Guest Book: Island Activities
There is so much to do on San Juan Island! Many of our guests lament, “Oh so little time.” For a complete listing of recreation activities including whale watching, kayaking, hiking, bicycling and more, plus art galleries, theaters, museums, and other activities, check out our websites, Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites under Things To Do. You’ll also find sample itineraries and a scenic tour as well as our Top Ten List of Summer and Off-Season Activities.
On the next few pages, we’ve listed some of our favorites. To help you plan your itinerary, you’ll find maps of the island in the Upper Tucker House Reception Center. We are happy to make any recommendations or reservations for you; please call our Guest Services Coordinator, 360-378-3587.
|Arctic Raven Gallery
130 S First Street
|378-3433||Contemporary Native art featuring masks, ivory carvings, sculpture & basketry.|
|Island Museum of Art
232 A St (temp location)
540 Spring St (permanent)
|370-5050||Regularly changing exhibits.|
270 Spring Street
|378- 5788||Fine arts & crafts made by local San Juan Island artists. Many of the artists have their work displayed and for sale in the Upper Tucker House,both floors.|
315 Argyle Street
|378-3060||Sculpture, ceramics, glass, oil, acrylic, gouache, watercolor and pastels from Pacific Northwest artists.|
|Westcott Bay Reserve Sculpture Park
Roche Harbor Resort
|370-5050||A 19-acre reserve displaying over 80 sculptures. Excellent bird-watching and nature trails.|
|WM McCauley Gallery
232 A St #6
|298-6196||Local gallery showcasing artists from the Islands.|
|Island Stage Left Performance locations vary by season; please check website for more details. www.islandstageleft.org||378-5669||Provides top quality professional theater free of charge. From Shakespeare classics under the stars in the summer, to works by contemporary playwrights in cozy winter quarters, the productions are always top notch.|
209 Spring Street
|378-3578||First run movies play on two screens in this cozy historic theater.|
|SJI Community Theatre
100 Second Street
|378-3210||The offerings at the community theater span the range from local talent and events to world-class touring performers. Drama, comedies, musicals, dance and music are all among their repertoire.|
FUN PLACES TO VISIT
|Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm
152 Blazing Tree Rd
|A 70 acre farm with more than 40 alpacas. Country store offers extraordinary selection of alpaca sweaters, coats, and alpaca toys.|
|Pelindaba Lavender Farm
33 Hawthorne Lane
|Organically certified farm and store featuring lavender plants, lavender essential oils and handcrafted lavender-based products. Oils used in all products distilled on site. Annual Harvest Festival mid-July.|
|San Juan County Fair
San Juan County Fairgrounds
on Argyle Avenue
|Arts & crafts, livestock & agricultural competitions & presentations, 4H, music, puppets, and carnival rides. With all the charm of small-town rural life, the county fair is like stepping back in time. Mid-August. Skate park open Year-Round.|
|San Juan Island Historical Museum
405 Price Street
|Features historic photographs & documents. The museum consists of an original farmhouse, the first county jail, a turn-of-the-century log cabin, barn, and carriage house.|
|San Juan Vineyards
136 Roche Harbor RdTasting Room
55 Spring Street
|San Juan Vineyards grows Madeline Angevine, Siegerebbe estate varietals. The on-site tasting room and gift shop is in a historic 1895 one-room schoolhouse and their downtown tasting room is on Spring Street, just half a block up from the ferry landing.|
|The Whale Museum
62 First St.
|Specializing in the natural history of marine mammals, with a focus on the Orcas currently living in the waters of the San Juans.|
There are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors on San Juan Island.
For a truly unique experience, consider a whale watching tour and view magnificent orca whales plying the waters of the Salish Sea, or charter a flight to take you and your friends on a scenic tour of the San Juan Islands.
For the adventurous traveler, there’s sea kayaking, scuba diving, hiking and fishing. Others will find plenty to do, with sailing, golfing, biking, birding, beaches, horseback riding, zip lining, and more.
Here are just a few of our favorite outdoor pastimes.
