In addition to a San Juan Islands sea kayak adventure, there are a variety of activities are available if you are interested in spending some time on San Juan Island (or the other islands) either before or after your trip. Here is a sampler of ideas on San Juan Island that include bicycle rentals, viewing The Whale Museum, historic Roche Harbor, a picnic at Whale Watch Park, visiting the British & American Camps, etc.
There are a number of beautiful trails on San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island, ranging from easy strolls to more strenuous hikes. Check out our hiking page to find out more!
San Juan Island (as are Orcas, Shaw & Lopez) is a superb place to bicycle. Island Bicycles (360)-378-4941 is located in downtown Friday Harbor rents bicycles by the hour, dispensing friendly, helpful information.
Located 2 blocks from the ferry terminal in downtown Friday Harbor, the museum is a place where people can learn about and enhance their appreciation of whales. It also provides education and research to promote responsible stewardship of whales and the marine ecosystems upon which they depend.
A premier horse farm that offers ridings lessons, horse sales, and breeding, as well as training for competitive riding, Sweet Water Farm also offers trail rides year round in the hills right near the farm. It’s a great way to get outside and enjoy an afternoon or evening.
An historical landmark that was founded more than 100 years ago, Roche Harbor was at one time the largest producer of lime and cement west of the Mississippi. Theodore Roosevelt slept in the hotel which is still open for business. Now, it is a resort with beautiful flower gardens, a restaurant, swimming pool and tennis courts.
The sculpture park in Roche Harbor features walking trails interspersed with over 100 sculptures by noted artists in the Pacific Northwest. This scenic outdoor art museum is worth a visit.
The only nationally designated whale watching park in the nation is located at Lime Kiln Park on the west side of the island. This is arguable one of the best places on the west coast to see Orca and minke whales, Dall’s porpoise, harbor seals and bald eagles from land. Bring a picnic lunch and some binoculars and plan on some serious “hang-time!”
Admire and learn about the interesting animals that can be seen grazing around farms on San Juan Island. Meet Kris and Albert, the owners, and browse the fuzzy, handmade alpaca wool products in the Country Store.
You’ll know from the aroma of lavender wafting in the air that you have reached Pelindaba Lavender Farm on Wold Road. Explore the rows of different varieties of lavender that flourish here on San Juan Island and wander into the gift shop where unique lavender products line the shelves. If you can’t make it all the way out to the farm, look for the Pelindaba store in Friday Harbor.
These parks commemorate the days when the United States and Great Britain almost went to war over a pig. This was the so-called Pig War, which came close to erupting after an American settler shot a pig owned by Great Britain’s Hudson Bay Company. During the summer the national park service presents an excellent series of programs and special events. They are both good bicycle and picnic destinations. The British Camp also has a great hike to the top of Mt. Young where you get superb views of Haro Strait and some of the other islands.
If you enjoy wines and wine tasting be sure and sample the local wines at San Juan Vineyards. They’ve converted an old school house into a delightful tasting area complete with an outdoor deck and veranda.
Starting in late July, the island’s talented acting troupe puts on a Shakespeare play. Acting venues are located in Roche Harbor and off of Wold Road. Performances begin at 8 pm. Admission is free but donations are welcome. Bring a blanket and dress warmly, as nights can get chilly
For other events on San Juan Island, check out the local events calendar.
Places to Eat
Looking for a place to eat? Here are some San Juan Island favorites.
A local favorite in Friday Harbor, this restaurant offers organic, locally grown food and a delicious multi-ethnic menu.
This gourmet restaurant off of Roche Harbor Road specializes in sophisticated Northwest cuisine and has received enthusiastic reviews from numerous publications.
The Golden Triangle
If you are looking for a delicious, moderately priced lunch or dinner, this Thai restaurant is the place. They are vegan friendly as well. (360) 378-1917
Activities on Other Islands
The Washington State Ferry routes in the San Juan islands were just designated as the state’s newest scenic byway. Walk-on inter-island ferry service is free of charge, so take advantage of the opportunity to explore Lopez, Orcas, and Shaw Islands. Each one has its own unique personality!
Being the “flattest” of the San Juan Islands, Lopez is a great island to bring your bike for a day of pedaling and sightseeing. Visit the quaint Lopez Village and stop at Holly B’s bakery or have a picnic lunch at the numerous state and county parks around the island. Oh, and make sure to wave to the Lopezians as they drive by.
Check out some neat sights either by bike or on the Orcas Island shuttle. Drive up or hike Mt. Constitution in Moran State Park, the highest point on the islands at 2,409 feet, and enjoy the amazing view. You can find other hikes to beautiful lakes and waterfalls in Moran State Park as well. Don’t forget to stop in at Eastsound, one of the main towns on the island, to visit the art shops and cafes.
The smallest and least inhabited of the islands in San Juan County, Shaw Island is a unique spot to ride bikes, explore, and relax.