GETTING HERE


Car & Passenger Ferry

Washington State Ferries (WSF) accepts reservations for travel to and from the San Juan Islands and Sydney B.C. There are multiple departures every day, see the schedule for times. Please refer to ferry system recommendations for how early to arrive. 

When traveling by ferry you can bring your car, bike or walk on. For more information about traveling on the ferry please see the WSF General Information FAQ.  Pay parking is available near the ferry landing. Please know there is public transportation on the Island or you can rent a car, jeep, moped or bike.

Driving Directions to Anacortes Ferry Terminal

From I-5, take Exit 230 at Burlington and follow State Route 20 west to Anacortes. Then, follow signs to ferry terminal. It takes about 90-minutes (with no traffic) to drive from Seattle or Vancouver, B.C. to Anacortes.

Bus from SeaTac to Anacortes Ferry Terminal

Airporter Shuttle runs coach service from Sea-Tac Airport and other Seattle and Puget Sound locations to the Friday Harbor ferry terminal six days a week.

Bellair Charters and Airporter offers service to and from Sea-Tac and other destinations around Washington including the Anacortes ferry terminal.

Air

Flying shortens your travel time and allows you to get a bird’s eye view of the gorgeous San Juan Islands. The trip takes about 40 minutes by floatplane from Seattle, 25 minutes from Bellingham or 15 minutes from the Anacortes Airport.

Kenmore Air offers several daily scheduled, non-stop flights from over 45 locations in the Pacific Northwest, including Seattle, Victoria, B.C. and Port Angeles.

San Juan Airlines offers several daily scheduled, charter and scenic flights from Anacortes, Bellingham, Port Angeles, Victoria, B.C. and more.

Westwind Aviation offers charter service from anywhere in the Pacific Northwest and scenic flights in the San Juan Islands.

Island Air air charter company based in Friday Harbor and serves the greater community of the San Juan Islands.

Northwest Seaplanes provides charter seaplane flights from South Lake Washington to many location in Washington and Canada; including Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor.

Foot Ferry

The Victoria Clipper operates a passenger ferry from Seattle once daily on a seasonal basis.

Puget Sound Express operates a passenger ferry from Port Townsend on a seasonal basis.

Victoria San Juan Cruises operates passenger ferry from Bellingham on a seasonal basis.

Boat

Port of Friday Harbor has space available for over 150 visiting boats ranging in size from dinghies to 150 foot yachts. Phone: 360-378-2688VHF Channel: 66a.

Skippered Yacht Services has the only skippered yacht service that offers day and overnight trips to Friday Harbor, as well as other locations in the San Juan Islands. 


Getting Around

Bike

Island Bicycles rents high-quality bicycles for self-directed cycle touring and sight-seeing.  380 Argyle Ave., 360-378-4941

Taxi

Classic Cab Co. friendly service and authentic vintage cab 360-378-7519

Bob's Taxi and Tours provides taxi and tours service with extended hours 360-378-6777

Friday Harbor Taxi offers friendly taxi service around San Juan Island. 360-298-4434

Rhodetrips Taxi and Tours is an island style taxi and tour service that accommodates kayaks and bicycles. 360-298-6975

San Juan Taxi & Tours has professional and courteous drivers. 360-378-8294

Car Rental

M&W offers daily, weekly and monthly car rental rates.  They will pick you up in Friday Harbor and provide unlimited mileage while on the Island. 725 Spring St., 360-378-2794

Moped & Scooter

Susie’s Mopeds offers several types of mopeds and other vehicles to explore the island., 25 Nichols St., 360-378-5244

Bus

San Juan Transit offers transit service seasonally. 50 Spring St., 360-378-8887

Boat

Friday Harbor Marine has a large selection of boats to rent for an hour or days. 4 Front Street North 360-378-4047

Schooners North offers full day, half day and evening sails; as well as, multiple-day adventures, special events and private charters. 360-378-2224

Skippered Yacht Services has the only skippered yacht service that offers day and overnight trips to Friday Harbor, as well as other locations in the San Juan Islands. 360-303-3356


Events

Credit // kim smith

Credit // kim smith

For a complete, by-the-hour listing of events happening daily all around San Juan Island, take a look at the San Juan Community Calendar here.

