What to do and see in San Juan Island, United States: The Best Places and Tips

July 20, 2017 Agatha Simes

An island vacation on San Juan Island in…Washington? San Juan might not be a tropical retreat, but this scenic scape proudly features beaches, orca pods and one of the country’s largest lavender farms. Lime Kiln Point State Park is the perfect place for whale watching, while Pelindaba Lavender Farm will set you up with a lifetime supply of the fragrant purple plant. The bustling Friday Harbor is a jackpot of restaurants and shops, plus unique attractions like the 19-acre sculpture garden at Westcott Bay Reserve.
Restaurants in San Juan Island

1. Roche Harbor Colors Ceremony

248 Reuben Memorial Dr, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8171 +1 800-586-3590
Excellent
70%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 48 reviews

Roche Harbor Colors Ceremony

Reviewed By ghodecker - Redmond, Oregon

Watching the Colors ceremony from the outside deck of Madrona's is a great way to finish the day. It was interesting that the Union Jack flag was part of the ceremony until I learned more about the Island's history.

2. San Juan Island Distillery

12 Anderson Ln, Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-9183 +1 360-378-2606
Excellent
80%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
6%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 48 reviews

San Juan Island Distillery

Reviewed By Andrei S - Clemmons, North Carolina

I went here on a whim late in the day since I had a little time before my ferry left for the mainland, and I am so glad I did! The owners were running a full tasting, and I was lucky enough to join. The history and process behind each cider and liquor were interesting, and the owners gave a lot of interesting details. I had some of the best liquors I have ever tasted in my life here, and it was very difficult to decide on two things to buy. I settled on a bottle of the extra dry cider (which is outstanding), and a bottle of lavender liqueur that is unique to the distillery. If you are on San Juan Island, this place is a must-visit for the tasting. You will definitely find something to bring back home!

3. Lime Kiln Point State Park

1567 Westside Rd, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8602 +1 360-378-2044
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 520 reviews

Lime Kiln Point State Park

This 36.32-acre park, located on the west side of San Juan Island, boasts over 2,550 feet of scenic shoreline.

Reviewed By PullmanCougar - Pullman, Washington

The trail from the parking lot heads to the lighthouse along the headland with some nice views to photograph. The trail connects into other trails which pass out of the state park and onto other public lands, passing by the old lime kilns and through the old quarry. Very beautiful, even in the off season.

4. Zip San Juan

1959 Egg Lake Rd, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250 +1 360-378-5947
Excellent
83%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 314 reviews

Zip San Juan

Come and experience for yourself the only Zip Line Tour in the San Juan Islands in Washington State. Our family friendly zip tour features 8 zip lines that will take you through a beautiful forest, across an otter inhabited lake and over protected wetlands. This tour is an amazing way to experience the natural landscape of San Juan Island while zipping from platform to platform through the forest canopy.Upon reaching the site, you will be given an orientation and then have the opportunity to practice zipping on our smaller practice zip lines. After this, our guides will lead you on a brief hike to the first of the zip lines. Throughout your tour you will soar past tall Douglas Firs, Western Red Cedars, and experience the forest and wetlands from a viewpoint usually exclusive to birds.Tours last approximately 3 hours, which includes travel time to and from the course. The Zip San Juan course is approximately 10 minutes from Friday Harbor. Zip San Juan can provide your transportation to and from Friday Harbor to the zip site.

Reviewed By Michelle Z

This was my first experience with Zip Lining. There were 6 ziplines and a suspension bridge that was fun to cross. There was a definite emphasis on making sure people were safe and felt welcomed. In addition, the staff was very accommodating and showed that they really cared. I'm especially appreciative to Ben, who communicated directly when there was a question. Our guides worked well with a range of ages and gave us options for variations if we wanted to add more "excitement." It works well for a day trip and being able to walk on to the ferry, easily walk to the pick up location for the van that picks you up and brings you back easily and efficiently.

