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San Juan Island: Your Rainy Day Agenda

Written by Jennifer Furber Published on November 10, 2017.

San Juan Island enjoys, on average,  247 days with sunshine. Friday Harbor has half the rainy days of Seattle. Still, when the rain falls it’s important to know where to go and how to make the best use of your time on island.

lime kiln san juan island
Photo by Susan Taylor

1. Spa Day

Lavendera Day Spa is located about three blocks from the ferry at 285 Spring Street and offers a variety of massage and spa treatments. A range of services are offered, including energy work, spiritual guidance and a variety of available retail products for body, mind, heart and spirit. Lavendera Day Spa will restore and replenish you. From short chair massages, to varying time frame massages and even couples massage, Lavendera delivers treatments that range from relaxing to therapeutic.  

2. Lunch at Local’s Favorite Ernie’s

Ernie’s Cafe is located at the Friday Harbor Airport. From just about any table, watch the airplanes land and take off. Known for their Korean BBQ and fresh popovers, Ernie’s is a local favorite. From friendly service to walls covered in Friday Harbor’s flight history, Ernie’s is sure to be a dining experience unlike anything found in the heart of town.

3. Dinner at Coho and a Movie at The Palace Theatre

Dinner is best at Coho Restaurant where it’s locally sourced ingredients are artistically prepared with a Mediterranean flare. Three blocks from the ferry landing, Coho Restaurant’s drink menu highlights local wines and brewmasters. When seated in the intimate Coho Restaurant dining room, it’s a joy to know you’re supporting San Juan Island’s Farm to Table Program. One block from Coho Restaurnat is San Juan Island’s historic Palace Theatre. Originally operated as the Fribor (Friday + Harbor) Theatre in the early 1900s, the Palace shows first-run movies in a two-theatre setting with new, comfortable seats. Known for fresh popcorn sprinkled with optional brewer’s and traditional cinema candy, the Palace is a true historic gem of the islands. The Palace has matinee and evening showtimes.  

4. San Juan Community Theatre

The San Juan Community Theatre (SJCT) is a non-profit community performing arts center located three blocks from the ferry at 100 2nd Street. The Theatre has two performance spaces: a 275-seat Whittier Theatre and a smaller 75-seat Gubelman Theatre. From vaudeville to bluegrass bands, from musicals to Shakespeare productions, the SJCT brings high-quality theatrical ability to our charming town of Friday Harbor. The Box Office is open Tue-Sat, and one hour before each show. There’s nightly shows and weekend matinees with both adult and children’s programming.  

5. A Place to Play, Paradise Lanes

There are two indoor places in Friday Harbor that are sure to make any child’s day. For the younger child, A Place to Play is a children’s museum play place for ages 1 to 10.  With light snacks for children and coffee available for adults, it’s a comfortable place to play indoors. There’s even drop-off care available for children ages 6-10. There’s Legos, a pretend fishing boat, a play kitchen, and so much more for a variety of ages to interact and make new friends.

Paradise Lanes is located between Spring and Argyle at 365 Spring Street with open bowling Monday through Thursday, noon to 6 and weekends all day. Paradise Lanes offers inexpensive extra lanes and shoe rental which leaves extra money for the kid-favorite arcade with air hockey, pinball, driving games, and pool.

6. Whale Museum

The Whale Museum is open daily 10 am to 4 pm and is located at 62 1st Street, three blocks up from the ferry. The two-story historic building has a gift shop on the first floor. There you’ll find a selection of marine stuffed animals perfect for your little guy or girl. Upstairs, there’s an interesting gallery focusing on whales with an introduction to different whale species and the history of local marine mammals. There’s skeletons, specimens, a sea-centered coloring station, and recordings of local pods.  From models to artifacts, this interactive hands-on museum is a great spot to spend an afternoon.   

7. San Juan Island Sculpture Park

If you’re up for bundling in raingear, the San Juan Island Sculpture Park at the entrance to Roche Harbor is worth the wet walk. This art park started as a way to bridge nature and art and to showcase local/regional/national artisans. Art in this space is constantly rotating with over 150 pieces on the pristine 20 acres. Over 40,000 people visit this park annually.  

8. Rainy Island Drive

They say the northwest looks best in cold rain and fog, with lush ferns and saturated evergreens.  There’s so much wildlife along the roads so be sure to look for red fox, deer and eagles.  If you head south from town for 15-minutes along Cattle Point Road, you’ll come to the turnoff for South Beach, in the national historic park America Camp. At the shore end of the road, turn right and park adjacent to the large rock. This is an incredible place to park with high seas, with salt seas often spraying close to windshields when storms and high winds are present.  Too wet to look around? Park closer towards the water. Enjoy the storm views of the Olympic Mountains and The Strait of Juan de Fuca.  

9. San Juan Vineyards Wine Tasting

San Juan Vineyards is open daily from 11 am to 5 pm and is located at 3136 Roche Harbor Road. The quaint tasting room is the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon. Find the tasting room in the circa 1895 Schoolhouse. The 2014 Estate white-Madeleine Angevine received a GOLD Medal at Tri-Cities Wine Festival and Siegerrebe was chosen as Seattle Times’ Top 50 wine in 2015. Many of the wine varieties available for tasting hold the prestigious Seattle Wine Award. With available cheese and meats to pair with the wine, it’s the perfect stop for an afternoon.

10. Islands Art Museum

The San Juan Islands Museum of Art (IMA) showcases art from The Pacific Northwest to Southwest British Columbia with roughly 8 to 10 shows a year. This museum mission is to be the center of art in The Salish Sea. With an emphasis on offering engaging installations, lectures and shows that represent the culture of our northwest coastal communities. Each show gives great exposure to artists. Their work makes a difference and begs the viewer to advocate for our natural environment. The San Juan Islands Museum of Art is five blocks up from the ferry at 540 Spring Street and is open in the winter Friday – Monday, 11 am to 5 pm.

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