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Ask any Pacific Northwesterner why we live here, the answer is, the summers. We suffer through 9 months of gray and rain for the 3 glorious months of summer. And boating in the Pacific Northwest is the creme de la creme. You can’t find a better spot for boating than the San Juan Islands.
With all this glorious sunshine the PNW has been getting we decided to take a little weekend trip boating in the San Juan Islands. The San Juan Islands are located north of Seattle and have over 170 different islands and reefs! The popular ones are the islands of San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez. But don’t miss out on the smaller gems like Stuart and Jones islands.
Let’s take a look at our weekend itinerary boating in the San Juan Islands.
Friday: Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor is the “big town” and marina in the San Juan Islands, located on San Juan itself. It’s a perfect paradise for boaters. From the marina, town is steps away, literally. The walkability can’t be beat. Pull into the marina, and you are right downtown Friday Harbor, full of coffee shops, unique local boutiques, restaurants and breweries. On weekends, enjoy the beautiful farmer’s market full of produce, food and local artists, all sourced from the island and surrounding area.
Must stop spots include King’s Market which you might just think is just the local grocery store but, head upstairs for all your boating needs and a great selection of men and women’s clothing. