By Matia Schwartz
Father’s Day is a day for you to celebrate all the hard work that is being a father; what better place to spend it than on San Juan Island at the Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites? Our accommodations land right on the edge of downtown Friday Harbor, offering the perfect mix of wilderness and idyllic scenery combined with small town fun. To get the most out of your experience we have put together your perfect weekend itinerary!
Before your Father’s Day trip, make sure you’ve made your ferry reservation for Friday Harbor as soon as your lodging plans are in place. With that taken care of, you’re ready to start your journey! Drive to Anacortes where the San Juan Island ferry departs. Make sure you get to the ferry landing 30 minutes prior to your reservation to be sure you won’t lose your reservation. Once you’re on the boat, step outside and enjoy the views. The main passenger cabin has outside decks in the front and on the back, and if you head upstairs you’ll find an even larger area along the sides to look at the beautiful landscape around you. Keep your eyes peeled for marine wildlife such as orca whales, porpoises, and harbor seals! In the cafeteria you grab a coffee from Cafe Vita, a Seattle roasting company.
Once you’ve arrived in Friday Harbor, stop at the Inn and check on the status of your unit. Often we can offer an early check-in. Then drive through town and head to Roche Harbor; just a 20 minute drive. There you will find an amazing sculpture park for the kids to run around and for you to savor. The sculptures all rotate with new pieces arriving as old are sold. The idea of the park is to see nature and art working together in harmony. A slow walk around one of the larger loops takes around 30 minutes and if you want to stay longer there are side loops you can do as well. There is no entrance fee but there is an option for donations where you can give as little or as much as you’re comfortable with.
After you have had a nice stroll through the park it’s about time for lunch. Roche Harbor Marina has a delicious lunch spot called The Madrona Bar and Grill. It has a huge deck so you can eat outside and enjoy the sun. They serve a variety of upscale pub food and have many kid-friendly options.
Docks, Ice Cream & Intertidal Critters
On your way back to your car be sure to stop and browse the handiworks and art displayed in the tents along the dock. Grab a scoop of ice-cream and head over to the San Juan Distillery for a short tour and some tastings! It’s just a short 5 minute drive from Roche Harbor. They offer tastings from 1-4 pm every Saturday. They produce small batch ciders, 14 different types of gin, several liquors, and flavored brandies including their award-winning apple brandy.
Once you’ve had a good taste of everything, start to make your way back to town. Since you still have a little time before dinner stop at False Bay at low tide and walk along the mud flats. On really low tides you can walk all the way to the end of the bay. At high tide the water in the shallows is only between 2 and 5 feet deep! The walk along the tide flats is incredibly beautiful and you can see so many sea creatures like crabs and clams. It’s a perfect place for kids to explore our diverse pacific northwest marine life.
Stop back at the Inn and unpack, settle in, unwind and freshen before dinner. The Lopez Suite at our sister property is the perfect family suite. It has a full kitchen, a bedroom with two twin beds as well as a full bed for the kids to stay in, and a beautiful master suite with a sitting area and a porch that includes a grill.
For your first night here, Downriggers is the perfect location to watch the ferries come and go from the harbor. It has a diverse menu full of things the kids and you will love. After dinner, come back to your suite and take some time to unwind in our hot tub before getting a good night’s rest.
Sunday- Father’s Day:
As Sunday morning rolls around, it’s time to get out of bed. That knock at the door means your 8:30 am breakfast delivery has arrived! Expect our homemade granola, fresh fruit, and a hot plate that changes every day. You can be sure that if anyone in your family has any dietary restrictions, we will certainly accommodate with something delicious. After breakfast it’s time to get ready for your second big day.
Some Adventure to Start your Day
Why not start the second day of your Father’s Day trip off with a zip-line tour? Zip San Juan has a fun family friendly 3 hour tour that allows you to see our beautiful island from a totally new perspective: the tree tops! They make sure to start you off easy with just 10-20ft platforms and you slowly work your way up to the 70ft one based on how comfortable you are with it. One of the lines takes you over the top of a lake!
After zip lining you’ve worked up an appetite; head over to Spring Street Deli for fresh and delicious sandwiches. Grab them to go and take them to the waterfront park for a little picnic in the grass as you watch the boats in the marina come and go.
All About the Whales
Next, it’s time to go on a bit of a different tour. Whale watching! Boating is such a huge part of the island lifestyle that you have to get out on at least one of the smaller boats here before your stay is over. One of the best ways to do that is through whale watching where you will go in search of our resident Orca pods and sometimes see humpback whales, seal lions, eagles or local porpoise. Western Prince has a nice medium sized boat where you can choose to be in cover or not and is available to all ages.
After whale watching head to The Whale Museum for a bit more educational perspective to what you saw on your tour. There are two large floors to explore, the ground floor includes a gift shop and an exhibit on the dangers of plastic in the marine environment, an overview of baleen whales, a Sightings Map, and much more. The upper floor contains the Gallery of Whales where you’ll learn about the natural history of marine mammals, with a special focus on the Salish Sea orcas of J, K and L Pods. Admission for an adult is only $9 and $4 for under 18 or a student, and children under 5 are free. The museum is not only educational but interesting and fun for all ages.
Since today is father’s day you’ve saved the best for last and have reservations for dinner at our Coho Restaurant. It’s a small intimate setting perfect for bringing along the older kids or having a romantic dinner with your partner. If the kids are a little too young, ask our complimentary concierge service to assist with finding a vetted baby sitter for the evening.
This morning it’s time to head home from your Father’s Day getaway. But don’t forget to enjoy breakfast from the Tucker & Harrison House Chefs! If you’re on a relaxed schedule, we’ll deliver it as usual to the room at 8:30 am. If you need to get back on an early boat, be sure to tell us the day before and we will have a delicious to-go breakfast ready for you when you leave. But hey, it’s not goodbye, it’s just a “see you later”! Remember: when you return to lodge at the Tucker House Inn or Harrison House Suites, you receive a 15% discount!
As you wait in line for the ferry, grab some coffee to-go at the Salty Fox just left of the main ferry holding lanes. They have lots of interesting drinks from your regular espresso to matcha lattes.
On your way back to Anacortes soak in the sun and the beautiful views from the ferry. We’re glad you choose to stay with us and hope to see you again soon!