The Top Things to Do on San Juan Island, Washington

San Juan Island is the second-largest of Washington’s San Juan Islands. It’s known for its mild climate, relaxed island vibe and many outdoor recreation opportunities. There is something for everyone in this place. These are our top choices for things to do on San Juan Island.

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Things to Do and See on San Juan Island

  • Kayaking

A kayaking tour with Discovery Sea Kayaks, one of the most popular activities on San Juan Island, is a great choice. The experience offers a variety of options, including half-day, full-day, sunset, or overnight trips. It also includes excellent wildlife viewing, quality equipment, highly-skilled guides, and great opportunities to meet whales.

My two-day trip with them was a great experience. It was a wonderful experience to spend two days in the wilderness, listening only to the sounds of the paddles hitting water.

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  • Lime Kiln State Park

Lime Kiln State Park (also known as Whale Watch Park) is located on the west side San Juan Island. It is well-known for its stunning sunsets, diving opportunities and exceptional bird-watching. You can also see Orcas in Haro Strait.

  • Whale watching

If you are interested in whale watching, Western Prince offers a great experience. They offer private charters, small tour sizes, comfortable boats, naturalists who are highly knowledgeable, and private charters.

  • Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor, also known as the “gateway” to San Juan Island is a charming town that houses mom-and-pop businesses, restaurants, museums and tour headquarters. All the attractions are easily accessible from Friday Harbor, which is also why it is so beautiful visually.

  • Ziplining

The best way to see Friday Harbour is by ziplining with San Juan Zip Tour. It consists of eight zip lines, one suspension bridge and takes you through the forest canopy and over wetlands to reach the pristine lakes.

  • Seaplane Tour

A seaplane trip to San Juan Island will give you an amazing bird’s-eye view. It will also allow you to hear the stories of very knowledgeable guides, so you can really grasp what you are seeing from high up in the air.

  • Lavender Farm

The Pelindaba Organic Lavender Farm can be reached easily from Friday Harbor. It is sure to delight your senses. The farm’s history, cultivation methods, and cultural relevance can be shared with visitors on a guided tour. You won’t believe the amazing photo opportunities you will have when you visit this purple paradise.

  • South Beach

South Beach, located on the southern end of the island within the National Historic Park is a pebble beach that’s perfect for relaxing, having a picnic or lighting up a firepit. It is located seven miles from Friday Harbor. In the summer, live music can be heard at the beach. If you’re heading this direction, don’t forget about the cute wild foxes!

  • Cattle Point Lighthouse

Cattle Point Lighthouse is a white tower measuring 34 feet that stands on the southeast tip of San Juan Island. It provides a striking contrast to the natural surroundings. Although the US Navy built the lighthouse in 1935, it was occupied by a navigation lantern since 1888.

  • San Juan Vineyards

Are you passionate about wine or simply love to stroll through beautiful grounds and take in the lush surroundings? San Juan Vineyards, an award-winning winery, is the place for you. The vineyards have been in operation since 1996 and offer wine tastings, tours, as well as other events throughout the year.

  • The Whale Museum

The Whale Museum is located in Friday Harbor. It was opened in 1979. Since then, it has been dedicated to “promoting the stewardship and conservation of whales and other ecosystems through education, research, and outreach.” They also offer an adoption program for whales.

Must-Try Restaurants in San Juan Island

  • Duck Soup

Duck Soup, located four and a quarter miles from Friday Harbor is a sophisticated restaurant. It uses ingredients from local farms and fisheries to give its customers a sense of place. The country-inspired decor makes the space feel cozy and welcoming.

  • San Juan Island Brewing

San Juan Island Brewing Co. is an independent craft brewery in Friday Harbor that offers locally-brewed ales as well as lagers. They offer excellent beers as well as traditional pub food like burgers or pizza.

  • Mike’s Cafe & Wine bar

Mike’s Cafe and Wine Bar, located in downtown Friday Harbor is a relaxed place to enjoy a local wine, beer and healthy food. Their mission is to promote sustainable and healthy living and compassion for the environment. All menu items are vegan.

  • Friday Harbor House

Local islanders and tourists alike love the Friday Harbor House Hotel’s restaurant. You can’t miss their daily brunch, which is made with fresh local ingredients.

San Juan Island: Where to Stay

  • Bird Rock Hotel

Bird Rock Hotel, a boutique hotel with 15 rooms, is located downtown in Friday Harbor. It offers access to an indoor pool and a fitness studio, as well as homemade scones and other amenities. You can even borrow beach bikes from the hotel!

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  • Lakedale Resort

Lakedale Resort is located at Three Lakes. It offers accommodations that range from hotel rooms to log cabins and camping sites to “glamping” campsites. Lakedale Resort, which is situated on more than 82 acres, offers outdoor activities like boat rentals, stand up paddle boards, fishing, and many other options.

  • San Juan Island Packing Supplies

Sun Gear: A stay at San Juan Island means that you will be spending a lot of time outdoors. Make sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses.

Whale Watching Gear: Although San Juan Island isn’t subject to the same amount of rain as Seattle, it’s worth having a windbreaker and a backpack cover in case you want to go whale watching. Don’t forget your binoculars.

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Swim gear: There are so many water sports to choose from, make sure you pack your swimsuit and a towel.