5. Lime Kiln Point State Park Interpretive Center

1567 Westside Rd, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8602
Excellent
66%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
0%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 330 reviews

Lime Kiln Point State Park Interpretive Center

Visit the Interpretive Center while you are at Lime Kiln Point State Park. Come learn about the orca whales that frequent our shores, the historic lime kilns & lighthouse that are in Lime Kiln Point State Park. The Interpretive Center staffed by Friends of Lime Kiln Society (FOLKS) volunteers and all donations support the Center and other FOLKS programs & projects in Lime Kiln Point State Park. There is also a small gift shop in the Interpretive Center.

Reviewed By Jeff M - Dallas, Georgia

Great place to visit. Very amazing views and water location. Nice little trails and paths to meander around and the scenery is fantastic. Had there been time, I'd have just sat there all day and watched the water. So calming.

Great stop as you're touring the island. Well worth the time.

6. Pelindaba Lavender Farm

45 Hawthorne Ln, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-5008 +1 360-378-4248
Excellent
67%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 411 reviews

Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Pelindaba Lavender Farm, spread over 25 beautiful acres with lake and Olympic Mountain views, has become one of the San Juans' most popular visitor destinations. More than 200 lavender-based, botanical, culinary, personal care, therapeutic, household & pet care products are handcrafted and sold on-site.

Reviewed By volcanogirl - Texas

I've never been a huge fan of lavender, but I loved visiting Pelindaba. The farm is beautiful, full of green rolling hills, the purple lavender in the fields, and gigantic silver modern sculptures scattered about. There's a little area in the back where you can buy fresh lavender plants to plant in your own garden, and the gift shop is amazing; they have everything from lavender tea, cookies, ice cream, and hot fudge sauce to lip balms, lotions, and bath products. We loved just walking around exploring, learning about the process, and then shopping for gifts. This is a gorgeous place to spend a sunny day, and they turned me into a lavender fan. We would definitely come back the next time we're in the area.

7. The Whale Museum

62 1st St N, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-8337 +1 360-378-4710
Excellent
54%
Good
33%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 641 reviews

The Whale Museum

The Whale Museum, located in beautiful Friday Harbor, Washington, opened to the public in 1979 as the first museum in the country devoted to a species living in the wild. Today, our museum continues to promote stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education and research.

Reviewed By Bill C - Bellevue, Washington, United States

I wasn't expecting much from a museum island but was pleasantly surprised by this small but informative museum. The exhibits were informative both for adults and children. You probably wouldn't spend more than an hour here, but given that you are on an island with great whale watching, it is certainly worth visiting and learning more about these majestic mammals.

8. Cattle Point

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA
Excellent
59%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 211 reviews

Cattle Point

Rocky promontory on San Juan Island that offers a dramatic view of the whales and wildlife of Puget Sound.

Reviewed By Teresa T - Fort Worth, United States

A totally different experience from the landscape of other areas of the island. This area is more desert-like with rocky cliffs. However, the sweeping views of the ocean and surrounding islands matches the rest of San Juan's impressive views. Easy climbing on rocks overlooking the bay for those who want to.

9. English Camp

National Historical Park, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA +1 360-378-2240
Excellent
49%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
0%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 345 reviews

English Camp

Reviewed By volcanogirl - Texas

We thought the English Camp was beautiful, a little more picturesque than the American Camp due to the location on the bay and the higher elevation that provides beautiful views. There are some interesting historical buildings on site, including a neat blockhouse and some barracks that have been converted to a visitor's center where you can watch a video that explains the rivalries between the British and the Americans and how war almost erupted over a pig. Nice hiking trails here; we saw lots of deer and geese while we were exploring. My favorite thing was the beautiful manicured garden with all the individual plants labeled and identified; I wouldn't expect to see such a thing, but the British really settled in for the long haul and tried to make things at camp as civilized as possible. It's interesting to compare the two camps and see what was important to each one. Great place to explore if you have an interest in history.

10. American Camp

650 Mullis St, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA 98250-7951 +1 360-378-2240
Excellent
53%
Good
34%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 113 reviews

American Camp

Reviewed By Alena006 - San Francisco, California

Do not expect to see much.They have quite goo visitor center where one can learn what it is all about.

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