With 247 average days with sunshine, a reputation for wholesome fun, and more than 6 places to get freshly made pastries – Friday Harbor is the ultimate kid-friendly getaway destination that the whole family will love.
11 Things to Do with Kids in Friday Harbor
Bring your camera. Tell your kids to put on their adventure hat. San Juan Island’s Friday Harbor is loaded with fun activities, interactive museums, and awe-inspiring wildlife.
1. Whale Watching
Orcas (aka killer whales) are absolutely magnificent. Graceful creatures of the sea, their utter power and beauty are all but impossible to understand until you see them first hand, rising from the water. From spring through fall, the San Juan Islands are home to the ‘Southern Residents’ – three migratory orca pods known as J, K, and L.
Additional seasonal visitors include humpback whales, grey whales, and minke whales. Year-round, you can often see a variety of other while life, including: ‘Transient’ orcas, harbor seals, porpoises, bald eagles, and sea lions.
Just want to visit for the day? Check out our Seaplane Whale Watching package.
2. Scoot Coupe Ride
Hit the road with the wind in your face, as you and your little one explore the island at your own speed. Susie’s Mopeds offers Scoot Coupes rentals, perfect for the adult driver and kid passenger. Wind your way through the island as you soak in the breathtaking views.
3. The Whale Museum
In 1976, The Whale Museum was founded to study the region’s beloved Southern Resident orcas. Today, the museum is located in downtown Friday Harbor. It overlooks the marina, a view capitalized on in one of the exhibits, where a small porthole window and binoculars are provided for those who want to do a little whale watching. Though the museum places a special emphasis on the Southern Resident pods, it also features many of the other local inhabitants such as seals and grey whales.
4. Visit the Alpaca Farm
Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm is home to more than 50 alpacas. The curious creatures roam the 80-acre estate, enjoying the gentle slopes and sunny pastures. While petting opportunities are rare, you can explore the gift shop to find alpaca sweaters, coats, and cuddly toys.
Explore the calm waters just of San Juan Island in a naturalist-led sea kayaking adventure. San Juan Outfitters’ offers three- and five-hour tours in their state-of-the-art double and triple kayaks. (Triple kayaks are especially ideal for families with kids.)
6. Flower Extravaganza
Located in the heart of San Juan Island, the Pelindaba Lavender Farm spreads more than 25 acres. The beautiful grounds feature gently rolling hills of organically certified lavender varieties, you and your child can explore. The farm features a Distillery where they explain how the lavender is distilled into oil and used for a wide variety of medicinal and aesthetic purposes. July through August, a Craft Workshop is set up for you to make your own beautiful lavender crafts. And, a variety of tasty treats can often be purchased – like lavender ice cream!
7. Donuts at Roche Harbor’s Lime Kiln Café
Does your child like donuts? What a silly question! Of course they do. And the Lime Kiln Café has some of the best around. Made fresh daily, these cake-like babies are sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. Learn more about how the donuts are made and what flavors are available.
8. Thrilling Zip-Line Tour
Soar through the forest. Glide over a lake. Get a bird’s eye view of the island’s wetlands. Zip San Juan offers exciting zip line tours to those 8-years-old and older. This thrilling adventure includes eight different lines and an opportunity to view the San Juan Islands from new heights.
9. Sweet Baked Treats
Though downtown Friday Harbor is only about two square miles, it’s home to more than three bakeries, including two of our favorites: Bakery San Juan and Café Demeter. You’ll find a plethora of freshly-baked sweet treats. Another stop worthy of note is Market Chef. Though specializing in lunch fare, these guys make scrumptious brownies and cookies!
10. Land-Based Whale Watching at Lime Kiln
Built in 1914, the Lime Kiln Lighthouse rests on the bluffs overlooking Haro Strait. This quaint outcropping of rocks is arguably the best land-based whale watching location in the Pacific Northwest. To check out the latest whale activity, follow the walking path to the Lime Kiln Lighthouse where current whale reports are posted. Make sure to visit the historic lime kiln adjacent to the park which operated from 1860 – 1920.
11. Explore the Local Beaches
While visiting the Lime Kiln Lighthouse mentioned above, you might also check out Lime Kiln State Park. If you make your way down to the water, the beach is scattered with tide pools. American Camp is another favorite for beach time. More driftwood than tide pools, this is also a great place for bike riding and seeing large families of seals.
More Fun San Juan Island Things to Do
If you’re San Juan bound, don’t miss your chance to snap a selfie by these epic lookouts, historic sites, and cute creatures!
Can’t you just imagine Rory and Lorelai relishing the quaint island getaway the is Friday Harbor? The Gilmore Girls would indeed nibbling (or gobbling) their way through it.
With the sun on your face and two wheels at your command, San Juan Island is yours to explore – as fast or as slow as one of Susie’s Mopeds will take you