San Juan Island is just one of the 172 San Juan Islands (four are served by ferry). You can get to San Juan Island by plane, boat or ferry. Anytime of year is a nice time to visit. We happened to hit a rainy cloudy day in August, but it was still romantic, still inviting. http://www.visitsanjuans.com/ and http://sanjuanisland.org/ are good websites that will provide much of what you need to know.
We arrived to San Juan Island as walk on passengers via a ferry originating from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. Check out the following site to find parking rates and other info: http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/vesselwatch/TerminalDetail.aspx?terminalid=1&CFID=803704&CFTOKEN=64308448
Friday Harbor – take a stroll through this walkable town and see what there is to see – the marina, museums, antiques, boutiques, a movie theater, art galleries, bookstores, community theater, wine tasting. You can catch a whale watching or kayaking tour as well. I particularly enjoyed the park next to the marina…featuring a pond/waterfall, picnic facilities, and artwork dedicated to the Salish people. It was interesting to see that the leaves had started to turn on the island. Everything in Friday Harbor is within walking distance and dog friendly. If you want the best hot chocolate (I have ever tried) or foamy latte, visit The Doctor’s Office…a Treatment Cafe before heading back to the ferry, it will hit the spot!
Wondering how we got to Roche Harbor as it is across the island? San Juan Transit! San Juan Transit provides transportation, tours, charters, and connections on San Juan Island. They have an actual schedule and place of pickup with a fee of $5 each way per person (along with other options depending on your need). There are also other routes around the island with stops at the IMA Sculpture Park, Lakedale Resort, an Alpaca Ranch, San Juan Vineyards, Pelindaba Lavendar Farm, and others… Our driver was kind enough to point out some of the attractions along the way, including a quick stop to see Mona (a camel), the most famous resident on San Juan Island. 🙂 www.sanjuantransit.com Other options are taxi, bike, or moped…like Susies Mopeds www.susiesmopeds.com The timing was perfect as we were able to walk around town and have lunch too.
Roche Harbor – Established in 1886…A historic seaside village – see the beauty! This former company town was built up around the Roche Harbor Lime Company back in the day. Enjoy the museum, gardens, sculpture park, walk the pier, view the yachts in the world-class marina, or play Bocce ball. Lodging options include hotel rooms (like the Hotel de Haro) and Gift Shop as well as cottages, condos, and village homes. Lunch was had at Madrona Bar & Grill. Seafood, salads, and other abound. The steak sirloin wedge salad, clam chowder, and shrimp basket were nice choices (especially the salad)…oh, and add a local Amber and their specialty Bloody Mary to the bill. Madrona Bar & Grill is located on the bottom level of the historic John S. McMillin home. Roche Harbor is a premier destination wedding site. Shopping – stop in at Dominique’s House – a fine selection of furnishings and accessories for the home or boat (and personal items too). I happened to find a beautiful metal bowl made by hand (Beatriz Ball) to be used for some rocks and other natural elements collected over the years. www.dominqueshouse.com http://www.rocheharbor.com/Home.html
As a side note, if you want convenience and some relaxation too, stay in Anacortes at the Ship Harbor Inn as it is just a short walk away from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal. http://www.shipharborinn.com/ http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries/ Don’t forget to stop in Anacortes for a bite or light shopping.
One day is a good start on seeing the Island and it definitely makes for one great day! To see more of it though…stay three!