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Blue Skies, Crisp Nights & Fall Foliage

Why you should consider a trip to San Juan Island during shoulder season

Witten by Shelley Sharp, Published September 2018

Ahhhh, shoulder season — The time defined by the hospitality industry that bookends summer.  It’s a time when the spring flowers are blooming and the kids go back to school after Labor Day…magical times to spend on San Juan Island and at the Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites.

It’s true that you may find restaurants closed a few nights a week and the daylight hours waning, but you can’t beat the crisp morning sun rises over Friday Harbor and cool evening sunsets from the rocky shores of Lime Kiln State Park. According to Sunset Magazine, “A visit to Washington’s San Juan Islands in fall just might change your life.”

As October approaches, you will want to bring a jacket, perhaps a hat and closed-toe shoes. Layers are the name-of-the-game as you’ll start your day with 50 degree mornings. By afternoon, you may want a t-shirt and shorts, then a sweater to slip on after 6pm. As a guest of the Inn, you may want to relax in one of our outdoor hot tubs before retiring to your cozy suite with gas fireplace.

Fall is the season to slow down. It’s a time to roll out of bed to enjoy your farm-fresh breakfast, before (perhaps) climbing back in. There are dozens of reasons you should consider a Friday Harbor getaway this autumn — Here are just a few you may not have considered (and many are a short walk from your room):

Easy Access Ferry Lines

washington state ferries to san juan If you’ve ever visited during the summer months, you know that your itinerary will probably include a tedious wait in Anacortes. In fact, just securing an online reservation becomes a reason to rejoice. Beginning in fall, your ferry anxiety will lessen, and you won’t find yourself waiting for hours in a hot vehicle. Plus, your rate for passage is greatly reduced.

Inside Activities

If the weather is blustery, Friday Harbor has lots of ways to keep you entertained. In addition to the wonderful museums, galleries, and shops, our little hamlet offers activities that get you closer to the locals. The historic Palace Theatre shows two first-run movies daily; get your Big Lebowski on at Paradise Lanes; and on the weekends, grab a cab for a liquid tour to San Juan Island Distillery, San Juan Vineyards, and San Juan Island Brewing. Literary lover? Griffin Bay Bookstore hosts readings and author events throughout the year; and for theatre-goers, the San Juan Community Theatre showcases its season of plays from September through April. The beautiful facility also offers workshops and holiday events.

coho restaurant fall flavors Fall Feasting

Reserve a table at Coho Restaurant or other island establishments that feature locally-sourced foods from late summer and autumn harvests. Breakfast at the Tucker and Harrison Houses will also delight you with roasted corn, squash varieties, apples and pears, root vegetables and leafy greens. See our blog about the Raccafiore Winery event and Thanksgiving dinners, and stay tuned for upcoming Coho cooking classes.

Walk on a Windy Beach

south beach on san juan island Fall is when the elements will permeate your senses on the island. Pull on a windbreaker and walk along South Beach’s long strip of sand. Charter a sailboat for a daytrip to a neighboring island. Build a fire at Jackson Beach and roast marshmallows. Walk the forest shoreline trail between British Camp and Westcott Bay. Or, gaze in awe at the night sky and Milky Way from your own romantic spot. You might even find that you won’t see another living soul.



Blue skies, golden sunsets, un-crowded roads, and forests accented by the annual color change of leaves – we invite you to find out why a trip to San Juan Island may just change YOUR life. It doesn’t hurt that the San Juan Island Inn Collection’s Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites have lowered our rates and created a selection of seasonal packages to enhance your stay. Check them out here, or give us a call to find out more.


We’ll see you for check-in.

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Recognized by Travel & Leisure Magazine

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

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