Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

26th February 2024

Each year, thousands of boaters visit The Port of Friday Harbor to enjoy the amenities of one of Washington’s largest marinas and experience all that the surrounding community has to offer. Year-round the marina attracts boaters from all over the West Coast and during the summer the area is bustling with activity.

Located on the east side of San Juan Island, Friday Harbor is the largest town on the island and is the commercial and boating center for the San Juan Archipelago. Here visitors find a colorful harbor with plenty of amenities and spectacular views of the nearby islands as well as snowcapped Mount Baker and the Cascade Range. There is plenty to do and see in Friday Harbor.

The town possesses a village feel, suitable for walking. Besides charm, scenery, and an unhurried pace, three things attract visitors to Friday Harbor: art, whales, and the local food.

On the marina’s Breakwater B (BWB) arriving boaters will find a U.S Customs kiosk, with a telephone to call the local U.S. Customs office and a document reader. Moorage is available in the designated customs area on the east side of the breakwater. During the summer, the kiosk is often staffed. The regional U.S. Customs office is in town.

Prior to entering the marina, visiting boaters are asked to hail the “Port of Friday Harbor” on VHF channel 66A – at 1-watt power so not to broadcast through the surrounding islands – for a slip assignment. Reservations are suggested from May through September.

Fresh seafood is available in the marina at the bottom of the M-dock ramp, which is the home to Friday Harbor Seafood. The floating shop is well stocked with live and cooked crabs, prawns, salmon, smoked scallops, and tuna.

Spring Street is Friday Harbor’s main street. The town spreads out several blocks in either direction, so you’ll want to take some time to stroll. Shopaholics will love the boutiques, galleries featuring local artists and native art, gift shops, specialty stores, wine shops and tastings, coffee shops and ice cream parlors spread throughout this charming seaside community.

For provisions Kings Market offers about everything a boater might need, including excellent fresh vegetables and meats and a broad selection of liquor, wine, and cheese. Upstairs is King’s Marine with clothing, fishing equipment, boat parts, books and charts, or any last-minute accessories.

On Saturdays, don’t miss the San Juan Island Farmers Market offering fresh local ingredients, meet the farmers, eat delicious baked goods and other foods cooked onsite, and enjoy the music of local musicians.

Visit The Whale Museum to catch up on what’s happening with the local resident orcas and learn all about whales, from environment to anatomy, vocalizations, and conservation. The museum is considered one of the finest of its kind in the world.

Stroll up Spring Street to visit the San Juan Islands Museum Of Art, a visual arts museum showcasing artist exhibitions from the Pacific Northwest and southwest Canada to support the growth of the local art community.

On the grounds of the former 445-acre James King farm, the San Juan Historical Museum  consists of eight buildings, four from the original farm: the 1894 farmhouse, carriage house, root cellar and milk house. The original San Juan County Jail, a barn, a log cabin, and resource center round out the remaining structures. Walk the grounds for a step back in time.

If you have a desire to get out of town and see some of the island’s attractions, mopeds and scooter coupes are available at Susie’s Mopeds. This is a wonderful way to spend a day visiting the sites of the island – American Camp, Cattle Point, Lime Kiln State Park, English Camp, Roche Harbor, and other island attractions.

Friday Harbor is full of wonderful places to eat. A favorite place for breakfast is Rocky Bay Café. For lunch, suggest the San Juan Bistro with their savory house-made quiches, salads, daily made soups and panni. If you have a desire for pub food, go to Haley’s Sports Bar & Grill.

The Downriggers is an excellent choice for seafood served up with a view of the harbor. The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House with its outdoor setting features a seasonal menu that highlights fare from local waters and farms is another good option.