The San Juan Islands in winter offer plenty of wonderful activities that you can still enjoy both in and out of doors, though you might have to add some extra layers! Decked out in its holiday regalia, the charming Town of Friday Harbor is a sight to behold amongst the surrounding crisp air and wintry wilderness. The slower pace adds a blanket of wonder and romance to the atmosphere, while fir and cedar trees create a picturesque backdrop. Whether the shorter ferry lines or the snowy peaks of the Olympic Mountains draw you in, the San Juan Islands in winter are a sight to behold. Here are 5 of the best reasons to visit the San Juan Islands in winter.
Find out about year-round and seasonal activities near Tucker House Inn when you download our free Vacation Guide. It’s full of the best recommendations for things to see and do while visiting the San Juan Islands in winter.
5 of the Best Reasons to Visit the San Juan Islands in Winter
Shorter Ferry Lines
With fewer crowds throughout the San Juan Islands, you will have easier and faster access to everything. This includes the ferry that travels to and from the surrounding islands and mainland. It also includes the many restaurants on San Juan Island, which are wonderful places to warm up with a hot plate in between outdoor adventures. Attractions, museums, boutiques, and antique stores will also be less crowded, offering you more space to peruse.
If you’re not big on crowds, then the San Juan Islands in winter are the perfect place and time to vacation. The slower pace envelops the island among the cold weather and whistling winter wind. Your boot steps in the fresh powder or along foggy trails are slower than a summer-paced bike ride or kayak trip. And, there are fewer people to interrupt your island adventures and plans. Come January, Friday Harbor becomes an unpopulated haven, with tourists gone for the main season. There is more time to wander and more silence for listening to nature.
Winter Wildlife & Nature
As the chimney smoke rises from residences across the picturesque island scene, eagles, seagulls, and geese soar above. The night sky is filled with sparkling stars, clearer than any other time of year, while a dusting of fog rolls into the valley and hovers like a soft blanket. Stroll the beaches for sea glass or sit on pieces of driftwood and watch the waves roll in and out among the surrounding landscape. Hike the forests, capturing the solitude among evergreen limbs.
Snuggles By the Fireside
Romance thrives on the San Juan Islands in winter, with cold nights pushing couples to the fireside under cozy flannel blankets. Warm up in your Tucker House Inn suite while sipping some local cider and reading a good book. Or, snuggle under the covers with your sweetheart and take a late afternoon nap before going out to dinner. San Juan Island things to do don’t just revolve around an island of sights and sounds but also the experiences you make with the ones you love!
Trivia Night at the Rumor Mill
The cold outdoor weather means more indoor pursuits and activities. A local favorite in Friday Harbor is Trivia Night at the Rumor Mill on Thursday nights. Mingle with locals, while enjoying a few drinks to keep the frost at bay. If you miss Trivia Night, you can also enjoy some great live music and maybe even some karaoke. From gypsy jazz to big band swing, get lost in the sound. The San Juan Islands in winter may be slow on the outside, but the indoors are still full of lively activity!
Cozy Up at Tucker House Inn
Tucker House Inn is a wonderful place to stay during your visit to the San Juan Islands in winter. Enjoy our on-site Coho Restaurant for a delicious dinner after your outdoor adventures. Or, cuddle up in your private room at the end of a long day of adventure. You can also soak in your private hot tub or take a warm bubble bath in your two-person Jacuzzi tub. Don’t forget to indulge in our housemade lavender hot chocolate as well. You will wake up in the morning to a gourmet breakfast before beginning your winter adventures afresh. Book your winter stay!