San Juan Island Activities

Yes, it's true, "island time" does exist. And we hope you sink into it and put your feet up on your San Juan Island vacation.

You might have grand plans of zipping around, but you've probably already started to relax on the journey to the Island, waving farewell to your worries and stress as your ferry pulled away from the mainland.

Because of its compact size, there's no need to rush Friday Harbor. You can meander around this small town easily from Earthbox, your San Juan Island Hotel, where you'll find boutiques, art galleries, antique stores, and bookstores interspersed with restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops—plenty of opportunity to browse or just kick back.

Stroll by the water and admire the sailboats or relax on a waterfront bench and simply watch the world—and the water traffic—gliding by.

Or maybe you're an active type itching to get going. We've got plenty to keep you entertained and on the move:

  • Rent a kayak or join a kayak tour. At the right time of year you might see whales, seals, otters, and porpoises; at the "wrong" time of year you'll simply marvel at the tranquil waters, a clutch of islands, and the stunning beauty that surrounds you.
  • Hop aboard a whale-watching tour. These almost guarantee successful sittings, and you'll soon be filling your camera's memory card as sleek orcas surface near your boat.
  • Swing amongst the trees on San Juan Island's family-friendly zip tours at Zip San Juans. They feature 8 zip lines that will take you through a beautiful forest, across an otter inhabited lake and over a protected wetland.
  • Borrow one of Earthbox's cruiser bikes or rent a geared bicycle and take off around the island, a cornucopia of stunning possibilities. Stop at a hiking trail (they're everywhere) . . . spot some whales from Lime Kiln Point . . . visit South Beach and Cattlepoint Lighthouse. The island is part of the recently designated Scenic Byway, ideal for car or bike touring.
  • You might choose to travel by car (or bus) or rent a moped or 3-wheeled vehicle, and save your energy for the hiking. Plenty of intriguing stops await you along every road—San Juan Island Vineyards, Pelindaba Lavender Farm, historic Roche Harbor, and superb views from every vantage point of mountains, sparkling water, green valleys, and towering trees, trees, trees.
  • Take a stroll around the IMA Sculpture Park near Roche Harbor. Here, more than 100 sculptures are dotted around 19 acres of parkland. You'll get fresh air and art education simultaneously.
  • Take to your feet and hike around. San Juan Island is a hikers' paradise, including trails galore through English and American Camps, national parks named for the Pig War of 1859, where you'll get a mini history lesson along with the exercise.
  • Let the invigorating yet restful natural beauty of the island revitalize your spirit. Enjoy walks along the water and through the national parks, picnic spots out of a painting, deserted beaches, and a refreshing lack of commerce and tourism.