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5 of the Most Beautiful San Juan Island Beaches

shoreline with still water and low clouds in the distance

Our Favorite San Juan Island Beaches

One of the best things about the Pacific Northwest and the San Juan Islands is the remarkable shoreline. San Juan Island beaches offer foggy morning scenes, pebbly stretches, and awe-inspiring nature. From picturesque driftwood to panoramic views of Puget Sound and Haro Straight, these San Juan Island beaches abound in beauty. Whale watch from the shore or bird watch from seaside cliffs as you explore these San Juan Island beaches during your stay with us.

Jackson Beach

Jackson Beach on San Juan Island is the perfect location to spend a lazy afternoon. The sandy stretch, with driftwood romantically strewn across it, is beautiful. There are plenty of nooks along Jackson Beach for a romantic hideaway; lay on the sand and soak in the sun. Beachcombing opportunities also abound. Jackson Beach is close to town — just 2 miles from the ferry landing. Available amenities include beach volleyball courts, restrooms, parking, and a free boat launch. You can also pack a lunch and eat at one of the picnic sites equipped with fire rings and barbecue grills. Explore this favorite of San Juan Island beaches from dawn to dusk.

South Beach

South Beach on San Juan Island is located inside American Camp – San Juan Island National Historic Park. South Beach is a wonderful spot for walking along the shore with your dog or human companions. When selecting from other San Juan Island beaches, this pebble beach is a prime choice. Not only are there great driftwood logs for sitting but also fire pits for evening s’mores. Watch the sun sink into the water as you roast some marshmallows with your vacation companions. Only a 7-minute drive from Friday Harbor, South Beach offers a great location overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Haro Strait. You might spot a whale tail, and you will certainly enjoy the gorgeous views of the Olympic Mountains.

4th of July Beach

Picnics are a favorite activity on San Juan Island beaches, and 4th of July Beach offers a quiet haven away from the hustle and bustle of some of our busier sandy stretches. You can park your car and then hike along a short forested trail before reaching the beach clearing. Walk far enough down the shoreline and you’ll reach Jakle’s Lagoon. Swimming isn’t advised here because of strong currents, but history awaits. This area is the site of the original San Juan Village. For this reason, if you see any archaeological features, you must leave them undisturbed.

Eagle Cove

This sheltered cove is a favorite of the San Juan Island beaches among local families. Eagle Cove is located on the southwestern side of the island near American Camp – San Juan Island National Historic Park and is ideal for water sports. Due to the shallow water, the temperature warms making it more hospitable to activities such as swimming than many other island beaches. The water around the island is generally a chilling 47 degrees. Spend a lazy afternoon sunning or skimboarding and don’t forget a picnic lunch.

Granny’s Cove

At American Camp off of Cattle Point Road, Granny’s Cove sits as a hidden gem. Grassy trails toward the sea offer a 5-10 minute hike before reaching the peaceful nook. Bald eagles, foxes, and rabbits are often spotted during this walk across the prairie. The shallow water in this cove warms up quite a bit during the summer months, making it another popular swimming option on warm days.

After Strolling San Juan Island Beaches

The beaches offer lovely scenery and a natural escape. However, the town of Friday Harbor boasts culture, activity, and attractions! Come back to this quaint seaside town after your San Juan Island beaches adventures and settle in at the Tucker House Inn. We provide luxurious accommodations, a friendly atmosphere, and some great meals at our San Juan Island bed and breakfast. We hope to see you soon! For more to do in the area, download our free vacation guide.

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lighthouse at a rocky shorline with evergree trees at back

Recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine

We have been recognized by Travel + Leisure Magazine as the best place to stay when visiting Friday Harbor and San Juan Island.