+ Year-Round Events

San Juan Island Farmer’s Market
The Farmer's Market is held year-round in downtown Friday Harbor on Nichols Street each Saturday from mid-April through October. In November and December it takes place on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of the month, and from January – April on the 1st Saturday of the month. Hours are 10:00 am – 1:00 pm.


+ January

Roche Harbor Salmon Classic
January 19, 20 and 21, 2017
A three-day sport fishing event with 100 boat limit; 3 nights of hosted dinners and prizes awarded in the Derby Headquarters in beautiful Roche Harbor Resort. With over $25,000 dollars in cash & prizes, this event brings out fishermen from all walks of life to fish our island waters.


+ February

Check back.


+ March

Check back.


+ April

Great Islands Clean-up
Islanders and visitors alike are invited to join in the fun and help give San Juan island its annual spring cleaning! Litter-picker-uppers can work as individuals, families, or as part of a larger group.


+ May

National Historic Preservation Month
Each year in May, the Town of Friday Harbor helps tell the story of the people and places of the San Juans by celebrating National Historic Preservation Month. Guided walking tours, local history talks and other special events are held throughout the month.

Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony
May 29, 2017
The annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremony in Friday Harbor is both an authentic small town parade and a worthy tribute to the sacrifices made by Americans both past and present.

Opening Day Boat Parade
May 2017 - Date TBD
Enjoy the beginning of boating season with a festive parade sponsored by the San Juan Island Yacht Club. It is open to just about any kind of seaworthy vessel, powerboats, sailboats, and human powered boats. There are prizes for the winners in a variety of categories.

UW Friday Harbor Labs Annual Open House
May 2017 - Date TBD
This event offers a fabulous opportunity to meet scientists and students at the Labs and check out the world-renowned research and teaching facilities. The Labs will be open for self-guided tours. Scientists and students will showcase their marine science research, answer questions and provide demonstrations. There will be posters, marine plants and animals, microscopes, plankton sampling and observations, and activities for visitors of all ages. Venture out to the end of the dock! Visitors can step aboard and tour our 58’ research vessel, the R/V Centennial, and check out its remotely operated vehicle (ROV), oceanographic tools, and high-tech sonar systems. FHL divers will be demonstrating SCUBA. In keeping with FHL tradition, there will be fresh popped popcorn for one and all. From 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Bio Blitz
May 2017 - Date TBD
San Juan Island National Historical Park will host its fourth annual free Bio Blitz event at both park units — American Camp and English Camp. The event is open to any taxonomic interest.


+ June

San Juan Artists Studio Tour
June 2017 - Date TBD
Held annually in early June, the self-guided tour introduces you to 20 or so working artist studios.

Three Lakes Triathlon and Marathon
June 17 and 18, 2017
Spend a day running through some of the San Juan Islands most beautiful terrain at this multi-faceted event, which includes an Olympic Triathlon, an Olympic Relay Team Triathlon, a Sprint Triathlon, and a Sprint Relay Team Triathlon, Marathon, Half Marathon and 10K.

Orca Sing Annual Concert
June 2017 - Date TBD
Orca Sing is an annual event where people gather for an evening of music at Lime Kiln Point State Park to honor the Southern Resident orcas. Typically held on a Saturday near the Solstice. The event is free and open to the public. Participants are encouraged to bring a picnic to enjoy the beauty of Lime Kiln. Tours of the historic lighthouse will be offered before and after the concert. For more information, contact The Whale Museum.


+ July

4th of July
Both Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor offer a fun packed 4th of July. There are parades, a Street Dance, Fireworks, the Pig War Barbecue and many more events that make the 4th of July on San Juan Island spectacular.

