with a mix of cozy bright blue boots and large round family tables with the traditional “Lazy Susan’ in the middle. The large menu includes standard Westernized Chinese dishes we are used to but also a more traditional options, with exotic ingredients even the most discriminating Chinese Native will accept. The best way to try all the best goodies is for everyone in the party to choose a different dish and then share it all around. There is a full bar that includes local wines and beers. The lounge, attached to the restaurant, has a ping pong table and a range of games.
51 Spring St, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-5254
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25.Yo! Friday Harbor
© marilyn barbone/stock.adobe.com
Yo Friday Harbor Flowers & Sweets is family owned and operated shop in Friday Harbor, Washington, located just around the corner as you get off the ferry. This lively shop will surely satisfy your sweet tooth. They sell fresh, natural ice cream made by the local Lopez Island Creamery, delicious fudge made by the famous local ‘fudge ladies’ from the Fudge Factory and their own frozen yogurt in a range of flavors. The charming shop also sells all sorts of candies and chocolates, souvenirs, toys and fresh flowers. There is also lemonade and drip coffee and you can take it all with you or eat right there at one of their small tables.
160 1st St S, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, Phone: 360-378-2477
25 Best Things to Do in Friday Harbor, WA
- Lime Kiln Point State Park, Photo: LoweStock/stock.adobe.com
- Pelindaba Lavender Farm, Photo: Pelindaba Lavender Farm
- Cattle Point Lighthouse, Photo: searagen/stock.adobe.com
- Whale Museum, Photo: Whale Museum
- American Camp, Photo: sherryvsmith/stock.adobe.com
- English Camp, Photo: Tom/stock.adobe.com
- Westcott Bay Shellfish Co., Photo: Westcott Bay Shellfish Co.
- Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm and Country Store, Photo: maryskovpen/stock.adobe.com
- IMA - San Juan Islands Museum, Photo: IMA - San Juan Islands Museum
- Arctic Raven Gallery, Photo: Arctic Raven Gallery
- Stuart Island Marine State Park, Photo: Crin/stock.adobe.com
- San Juan Island Farmers Market, Photo: searagen/stock.adobe.com
- Schooners North, Photo: Schooners North
- San Juan Museum Historical Society and Museum, Photo: San Juan Museum Historical Society and Museum
- Harbor Song Art Gallery, Photo: nespix/stock.adobe.com
- Island Stage Left, Photo: matusciac/stock.adobe.com
- John S. McMillin Memorial Mausoleum, Photo: Lora Sutyagina/stock.adobe.com
- Turn Island State Park, Photo: andreiuc88/stock.adobe.com
- Posey Island State Park, Photo: vvvita/stock.adobe.com
- St. Francis Catholic Church, Photo: ohsuriya/stock.adobe.com
- San Juan Bistro, Photo: San Juan Bistro
- Cynthia's Bistro, Photo: Cynthia's Bistro
- Friday's Crabhouse, Photo: Friday's Crabhouse
- China Pearl Restaurant, Photo: Karan Daswani/stock.adobe.com
- Yo! Friday Harbor, Photo: marilyn barbone/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Jo Ann Snover/stock.adobe.com