If you have ever visited or heard about the San Juan Islands, then you know it is a magical group of islands located in the northern most point of Washington bordering Canada. Upon moving to Seattle, I was probably told 20 times that I needed to make a visit to the San Juan's. I took their advice and have now made my second trip to this little slice of Pacific North West heaven. Today, I'm talking about my favorite island thus far (there are four ferry served islands- San Juan, Orcas, Lopez and Shaw but over 172 named islands in San Juan County. Read on to learn about 10 things you must do on San Juan Island!
1. STAY IN ONE OF THE HISTORIC CABINS AT ROCHE HARBOR: I cannot tell you how much we LOVED staying in one of these historic gems. Roche Harbor is located on the northern most point of the island and is worth the 20 minute drive across the island from where the ferry drops you off in Friday Harbor. Each of the 10 historic cottages offers 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen and an outdoor fire pit (we enjoyed ours both evenings). We opted to stay in a second row cottage, but the first row cottages have unobstructed waterfront views and the best seat in the house for the sunsets (see below). I cannot say enough good things about Roche Harbor and you will continue to read more about them below!
2. ATTEMPT TO SPOT WHALES AT LIME KILN POINT STATE PARK: The San Juan Islands are probably most well known as being the breeding grounds for Orcas! Situated on the west end of the Island, Lime Kiln is said to be one of the best whale-watching spots on earth (peak season is May through September)! We weren't lucky enough to see any whales breach the water (I am DYING to see this one day), but we did spot a few fins! Even if you don't spot any whales, it's still a gorgeous spot!
3. EXPLORE FRIDAY HARBOR: Friday Harbor is the largest town on the island and has lots of fun things to do and see. We loved browsing the shops and exploring the waterfront. We had dinner at Downriggers right on the water, and I could recommend it enough. Delicious food and stunning views, you just can't beat it.
4. GRAB COFFEE AT THE SALTY FOX: When you arrive by ferry to San Juan Island, the first thing you see when you drive off is the charming Salty Fox Coffee. I knew I wanted to visit (have you been reading my Seattle Sips posts) and check out their coffee selection. It's definitely a charming cafe with delicious coffee, but my favorite part was sitting on the front steps (coffee in hand) and taking in the view.
5. CHECK OUT THE YACHT'S IN ROCHE HARBOR: There are some BIG boats docked in Roche Harbor. We loved strolling the docks and dreaming of one day owning one of these vessels (haha only in our dreams), but it did make for a fun activity.
6. EXPLORE THE ROCHE HARBOR GROUNDS AND GARDENS: I know I have talked a lot about Roche Harbor, but I honestly fell in love. It might just be my favorite spot in all of the Pacific North West and that is definitely saying a lot. They have STUNNING gardens located right on the water that happened to be blooming my favorite flowers, Peonies. I was literally on cloud 9 strolling through rows and rows of gorgeous pink and white blooms.
8. WATCH THE SEA PLANES LAND: If you are up for the adventure, you can take a sea plane directly from Seattle to Roche Harbor. We didn't opt for it this time (still on our Seattle bucket list), but we did love watching them land on the water.
9. CATCH THE SUNSET: I cannot begin to describe how beautiful the sunsets were on San Juan Island. Just trust me that they are breathtaking and something you NEED to experience!
10. BRING YOUR PUP: San Juan Island is a GREAT place to bring your pup! Cooper was definitely the talk of the town and loved meeting all kinds of friends. The cabin we stayed in at Roche Harbor was dog friendly (they charged a $25 a night pet fee) and they even provided dog bowls and treats. We love bringing Coop along on our adventures, so I always like knowing if places are pet friendly.
Are you ready to book your adventure to San Juan Island?