11 Teen Tested Tips for a Successful San Juan Vacation

Updated May 2017

Have you ever wondered what it is your teenager wants in a family vacation? We did too, so we asked! The answer is simple: Have some space and do cool stuff. A family vacation on San Juan Island offers exactly that. Adorable Friday Harbor is fun and so safe, you can give the apple of your eye some alone time without having heart palpitations. The outdoor adventures San Juan Island has to offer are more than Facebook & Instagram worthy. And yes, we at the Earthbox Inn & Spa have free wifi. Here are our teen tested tips. Enjoy!

  1. Go Zip Lining  

Nothing like flying through Douglas Firs and Red Cedars over protected wetlands and an otter inhabited lake and taking a picture of Dad hanging upside down 20 feet up in the air. A 3-4 hour tour with Zip San Juan is an amazing way to experience nature and fun for the entire family.

  1. Go to the Movies

Historic Palace Theater is a block from the Earthbox Inn & Spa and shows many teen friendly movies. If you’re especially adventurous, you will get your popcorn the way we locals do, with butter and nutritional yeast.  It's an acquired taste for sure, but once you've got it, there's no going back. Call 360-370-5666 for current show times.

  1. Go Whale Watching

Take a wild ride on Western Prince’s Zodiak Explorer. You may wonder why they provide the big, warm, orange suits in the middle of summer and then they start the boat and you will know. The Explorer is a thrill but not a thrill ride. Every trip is guided by an experienced naturalist. Being so close to the water level gives you a unique opportunity to experience the local ecosystem. And because the boat is so fast, if the Orca whales are in the area, you’re practically guaranteed to see them.

  1. Take a Beach Cruiser for a Spin

Sign out a beach cruiser for your teens at the front desk (don’t forget to ask for helmets, it’s the law for kids under 16!) and head out on the 5.8 mile Pear Point Loop around Griffin Bay. The loop goes by Jackson’s Beach, a lovely drift wood beach with barbeques and a volleyball field, along the stunning waterfont and gets back into Friday Harbor where the ferry lands and where the San Juan Ice Cream Co. is. Yumm.

  1. Get in the Pool

Play in the indoor heated pool, sauna, hot tub and exercise room at the Earthbox Inn & Spa before dinner, to get some energy out and your appetite on. If you have more than one teen and they are both over 16, they can even bathe without the parental units.

  1. Go to the Skate Park

Of course he brought his skateboard and knew about the 8ft deep ¾ bowl before you even made your room reservations. The skate park is a few blocks from the Earthbox Inn & Spa by the Fairgrounds, is free and open from 8am to dusk.

  1. Go Bowling

When was the last time you went bowling? Right? Adorable Paradise Lanes across the street from the Earthbox Inn & Spa has eight lanes, arcade games, pool tables and pizza.

  1. Explore the Shops

Shop for a new outfit at one of the awesome consignment stores in town. Make her in charge of the souvenirs for grandma and the aunts and send her to Island Studios or the souvenir shop on Cannery Landing with the old fashioned Zoltar out front. Look for Popeye, Friday Harbor’s famous one-eyed harbor seal, who splashes you with water if you don’t feed her. And nobody is ever too old for the Toy Box, the coolest toy store in town.

  1. Go Kayaking  

Take a Day Kayak Tour with the San Juan Outfitters Roche Harbor. Find out what’s really going on in a kelp garden and how very old starfish get, watch spectacular seabirds and maybe even see an Orca whale from up close. Then race the tour guide back to the docks and explore historic Roche Harbor Resort for a while.

  1. Get a Spa Treatment  

Being a teen is stressful stuff, the growing, the hormones, you in her life. Treat you and your baby doll to a relaxing massage at our Spa at Earthbox, to ground her, calm her, make her feel like a grown up and show her how much you love her and to help you both have a little more energy for the rest of your great vacation together.

  1. Dance on the Beach

  Yes, every once in a while they’ll cut loose, even with their parents. Join in the fun and break out in dance on the beach. Heck, why not belt out your favorite song, too.You won’t regret it.