Fall is our favorite time of year. The island is less crowded, the weather is usually still gorgeous, and there are plenty of activities still going on. Here are some of our top picks, in no particular order.
San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour – Tour the homes and studios of island artists and see them in action. This is a free, self-guided tour; you’ll get to see the most amazing, creative spaces, and drive down roads you would never normally see. Always the first weekend of October. For a downloadable map and more info, see San Juan Island Artists’ Studio Tour.
Wine dinners at Coho Restaurant – Sip and sup at two scheduled six-course dinners in October, coinciding with Savor the San Juans month. Special menus created to pair with select wines promise gustatory delight for the San Juan Vineyards and Italian Night dinners. Dates and details posted at Coho Restaurant.
SJ Vineyards Harvest Festival – You can meet lots of friendly locals, and get a feel for the earth and what goes into making wine by helping to pick grapes at the festival. You’ll be rewarded for your efforts with a fabulous fresh grilled salmon barbecue and lots of vino. See San Juan Vineyards for more info.
Historic Walking Tours – a relaxing way to stroll through town and learn about the wooden gems that are often hiding in plain sight. There are docent-guided walking tours each Saturday morning in October, and you can download a self-tour guide at Historic Friday Harbor. There are also guided Know Your Island walks one Saturday each month that ramble through woods, prairies and beaches. See San Juan Island Trails for a schedule.
Picnic atop Mt Young or along Bell Point Trail – two of our favorite spots are perfect for a simple al fresco lunch. From Mt Young you catch the sea breezes while overlooking the lovely farm valley of San Juan Island, Vancouver Island, other islands in the San Juan Archipelago. By contrast, the flat Bell Point trail takes you on a peaceful walk alongside Garrison and Mitchell Bays, with picnic tables at strategic points to stop and listen to the water lapping land’s edge. For island trail maps see San Juan Island Trails.
Island Stage Left production – This professional theater company always delivers outstanding entertainment. From excellent direction and acting, to simple but creative sets, every production is standing ovation material. The free admission makes it even better. Catch their last production of the year in October/November; dates and times available at Island Stage Left.
Bird Watching – Fall is a spectacular time of year for birding. The seabirds return; ducks and swans arrive at their San Juan Island winter home from the north; migrant birds make the island a resting stop on their long journey south. Check our Birders Bounty Package for your personalized guided birding tour.
Wag, Walk, Run – The entire pack gets into the action at this fun fall event. Walk or run the designated course amid beautiful scenery and refreshing air. Smiles and wags abound, costumes encouraged, no seriousness allowed, and plenty of pooch prizes are awarded. Learn more at Island Rec.
Fishing – Sport fishing is available year round in the islands, but the most species are available for catch through November. Black bass, Greenling, Cabazon, Sole, Rockfish, Sculpin, Blackmouth, Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink, and Chum are some of the fish you might find at the end of your line. Let us help you book your charter.
The Great Island Grown Festival happens in the month of October, celebrating farms and foods in the San Juans. The festival kicks off with a farm parade on Saturday, Oct 6 and continues throughout the month. Check the Island Grown calendar for event dates and times.