Music at the Park
July 2017 - Dates TBD
The Port of Friday Harbor provides free music concerts at the Port throughout the summer. They occur on a weekly basis every Friday starting at 5 pm and Sunday starting at 2 pm. Bring a picnic, relax and listen to local and regional music as you gaze out at the harbor, watching ferries, boats and seaplanes come and go.

Music on the Lawn
July 2017 - Dates TBD
Bring blankets or lawn chairs, a picnic, and enjoy an evening of great music at 405 Park Street. Wednesday nights in July and August. The music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Shakespeare Under the Stars
July 2017 - Dates TBD
Island Stage Left performs Shakespeare outdoors at no charge, every July and August at Roche Harbor Resort and Wold Road.

San Juan Island Lavender Festival and Summer Arts Fair
July 2017 - Dates TBD
The Lavender Festival, at Pelindaba Lavender Farm, offers a variety of cultivating, cooking and essential oil distillation demos, craft workshops, tours, music, picnics in the blooming organic fields, and much, much more!

National Historical Park Encampment
July 2017 - Date TBD
Reenactors from throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada celebrate peace as they gather for the Annual Encampment on the English Camp parade ground. Admission is free.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
July 2017 - Date TBD
Three actors attempt all his plays in 97 minutes. Bring your whole family, blankets, lawn chairs and picnic with us under the sun and stars, for the perfect summer outing! Click on the link above for times and venues.

Movies in Sunken Park
July 2017 - Date TBD
Enjoy Island Rec‘s free outdoor movie series Saturday evenings beginning at dusk in July and August. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Free popcorn. No alcohol and pack it in, pack it out please.


+ August

San Juan County Fair
August 16-19, 2017
The San Juan County Fairgrounds is a community gathering place for 4H, events, festivals, recreational activities, agricultural shows, competitions and the annual San Juan County Fair.

Annual Shaw Island Classic
August 2017 - Dates TBD
The San Juan Island Yacht Club proudly hosts the annual Yacht Race and invites all eligible boats and crews to participate. The course starts in Friday Harbor, heads around Shaw Island in either direction, and returns to Friday Harbor for the finish.

Shakespeare Under the Stars
August 2017 - Dates TBD
Island Stage Left performs Shakespeare outdoors at no charge, every July and August at Roche Harbor Resort and Wold Road.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare
August 2017 - Dates TBD
Three actors attempt all his plays in 97 minutes. Bring your whole family, blankets, lawn chairs and picnic with us under the sun and stars, for the perfect summer outing! Click on the link above for times and venues.

Music at the Park
August 2017 - Dates TBD
The Port of Friday Harbor provides free music concerts at the Port throughout the summer. They occur on a weekly basis every Friday starting at 5 pm and Sunday starting at 2 pm. Bring a picnic, relax and listen to local and regional music as you gaze out at the harbor, watching ferries, boats and seaplanes come and go.

Music on the Lawn
August 2017 - Dates TBD
Bring blankets or lawn chairs, a picnic, and enjoy an evening of great music at 405 Park Street. Wednesday nights in July and August. The music starts at 6:30 p.m.

Concours d’Elegance
August 2017 - Dates TBD
The Sports Car Club of the San Juan Islands, in conjunction with the Rotary Club of San Juan Island orchestrate this annual event. It is open to all Classic and Unique Cars. There is also wine, music, prizes and a drawing.

Movies in Sunken Park
August 2017 - Dates TBD
Enjoy Island Rec‘s free outdoor movie series Saturday evenings beginning at dusk in July and August. Bring blankets or lawn chairs. Free popcorn. No alcohol and pack it in, pack it out please.

Jazz at the Labs
August 2017 - Dates TBD
An evening of live music and dinner that supports the Friday Harbor Labs Science Outreach program. The program works with the San Juan Island elementary, middle and high schools and the Spring Street International School. This event is from 6:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. and costs $40 for dinner and music.

