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Things to do in the San Juan Islands This Winter

Enjoying beautiful winter landscapes like this is one of our favorite things to do in the San Juans this winter

The San Juan Islands are beautiful any time of year, and even in winter, there are even a surprising number of things to do in the San Juans. While summer tends to be a more popular time to visit the islands, when hiking, whale watching, and kayaking are at their peak, there are plenty of perks to visiting during the off-season. Whatever you do, don’t let the weather scare you off! We don’t get snow all that often, and we tend to be a bit drier than much of the rest of the Puget Sound area, as we exist in a rainshadow.

However, even with the worst winter weather, there are plenty of things to do in the San Juans. To make the most of your time here, you’ll want accommodations that are well-located to enjoy the best of it. That’s precisely what you’ll find at our Friday Harbor Hotel, located a short walk away from the San Juan Island ferry terminal.

Beyond our proximity to all of these amazing things to do in the San Juans this winter, our Friday Harbor hotel offers luxurious accommodations, exquisite food for breakfast and dinner (at our Coho Restuarant), and the warm, welcoming hospitality you crave. We also offer guests full concierge service for the duration of their stay. Book your room at our Luxury Friday Harbor Hotel today!

Taking a hike in the rain is still one of our favorite things to do in the San Juans in the winter

Top Things to do in the San Juans This Winter

Winter is a special season in the Pacific Northwest and a great time to enjoy the many things to do in the San Juans.  Whether you are coming to relax away from everyday stress or plan to engage in a bit of adventure around the island, you’ll find plenty of things to love throughout the duration of your stay.

Friday Harbor itself is filled with great boutiques, restaurants, coffee shops, and museums, and it’s just a short walk away from our hotel. If you want to get out and soak up some of the natural beauty the San Juan Islands are famous for, you can do that, too. There are plenty of things to do in the San Juans this winter.  Here are a few of our favorites!

  1. Winter isn’t the best season for whale watching, but you can still enjoy whales while in the San Juans!  Visiting the Whale Museum is one of our favorite things to do in the San Juans, especially on a rainy day. It’s a great place to learn about the history of whales in the area and conservation efforts.
  2. Another of our favorite things to do in the San Juans in winter is to visit the San Juan Island Museum of Art, which showcases local artists and a selection of art from artists around the world. You also don’t want to miss the opportunity to browse local art galleries, like Friday Harbor Atelier, Waterworks Gallery, Harbor Song Art Gallery, Friday Harbor Gallery, and Arctic Raven Gallery.
  3. Enjoy a sweet treat at Friday Harbor Chocolates Tasting Room. Their handcrafted chocolates pair perfectly with their delicious selection of port and dessert wines.
  4. Browse the charming boutiques in downtown Friday Harbor. Here, you’ll find a broad range of stores, from bookstores to gift shops filled with locally-made goods.
  5. Kick back with a pint of island-crafted beer at San Juan Island Brewing. It’s always one of our favorite thing to do in the San Juans. All of their beers are made on-site, and they have tasty treats to go along with them.
  6. Kick back and relax with a coffee and a good book. Griffin Bay Bookstore is the perfect spot to hide from the rain, and they have an interior that is both cozy and inviting. The selection of books is excellent, and there’s a coffee shop tucked in the back.
  7. Hiking is still one of the most popular things to do in the San Juans, even in winter! One of our favorites is Jackle’s Lagoon. When you’re done, warm back up in one of our jacuzzi tubs, outdoor hot tubs, or with a cup of hot cocoa in front of a warming fire! Pacific Northwesterners will tell you there’s something special about the forest when it rains – so lace up the boots, put on warm layers, and get outside for a beautiful hike.
  8. It’s the season for indulging, so why not book yourself a spa day?  The Spa at Earthbox is the perfect place to do just that. They offer all the usual spa services, but they also have a Jacuzzi, pool, and sauna that you’re welcome to use before and after your treatment. 

Though there are plenty of great things to do in the San Juans, staying in this cozy guest room at our Friday Harbor Hotel is the best part of any getaway

Stay at the Best Friday Harbor Hotel

Though there are plenty of great things to do in the San Juans this winter, there’s nothing that beats the cozy downtime you’ll enjoy at our luxury Friday Harbor Hotel. Our guest rooms are each luxuriously appointed with comfortable beds and high-end amenities – we’ve tried to think of everything, so you don’t have to! It’s the perfect place to put your feet up at the end of a long and possibly chilly day outside.

When it’s time for meals, you won’t have to think very hard, either. We’ll bring you a delicious hot breakfast each morning to your room. Everything here is made from scratch and always features seasonal and local ingredients.  But our food service goes well beyond breakfast!  We also serve yummy cookies in the afternoon, and when it comes to dinner, we offer guests the chance to dine at the best restaurant in town.

The Coho Restaurant is an exquisite farm-to-table establishment that focuses on high-quality, seasonal ingredients. To compliment your meal, the restaurant also has an extensive and thoughtfully curated wine list. Beyond offering regular and delicious dinner service, Coho Restaurant also presents special event dinners, often featuring local winemakers and brewmasters, as well as no-stress holiday dinners.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to do in the San Juans this winter, from shopping and hiking to dining out and relaxing in our exquisite hotel.  Whatever you want to do, our concierge will be happy to help you arrange tours, transportation, dining reservations, and more. There are plenty of reasons to visit the San Juans this winter, and staying with us at our Friday Harbor hotel is just the beginning. Book your room today!

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