The Holidays on San Juan Island
The Holidays on San Juan Island

How to plan an Easy & Affordable Winter Getaway to San Juan Island

Winter getaways to San Juan Island are the best. Whether you treat your family to the charming, old fashioned Christmas festivities during December, sneak away with your love for a romantic weekend, complete with Spa day and storm watching or finally organize that Girlfriend Getaway you all have been dreaming about, the isle in Winter is delightful, affordable and uncrowded.

Earthbox Beach Cruiser Bicycles
Earthbox’ free beach cruiser bikes are a hoot to take to the nearest beach

Weather and Ferries

Winters in the San Juan’s are temperate. We do get our share of rain, wind, frost, and even sometimes some snow.  More often though, it’s crisp and sunny, because being tucked between the Olympic Mountains and Vancouver Island, we get to enjoy the Olympic Rain Shadow.­

The Washington State Ferry serving San Juan Island from Anacortes runs year-round in (almost) every weather. Car reservations are recommended, but not absolutely necessary like they are in the Summer. You may also leave your car in Anacortes and walk on the ferry, which is a lot cheaper. The ferry docks in downtown, completely walkable Friday Harbor. Public transportation is not available during the Winter months, but there are taxis, as well as our beach cruiser bikes to check out for free and take for a spin to the nearest beach. Our bikes are single speed, super fun, but not be enough as your sole transportation option to explore the entire island.

Take Advantage of our Lodging and Spa Specials

Before you come, always check our amazing lodging and spa specials and remember to Book Direct. When you book through our website or over the phone, you communicate with us here on the ground, the same folks who check you in and bring you more pool towels. We know our property inside and out, know the cutest dog-friendly room, the quietest or most romantic places and the best options for a family of five or your six girlfriends and you. You can book spa treatments, whale watch tours and in-room goodies, like chocolate and champagne, with us. There are no hidden fees, no lost reservations or hassles with changing or canceling your booking and we always offer the best prices.

Whale Watch Park at Sunset
Table for Two at the Whale Watch Park

Al Fresco Lunches with a View

Eating out for all meals can get spendy. Eat outside instead. Grab an uncomplicated picnic and head to the Whale Watch Park for a lunch on the rugged shores overlooking the Salish Sea. Or get a table and fire ring at South Beach for a Winter bonfire with a view. Here a few picnic ideas:

  • San Juan Bistro – crusty bread, charcuterie and local cheeses, bottle of wine
  • Bakery San Juan – pizza, bottle of wine
  • Café Demeter – savory pastries, bottle of wine

Ask us at the front desk for bottle openers, compostable cutlery, paper plates and cups.

Happy Hours

Most restaurants offer happy hour discounted drinks and a small bite menu before the dinner rush. Don’t miss Cask & Schooner’s sumptuous Happy Hour menu. Also check out COHO’s First Seating from 5:00pm to 5:45pm each day, when this adorable Farm-to-Table restaurant delights with a four-course meal and a bottle of wine for two for $70.

Art & Markets

There are seven galleries, three museums and countless shops offering local arts and crafts within a three-block radius from our Earthbox. The Winter’s Farmer’s Market offering food, arts and crafts, live music and chair massages, is held every first and third Saturday at Brickworks. Explore the free (donations welcome), dog friendly San Juan Sculpture Park on the north end of the isle, displaying over 150 sculptures on 20 acres along five trails through the woods, along beautiful Westcott Bay and a lake. The park is a great place for a picnic as well.

Winter Wildlife Watching at its finest. Photo courtesy of Tracy Walter
Winter Wildlife Watching at its finest. Photo courtesy of Tracy Walter

Hiking & Birding & Wildlife Watching

Winter is an incredible time for birding in the San Juan’s. Over 300 seabirds call the island their Winter home. One of the best places to watch birds is on the south shores of Cattle Point Light House in American Camp National Historical Park, where Haro Strait meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca. You’ll also find Steller sea lions there, as well as seals, foxes, bunnies, eagles and sometimes Orca whales. Bring those binoculars. Check out our 5 Favorite Hikes in this article.

No Need to Over-plan

Anytime you visit San Juan Island,

there is no need to over-plan. Leave room to simply be and let the day unfold, wander, be curious, and let the island’s magic unfold.