Brimming with dense old-growth forests and panoramic views of the water, there is no place more beautiful than the San Juan Islands. Need more convincing to escape from urban life for a quick San Juans day trip or relaxing weekend getaway? Our team of Clipper Vacation’s Northwest travel experts have rounded up their 25 favorite things to do on San Juan Island to provide you with a key to this coveted, historic isle and inspiration for booking your next trip.
∗ = Add on one of these tours while booking
Meet the “real locals” out on the Salish Sea and soak in the scenery surrounding the San Juans aboard a Clipper Vacations Whale Watching and Sealife Search.
See San Juan Island from a unique perspective – your own personal kayak! Explore the beautiful shoreline beaches and the San Juan Channel, all set to a glorious Olympic Mountain backdrop. ∗
Enjoy whale watching as the sun begins to set on a Friday Harbor Whale Watch Sealion Boat at 5:30 pm.∗
Take in the scenery on two wheels by renting a bike and peddling around the island. The San Juans are a known biker’s paradise and offer plenty of roadside vistas to check out along the way.
Stop by Susie’s Mopeds and scoot around the island at your leisure or head to M&W Auto to pick four wheels to further explore the island!
Once you have some wheels, visit the famous Lime Kiln Lighthouse, one of the best places on the island to catch sight of whales from the shore!
Centered on Spring Street and up a few blocks from the waterfront, Friday Harbor’s shopping district features floral shops like Robin’s Next, local produce at King’s Market and sweets at Friday Harbor Chocolates.
Browse from an assortment of locally crafted lavender products from honey to essential oils on the 25-acre Pelindaba Lavender Farm, which offers stunning Olympic Mountain range views and open fields perfect for a post-picnic stroll.
Located 10 miles from Friday Harbor, Mount Young’s 650-foot summit delivers panoramic views of the Olympic Peninsula, Canadian Gulf Islands and Garrison Bay.
The perfect activity for kiddos and adults alike, many creatures can be discovered on the island’s countless beachside tide pools, from kelp crabs to sea anemones.
San Juan Island National Historical Park was the site of the British and US Army camps during the Pig War. Today, they are a picturesque historical landmark and a great scooter or biking destination.
Grab lunch, shop for gifts and soak up the views at the quintessentially Washington seaside resort of Roche Harbor. Be sure to wander the halls of the historic Hotel De Haro while you’re stopping by.
Formally known as the McMillin Mausoleum, this memorial is the final resting place of a successful lime works owner’s family. Its open air rotunda looks like something out of a fantasy novel.
Located just a few blocks from downtown Friday Harbor, the museum brings to life many pieces of the region’s past using historic artifacts and records.
After seeing our cherished whales in their natural habitat, get an even deeper look into the natural history of marine mammals, with a special focus on local Southern Resident orcas. Discover their behavioral patterns, observe skeletons up close and learn about their larger role in the Salish Sea ecosystem.
From waterfront greenspaces and beaches in Friday Harbor to the popular 12-acre San Juan County Park on the island’s west side, San Juan offers plenty of picnic-perfect viewpoints.
Soak in panoramic ocean and mountain views with beachside strolls and a visit to Cattle Point Lighthouse, located at the southernmost tip of the island.
Enjoy seasonal global fare and creative cocktails served in a casually elegant setting at Backdoor Kitchen, a local favorite in the heart of the harbor.
Cruise along madrona-lined roads as you make your way across this open expanse of protected land and shoreline featuring panoramic views of Haro Strait.
On Saturdays April through October, stop by the San Juan Island Farmer’s Market on Nichols Street for baked goods, local produce and live music.
From their award-winning cab sauv, to the equally tasty Siegerrebe, a visit to this estate is as picturesque as it is delicious.
Home to some of the best underwater scenery in the Northwest, San Juan Island offers an amazing opportunity for sightseeing below its blue waters.
A testament to the island’s creative community, the IMA is a hub for artists of all kinds and features work both local and from abroad. Be sure to wander the adjacent Sculpture Park when you stop by!
Shuck ‘em practically straight from the sea! The pristine, cold waters of Westcott Bay provide the perfect environment for sustainable oyster growing and harvesting.
Come mid-July, the Lavender Festival at Pelindaba Lavender Farm allows visitors access to the Cutting Field, tours and exhibits and freshly crafted lavender ice cream, lemonade and cookies! On Fridays in August, the island is once again transformed during the Summer Arts Festival, featuring over 25 art vendors, local food and drink and live music!
Clipper trips to Victoria and Seattle and whale watching are discounted for active and retired US or Canadian military personnel, children and seniors.
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