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5 things to do in Friday Harbor, WA

Located on San Juan Island between Seattle, Victoria and Vancouver, in the heart of the Salish Sea, Friday Harbor is a small island community comprising one square mile. It’s the perfect weekend or overnight getaway. Arrive by private boat, ferry, plane, or even via whale watching cruise. Once you’re there, you will find accommodation and restaurant options, as well as activities like hiking, kayaking, sailing, and cycling. With the Washington State Ferry right there at the harbor, it’s also a gateway to exploring other islands like Orcas or Lopez on day trips. Friday Harbor Besides shopping and museum strolling, Friday Harbor offers seasonal festivities. The upcoming Savor the San Juans runs throughout October, and includes farm to table tastings, a wine harvest festival, farm tours, and a chili cook-off. While the warmer months are an ideal time to visit, you will still find a slow paced respite from a busy world at Friday Harbor year round. Here are five suggestions on where to stay, what to do, and where to eat in Friday Harbor. The Island Inn at 123 West Just a short walk across the street from the harbor, the Island Inn at 123 West is a convenient, eco friendly, modern, independent hotel with gorgeous views and hip decor. Luxurious bedding, green bath amenities, and complimentary snacks like home made granola, fruit, juice, milk as well as coffee and tea are in each room. There is a grocery store as well as delis within a couple of blocks, so you can prepare and enjoy food in your room. “Sweets” (aka suites) have microwaves and mini fridges while Penthouses offer full kitchens. This is a perfect hotel for large families. Island Inn 123 Those who appreciate design will find a lot to love here. Attention to detail and fun use of color and graphics offer little surprises around every corner. Drinking glasses that say “half full,” signs reminding you to slow down, round portal-like windows and stainless steel accents add to the individuality of this property. You can see the loving attention to detail, and it’s fun to stay at the Island Inn. San Juan Cruises Whale Watching Departing from the Alaska Ferry Terminal in Bellingham, San Juan Cruises offers whale watching cruises to Friday Harbor and back. You are free to hop off and explore, or spend a night or two, then take San Juan Cruises back to Bellingham. It’s an uncrowded, no muss-no fuss, relaxed experience. san juan cruises The atmosphere on the boat is casual with a friendly crew who are happy to answer questions. You can sit inside at a table, or comfortably on deck. The captain teaches you about whales and landmarks you see along the way. A buffet lunch of salmon, chicken, biscuits, cole slaw and brownies is included on the outbound trip to Friday Harbor. They see whales on 90% of their cruises, but if you don’t get to see them on your cruise, you are invited back at half price. Susie’s Mopeds Friday Harbor is entirely walkable, but if you would like to explore other areas on San Juan Island, Susie’s Mopeds has bright red Scoot Coups and Mopeds that will get you completely around the island. For instance, you can visit the Lavender Farm, Roche Harbor, and the Lighthouse. If you tell the folks at Susie’s Mopeds what your interests are, they will help you map out a customized route tailored to your needs and what you want to see and do. There are baskets on the mopeds and storage in the Scoot Coups, so it’s easy to pack a picnic lunch. susiesmopeds Whale Museum The Whale Museum is a great place to take children, particularly after a whale watching cruise. There is a special emphasis on J, K, and L pods which are local residents of the Salish Sea. You may have actually seen some of these whales on your trip to the island. whale museum It’s a hands-on experience with interactive exhibits including skeletons and Native American artwork depicting Orcas and their close connection to humanity. There is a tiny little viewing area to watch videos and numerous ways to learn about the majestic creatures that inhabit the area. They have a gift shop with educational sea life toys and items for adults as well. You can even “adopt” an orca. The Market Chef For fresh local food, check out The Market Chef, just up the street from the ferry. It’s small and gets crowded, but it’s cozy and the food is great. Deli goods, organic coffee, delicious Key Lime Cookies, Crab Cakes, and a variety of creative sandwiches like Smoked Cheddar and Apple are to be savored in a bustling cafe atmosphere with fresh flowers on the tables, or alfresco at cheery bright red tables. This is a good place to procure picnic food and drinks to take on your island adventure. marketchef Leah DeAngelis is Editor of Best Travel Gear. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

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