Friday Harbor 8.8K Loop Run
August 2017 - Dates TBD
40 years running! Be part of this Island tradition. The race begins on Spring Street, goes through town on Warbass to Turn Point, to Pear Point, to Argyle and ends at the County Fair. A fun run/walk for people of all ages! Island Rec sponsors this fun island event.


+ September

Savor the San Juans
September 2017 - Dates TBD
Come and savor many celebrations of food, art and culture. See many of the annual events listed below.

Celebration of the Orca Greeting Ceremony
September 2017 - Dates TBD
Each summer, our resident pods of orca whales come together in what are called “greeting ceremonies.” In this spirit, The Whale Museum invites all Orca supporters to the Annual Celebration of the “Orca Greeting Ceremony.” The evening is a special treat at $35.00 per person (price includes dinner; wine & beer sold separately). Reservations can be made at The Whale Museum or online. The evening will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a happy hour & silent auction followed by a gourmet dinner prepared by the Market Chef, live auction and dessert auction. For more information call (360) 378-4710 ext. 30.

San Juan Island Farm Tour
September 2017 - Dates TBD
The San Juan Island Farm Tour is a unique opportunity to visit farms on the island! Meet heritage breeds of goats and sheep, walk in an Edible Food Forest, and taste locally grown heritage wheat baked in delicious pastries. Judge different varieties of garlic, learn about cultivating herbs, distilling essential oils, and taste apple varieties and enjoy apple treats.

Savor Island Flavors!
September 2017 - Dates TBD
Start the evening with mingling on the Brickworks Plaza while sampling a range of mouthwatering appetizers and drinks from some of the island’s most talented artisan chefs. Against a backdrop of classical music from Sasha Von Dassow, sit down to a gourmet meal, featuring the best seasonal ingredients picked from our local farms and lovingly created by The Market Chef. Take part in a fun, food and farm-themed raffle and auction. Admission is $75 and the event is from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.


+ October

Savor the San Juans
October 2017 - Dates TBD
Come and savor many celebrations of food, art and culture. See many of the annual events listed below.

Fall Farm Parade
October 2017 - Dates TBD
The Friday Harbor Fall Farm Parade is the genuine deal. Everybody gets in the act: from island children with their favorite backyard chickens, to long-time island farm families with island-scale tractors and harvesters, all parading through Friday Harbor’s main streets to celebrate the resurgence of small farms and local food in the San Juan Islands. Starting at 2:30 p.m. at the San Juan County Fairgrounds and ends at Brickworks Plaza.

San Juan Vineyards Harvest Festival
October 2017 - Dates TBD
San Juan Vineyards celebrates its Annual Harvest Festival of Siegerrebe Grapes, with picking starting at 9:00 a.m. Stop by, pick, enjoy the day in the vineyard, then later we’ll have a BBQ for the volunteer pickers, wine, and door prizes.

Annual Master Gardening Workshop: Secrets of Gardening
October 2017 - Dates TBD
San Juan County Master Gardeners present the 2016 Annual Gardening Workshop: Secrets of Gardening, at Friday Harbor Middle School on Saturday, October 1st, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. This all-day workshop will feature horticultural professionals and garden enthusiasts speakings on topics ranging from Utilizing Cold Frames and Unheated Greenhouses in the Pacific Northwest, to Tomato Magic, and Imagining Japanese Garden Design.


+ November

Savor the San Juans
Date: TBD
Come and savor many celebrations of food, art and culture. See many of the annual events listed below.

Friday Harbor Film Festival
November 4-6, 2017
The annual Friday Harbor Film Festival presents entertaining, inspiring, educational and award winning full length and short documentaries about the diverse Pacific Rim and one of the largest features on earth; the Pacific Ocean. The variety of film subjects range from island cultures, marine ecology, environmental issues and human interest. Directors and Producers of many of the Films will be on hand throughout the event to introduce their films, give workshops on documentary film-making, mingle with film goers and answer questions.

