The San Juan Islands of Washington State are a very popular summer destination for families; and rightfully so. With hiking, kayaking, whale watching, and more, it’s a relaxing and beautiful place to be. But I’ll let you in on a little secret – this is not just a summer destination! The off-peak season with lower lodging prices and no crowds is also a great time to visit and enjoy San Juan Island vacations.
San Juan Island Vacations: Off Season Fun for Families in Washington
Getting To San Juan Island
My family visited San Juan Island, the most populated of the island group, over a weekend in December. Our visit was timed to match up with the beginning of the winter holidays in Friday Harbor, so we were able to be there for the tree lighting ceremony and the weekend Old Fashioned Christmas Market. Our trip began with a drive from Seattle to catch the ferry in Anacortes. My kids ride the ferry fairly often, but the excitement still hasn’t worn off for them, so they were really happy to board the boat. Even though we were on the Friday afternoon sailing, which is typically the busiest one, the boat was fairly empty and my kids had plenty of space to run around and be energetic without disturbing other passengers.
After arriving on the island and finding our hotel, our next stop was to attend the tree lighting in the heart of Friday Harbor. We enjoyed hearing a variety of small musical groups sing Christmas songs before Santa turned on the lights of the tree. Then it was time for dinner and we decided on Cask & Schooner, which was conveniently located near the tree lighting festivities. Dinner at this lovely restaurant was a fun way to warm up and fill our tummies with delicious, fresh food. The meal got thumbs up from everyone in my family!
*Travel tip: Even in the off-season, it’s a good idea to make a reservation for ferry sailings to and from Friday Harbor and other destinations in the San Juan Islands. Reservations can be easily made on the Washington State Ferries website and are free of charge.
Where To Stay On San Juan Island
Our home base for the weekend was the Earthbox Inn and Spa, where we ended up staying in a two bedroom small house (the inn has both a house and traditional hotel rooms for visitors) with a full kitchen and living room. Most importantly for my kids, this hotel has a large indoor pool, which is really the main thing that my kids care about when traveling. Even though they would have been happy spending the whole weekend swimming, there was more to do and see, so on Saturday morning it was time to be off and explore the island......Read More