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The Best Time to Visit San Juan Islands in 2024

Best Time to Visit the San Juan Islands, photo of a pretty hike on San Juan Island near our Friday Harbor lodging

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is, “When is the best time to visit the San Juan Islands?” and while each season has a special and unique draw, Summer and early Fall are often considered the perfect timeframe for a beautiful and temperate retreat in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is impeccable, with the summer season starting in late June, where temperatures hover in the 70s. 

Even if we do experience hotter-than-usual temperatures, there’s always a refreshing breeze coming off the Salish Sea and shady wooded trails. The travel season to the San Juan Islands typically begins in April and continues through October, with July and August being the peak of the tourist season. So, if you want to avoid the busier times, you can, and you’ll still find plenty to discover in our stunning Northwest paradise! 

Whether you’re coming here to do some whale watching, hiking, or kayaking, or for pure relaxation, surrounded by the peaceful quiet of nature, we have no doubt you’ll fall in love with the San Juan Islands. So when people ask us the question, “When is the best time to visit the San Juan Islands?” our answer is simple: whenever you can get here! When you choose our Friday Harbor lodging as your home base, you’ll have the warmest hospitality, comfortable guest rooms and suites, and excellent dining options awaiting your arrival any time of year. Start planning your getaway to the northwest and book your lodging today! 

Best Time to Visit the San Juan Islands, happy couple hiking

Summer and Fall: Best Time to Visit the San Juan Islands

The main reason summer is the best time to visit the San Juan Islands is the weather! We enjoy twice as much sun and half as much rain as Seattle due to its location within the Olympic rainshadow. The months of June to September are the warmest, with lows of around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and average temperatures in the high 60s to low 70s.

These months are also the driest, with just an inch of rainfall on average, while the wetter months can see over four inches of rainfall. Though true Northwest lovers don’t mind the rain, we just throw on our raincoats, lace up those boots, and head on out.

When is the best time to visit the San Juan Islands? That really depends on what you’re looking for in a vacation, but here are our favorite things to do in the summer: 

  1. Whale Watching in the San Juan Islands: Thankfully, the season for whale watching begins in May and runs through September. Folks often refer to this season as the best time to visit the San Juan Islands for this unforgettable experience. On San Juan Island, you’ll want to add a trip to Lime Kiln State Park, also nicknamed Whale Watch Park, for all of the fantastic sightings here, from the shore and the landmark lighthouse. 
  2. Perfect Hiking Weather: The San Juan Islands are a hiker’s dream! Even on our small island, you’ll find a diverse ecosystem, so no two hikes are the same. From forested trails, rocky shoreline strolls, or walks high on the bluffs, you’ll have your pick of exploring this picturesque landscape in the summer. 
  3. Cycling Excursions: Biking along a 32-mile loop that circumnavigates the island is a bucket list item for anyone who loves exploring on two wheels! In the peak season, we also have bikes available to borrow at our Friday Harbor Lodging property and plenty of storage for those who have their own gear. 
  4. Paddling on the Salish Sea: Summer is also the best time to visit the San Juan Islands for those who love gliding along the water in their kayak. These calm, pristine waters are some of the most beautiful in the world. You really have to witness them firsthand to fully appreciate these surroundings. There’s a great selection of kayak tours available as well. 
  5. Farm Fresh Dining: The restaurants in Friday Harbor share a common goal to support local farms and producers whenever possible. In the summer, you’ll enjoy the bounty of island-grown fruits and vegetables. Just a block from our Friday Harbor lodging property, Coho Restaurant is our sister venture, and it’s the perfect place for a farm-to-fork feast during your stay. 

These are just some of the reasons summer is the best time to visit the San Juan Islands, but we could name so many more that relate to any time of year. If you’re coming to relax, you’ll find that 365 days a year, especially with our Friday Harbor Lodging property as your homebase. 

Best Time to the Visit San Juan Islands, photo of our charming Friday Harbor Lodging property

Elegant Friday Harbor Lodging for your Next Getaway

Although summer is often considered the best time to visit the San Juan Islands, we want you to know that you’ll feel welcome during your stay with us whenever you choose. Our Friday Harbor lodging is an eco-friendly, pet-friendly, and family-friendly retreat located in the charming port city of Friday Harbor. Our inns are conveniently located just a few steps from the ferry and a few minutes away from some of the most popular attractions on San Juan Island.

The Tucker House Inn and Harrison House Suites offer 18 spacious guest rooms in total. In the Tucker House Inn, you’ll find seven charming guest rooms, perfect for intimate romantic getaways and couple’s weekends away. These rooms are delightfully cozy and feature either claw-footed soaking tubs or jetted tubs, with some rooms also featuring fireplaces and balconies. There are more spacious suites and cottage rentals for those with more than two in your party. 

Regardless of when you decide the best time to visit the San Juan Islands and which accommodations you choose, we’ll treat you to our complimentary multi-course gourmet breakfast each morning of your stay. Our breakfast, hot and fresh, is brought directly to your room and is made from the freshest seasonal ingredients possible. We also have fresh baked treats available in the afternoons. We can’t wait to host you; book your room today! 

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