San Juan Island Artisans Holiday Marketplace
November 25-26, 2017
San Juan Island Artisans are sponsoring their 38th annual event featuring the 'best of the best' creations by San Juan County artists. Fifty-five artists will sell their unique, hand-made arts and crafts this year—just in time for holiday gift giving—offering a wide variety of items from soaps and lotions to jewelry, clothing, cards, paintings, island-made foods, scenic photography and much more. There will be delicious snacks available by local caterer Cynthia's of Course to keep shoppers satisfied. This is a fundraiser for the Island Artisans Scholarship Fund.


+ December

Island Lights Holiday Festival & Tree Lighting
December 2, 2016
The San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the upcoming Island Lights Festival on December 2nd. It will be a fun filled evening, starting with an Open House and ornament making, 3:30-5:00, at the Whale Museum. At 5:15 the Elementary School Choir, led by Joshua Boland, will lead us caroling from the Whale Museum down to Memorial Park, where we will join the Island Chordsman Plus, led by Angel Michaels. Santa will arrive and turn the lights on, followed by more caroling before heading up to Brickworks for chestnuts on the open fire, pictures by Mark Gardner with Santa, crafts with Island Rec, animal Shelter Giving tree, cocoa, and more… Brickworks and the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild will have local harvest vegetable soup and bread for sale, along with spiced, local apple cider & hot chocolate. For more details please contact the Chamber of Commerce 360-378-5240, becki@sanjuanisland.org.

San Juan Classic Salmon Derby
December 2-3, 2016
Now in it’s 2nd year, the Friday Harbor Salmon Classic is a not-for-profit event with proceeds going to salmon enhancement organizations and Salmon for Soldiers. This derby will be part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series.

San Juan Singers Christmas Reflections
December 10-11, 2016
San Juan Island’s annual holiday choral concert features Daniel Pinkham's Christmas Cantata & Gordon Thornett's Gloria in D. Both are accompanied by brass and percussion, bright up-beat works that celebrate the joy and glory of the Christmas season. In addition, the chorus will perform carols and songs of the season. Sponsored by San Juan Community Theatre. Admission is $18 and $9 for students.

Lighted Boat Parade and Santa Ship
December 17, 2016
Sponsored by the Port of Friday Harbor, the Lighted Boat Parade, escorting the Santa Ship to the dock. This colorful parade begins at 6:30 p.m. and can be best viewed from Spring Street Landing, down on the docks or from a water view restaurant. Santa arrives on the last boat, about 7:00 p.m. For more than 40 years Santa has brought gifts to children in the islands. This is a great time to bundle up the whole family and come on down to the waterfront for cider, cookies, carolers in song, and some warm holiday and community cheer. Boaters from elsewhere are invited to the Port for a free nights moorage with parade participation and local boats that participate will receive a nice Port retail goodie.

New Years Eve Events
Check Back


History

Credit // Peter Miller, Soup Standard

Credit // Peter Miller, Soup Standard

Once a mountain range carved out by glaciers, now an archipelago, the 100-million-year old San Juan Islands feature some of the most spectacular scenery in the Pacific Northwest. Depending on the tides, the San Juans number anywhere from 428 to 743 islands. Only about 170 have names, including the four largest: Orcas, San Juan, Shaw and Lopez. The islands were explored (1790-92) and named by the Spanish Francisco Eliza expedition.

San Juan Island is steeped in unique history. It has the dubious fame of being host to one of the longest running wars on American soil. The whole gist of the war was to determine if the island would become American or British soil. There was a treaty in place, but arguments erupted over a portion of the boundary described as the “middle of the channel” separating the British colony of Vancouver’s Island from the U. S. mainland. There were actually two channels, Haro Strait (nearest to Vancouver) and Rosario Strait, nearer to the U.S. mainland. San Juan Island huddles right between the two straits. Britain insisted that the boundary ran through Rosario Strait, but the Americans said it lay through Haro Strait. So both sides considered San Juan theirs for settlement.

