There is always a reason to visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Spectacular beauty is on display any time of year – we’re locals, we would know! Because Friday Harbor is our county seat, it is more likely to be bustling during the winter season than our neighboring islands. We know there is power in numbers, so we’ve compiled 10 activities to keep you busy in the “off-season.” Here are 10 great reasons to plan a winter getaway with us. Enjoy!
1. Wine & Beer Tasting
Just outside Friday Harbor is San Juan Vineyards, a family-owned winery that offers Chardonnay, Estate-Grown Siegerrebe, Madeleine Estate-Grown Siegerrebe, Madeleine Angevine, Riesling, “Afterglow“, Merlot, Cabernet-Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mona Vino (the last one is affectionately named after the island’s only resident camel). Tour the winery, participate in tasting, and join their wine club. If beer is more your taste, order a flight at San Juan Island Brewing, just a block from the Inn, and/or Cease and Desist: A Friday Harbor Beer House for some unique Pacific Northwest brews!
2. Museum & Gallery Tours
If you love art and learning, you will stay busy on San Juan Island. Visit the San Juan Island Museum of Art’s Sculpture Garden for a truly unique experience. At the Whale Museum, you will find much more than a static display of whales, it is an organization committed to the preservation of orcas, the stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea environment.
3. Visit the Lavender Shop
Pelindaba Lavender is open year round in down town Friday Harbor. The shop contains essential oils, handcrafted personal products, and much more. All of which make great holiday and special occasion gifts.
4. Enjoy Dinner at Coho Restaurant
Open 11 months a year, this Island Jewel offers fresh-from -the- Island cuisine. Be sure to check out Coho’s website for special dinner events, future cooking classes, and menus!
5. Learning About Local History
A trip to San Juan Islands is not complete without learning about the infamous Pig War, a little known conflict between the USA and Great Britain that started over a pig’s death in 1859 and was not settled until 1872. Visit American Camp and English Camp for an interesting view into the politics of the time. Friday Harbor is steeped with history as well.
6. Cuddle up in Front of a Fire
Whether you are with your sweetheart or a novel you have been longing to read, Friday Harbor ’s windy rainy winter days give you the perfect excuse to turn off the cell phone, shut down the email, and build a cozy fire in your suite at the inn. Lose yourself for hours wrapped in a warm blanket, gazing into the fire, or into that special someone’s eyes.
7. Enjoy Local Music/Plays/Festivals
Friday Harbor residents love music, food and culture. We have two thriving theater companies, and we use any excuse or holiday to have a parade and eat! Check with your innkeeper a couple of weeks before your trip about which plays and festivals will be happening when you are on the island.
There are a number of Holiday happenings during December. See the full list here.
8. Relax in a Hot Tub
Relax those muscles and especially that brain as you ease into island time while soaking in the hot tub. A glass of wine, a fantastic sunset, and the world is yours again.
9. Marine Wildlife Tour
Various kayak tour guiding companies and whale watching boats take out guests year-round! Even in the winter time there is so much to see in the islands. Bundle up for an adventure across the blue you’ll never forget. Don’t forget your camera!
10. Bird Watching
Looking to add that Rhinoceros Auket to your birding life list? Or perhaps you would like to stand on a shore and watch bald eagles dip and turn in the sky above you? San Juan Island is home to many species, from finches to shorebirds. Bring your binoculars!
For even more information on all the great San Juan Island attractions and activities, be sure to download our Free Vacation Guide! We hope this helped you plan out this years winter getaway.
We’ll see you for check-in!