Snug Harbor Marina
1997 Mitchell Bay Road North Shore Charters
Based out of Orcas Island
|378-3744376-4855||Fun-filled, comfortable year-round fishing for every skill level. Fast, clean boat departs from the west side. Provides all gear and license. Six person maximum, no experience needed. Will do shared charters and private fishing/whale watch combination tours.Fish for salmon, halibut, lingcod and other bottom fish year round. Captain Marty has a fast, clean, comfortable boat equipped with the latest state-of-the-art fishing and safety equipment. Six person maximum and no experience needed.|
BEACHES & PARKS
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Visitor Center/ Ranger Station
|378-2902||Located six miles southeast of downtown Friday Harbor, American Camp has over 1,200 acres of grassland and beach with 9 miles of trails and spectacular marine vistas. South Beach, 4th of July Beach, Jakle’s Lagoon, and Grandmother’s Cove are all part of American Camp. A one mile, self-guided history foot trail begins in the American Camp parking lot. Ranger guided walks are also available. Facilities include picnic tables, fire pits, and restrooms.|
San Juan Island National Historical Park
Visitor Center (June – Sept. 2)
|English Camp is about nine miles northwest of downtown Friday Harbor. It contains 530 acres with 2 miles of shoreline and approximately 4 miles of trails. A self-guided history walk includes trails to the open Parade Ground, a formal English garden, around the shoreline, the former site of the officer’s quarters, the cemetery, and up through the woods leading to breathtaking views of Canada at the top of Mt. Young. Picnic tables, restrooms, and a dinghy dock are all located in the lower portion of the park.|
Off Pear Point Road
|Locals like this sandy beach close to town. It’s popular for volleyball, picnics, wading and skim boarding.|
|Lime Kiln State Park
West Side Road
|Also known as “Whale Watch Park,” Orca whales, porpoises, seals, dolphins, and eagles frequent these shorelines during the spring and summer months. High rocky banks and majestic Madronas add to the rugged beauty of this park. Facilities include toilets, picnic sites, a lighthouse, and a viewing platform.A narrow trail leads to driftwood strewn Deadman’s Cove, part of the San Juan County Land Bank holdings. A State Park parking permit is required, which can be purchased at the park for $10.|
HIKING / WALKING
|American Camp Trails||American Camp offers a variety of trail experiences.|
- A 1.25 mile self-guided history foot trail, begins in the American Camp parking lot.
- The South Beach walk is 2 miles long. Great tide pooling during low tide.
- Jakle’s Lagoon Trail across the street from the South Beach turnoff is 1.5 miles long. Great bird watching.
- Mt. Finlayson Trail is a 3 mile loop taking you to the top of Mt. Finlayson. Beautiful views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and British Columbia. Enjoy a few side trails to the Lagoons.
English Camp TrailsA part of San Juan Island National Historical Park.
- Bell Point Trail is a 2 mile loop with views of both Garrison and Westcott Bays.
- Young Hill Trail is 1.25 miles of steep trail, taking you to the top of Mt. Young for a panoramic view of the island’s northeast corner. You will pass the English Camp cemetery which holds the remains of six Royal Marines.
Friday Harbor Historic ToursTwo self-guided walking tours. Guide brochures available at Friday Harbor Town Hall, 60 Second Street; San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price Street; San Juan Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, 135 Spring Street. Lime Kiln State ParkA variety of trails from easy to moderate. One leads to the whale watch outlook, which is wheelchair accessible.
- A narrow, rocky trail leads to Dead Man’s Bay
- Short loop next to West Side Lake
- Several trails to the restored lime kilns
SJ Island Trails Committee List of PDFs of hiking and biking trails on San Juan Island.
KAYAKING TOURS & WATER ACTIVITIES
The waters around the San Juan Islands are the premier kayaking destination in the Pacific Northwest, offering abundant marine life, protected waterways, and beautiful scenery. The waters are challenging enough to feel a sense of accomplishment, yet plentiful enough to keep you exploring the vast array of wildlife that inhabit these waters.