In 1845, Hudson’s Bay Company posted a notice of possession on San Juan, and in 1850 they established a salmon-curing station. A few years later they started Bellevue Farm, a sheep ranch. By 1859, 18 to 25 U.S. citizens had also settled on San Juan Island. They were settled on redemption claims which they expected the U.S. Government to recognize as valid, but the British considered illegal. Neither side recognized the authority of the other, so everyone was on edge and things were bound to come to a head.

In June of 1859, Lyman Cutlar (one of the U.S. settlers) shot a pig that was raiding his garden. Afterwards, he realized the pig belonged to the Hudson’s Bay Company and offered to pay for it. They claimed the pig was a champion breeder and was valued at $100. Cutlar was outraged at the price considering the pig had also just trashed his garden, and he refused to pay. He was told he’d pay or be arrested for trespassing.

The American citizens requested U.S. military protection. George E. Pickett (of later Civil War fame) was sent to San Juan Island with a 66-man unit. They landed in July and set up camp near the Hudson’s Bay Company wharf, just north of Bellevue Farm. Throughout the remaining days of July and early August, the British forces in Griffin Bay (then San Juan Harbor) continued to grow. Pickett also received reinforcements under Lt. Col. Silas Casey, who now assumed active command. Captain Hornby (in charge of the British troops) waited to take any action against the Americans until the arrival of Rear Adm. Robert L. Baynes, commander of British naval forces in the Pacific. Baynes was disgusted and wanted no part of involving “two great nations in a war over a squabble about a pig."

By the end of August, 461 Americans, protected by 14 cannons, were opposed by 5 British warships mounting 167 guns and carrying 2,140 troops, including Royal Marines, artillerymen, sappers, and miners. Still no one budged, nor was a shot fired. Eventually an agreement was forged whereby a token force from each nation would occupy San Juan Island until a final settlement could be reached. On March 21, 1860, British Royal Marines landed and established camp on Garrison Bay, to this day known as English Camp. The U.S. troops stayed where they were, still known as American Camp.

San Juan Island remained under joint military occupation for 12 years. In 1871, when Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Washington, the dispute over San Juan Island was referred to Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany for settlement. In October of 1872, the emperor ruled in favor of the United States, establishing the boundary line through Haro Strait. San Juan became an American possession and the final boundary between Canada and the United States was set. In November of 1872, the Royal Marines withdrew from English Camp. By July of 1874, the last of the U.S. troops had left American Camp. The 49th parallel was no longer occupied by any military force. San Juan Island would be remembered for a military confrontation in which the only casualty was a pig.

Many Hudson Bay Company employees settled on San Juan Island.  A Hawaiian sheep herder and employee of Hudson Bay  was known as “Friday”.  He settled in the area of what is now the town of Friday Harbor.   The geographic attributes of Friday Harbor, especially the  protected harbor made it a natural place to start a town and in the 1870′s the town began to be built.  In 1873, Friday Harbor was named the county seat of the islands.

 In 1884 John S. McMillin, a Tacoma lawyer, discovered the largest deposit of lime in the Northwest at Roche Harbor.  He set up the Tacoma and Roche Harbor Lime Company in 1886.  He then built the 22-room Hotel de Haro and the company town of Roche Harbor grew up around it.   Roche Harbor consisted of a lime factory, a barrel works, warehouse, docks, ships, piers, offices, company store, church, school, barns and homes.  Roche Harbor’s 800 residents exceeded the population in Friday Harbor at the time.  The workers at Roche Harbor were paid in scrip which was only good only at the company store.  The town was  sold in 1956 and is now a popular resort town on the island.

For more historic information about San Juan island:

Historic Friday Harbor
San Juan Historical Museum
San Juan Island National Historic Park


Map