To get the most out of your kayaking experience, we recommend a guided tour with naturalists who can alert you to the points of interest. There are numerous tour operators, but we recommend the following, and are happy to make reservations for you.
|Outdoor Odysseys||378-3533||Award-winning tours from the oldest and most experienced kayaking company in the islands. Half, full and multi-day tours depart from County Park and Jackson Beach. Offers family-specific tours perfect for younger guests. They provide lunch with full and multi-day tours. Complementary shuttle from Friday Harbor. (Summer – Fall)|
|San Juan Outfitters||378-1962||Offering 3- and 5-hour tours from Roche Harbor, County Park and Friday Harbor accompanied by a naturalist/guide. They offer a five hour Orca whale watch during the summer. All skill levels welcome (experience preferred for longer outings) and tours are limited to 10 people. Operates throughout the year. Complementary shuttle from Friday Harbor. (Year-Round)|
|Friday Harbor Marine||378-6202||For protected water kayaking, they offer Hobie pedal kayaks that are easy, safe, and fun for the whole family. Also available for rent: Electric Duffy boats, gas-powered boats, and dive equipment. (Summer)|
|San Juan Classic SailingFriday Harbor||
|A unique and intimate experience aboard classic wooden sailboats; all sailing limited to 6 guests. First time sailors welcome; participate hands on or just enjoy. Afternoon and sunset sails; weekend cruises; private charters (Summer – Fall)|
|Schooners NorthFriday Harbor||378-2224||For those who prefer a slower pace with the romance of traditional sail, Schooners North offers half-day, full-day, and multi-day cruises aboard their two classic wooden windjammers. With on-board naturalists and experienced, friendly crew, you can help hoist a sail and man the helm, or simply relax and let the rhythm of the sea captivate you. (Summer – Fall)|
|378-3744||Departing daily from Snug Harbor on the west side, where whales are frequently observed. Fast, stable boat, 6 persons maximum; morning, afternoon, and evening tours. Can customize tours as a combination whale watch/fishing charter. (Year – Round)|
|Maya’s Westside Charters
|378-7996||Departing daily from Snug Harbor on the west side, where whales are frequently observed. Fast, stable boat, 6 persons maximum; afternoon and evening tours. (Year – Round)|
|San Juan Outfitters
|378-1962||Departing daily from Roche Harbor on the north side. 3-4 hour trips. Complementary shuttle from Friday Harbor. (April – October)|
|San Juan Safaris
|378-1323||Offers daily departures from conveniently located Friday Harbor, aboard their 55′ MV Seal Lion, 40 persons maximum. Three-hour afternoon and sunset tours out to the open waters are a lovely way to view the island as well as whales. Listen to the whale song with their hydrophone. Private charters available. (April – October)|
After all the vigorous outdoor activities and shopping in town, you might enjoy a bit of pampering. There are numerous day spas on the island to help you round out your visit feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Here are our favorites.
|Lavendera Massage Center
285 Spring Street
|378-3637||Services include a full range of wraps and glows, spa services, massage and hot stone therapy, and facial treatments.|
669 Mullis Street, Suite 101
|370-5027||Full service day spa and salon, a short walk from the Inn offering a range of body treatments. Manicures/pedicures, facials and new up to date hairstyles.|
OTHER ISLANDS / CANADA
It is easy and convenient to take day trips to the other islands in the San Juan archipelago. The Washington State Ferry System makes regularly scheduled stops at Lopez, Orcas, and Shaw islands.
The Washington State Ferry Service departs twice daily from Friday Harbor to Sidney, B.C. during the summer months. From Sidney, you can drive to points of interest on Vancouver Island including the town of Victoria and Butchart Gardens. In addition, there are ferries departing regularly from Vancouver Island to the city of Vancouver B.C.
The current ferry schedule is available in the Upper Tucker House Reception Center and the Harrison House Garden Room Café, or at the ferry terminal.
Day trips to Vancouver Island are possible with the summer ferry schedule. Day trips can also be arranged via charter flights. Please contact our Guest Services Coordinator, 360-378-3587, for more information and reservations.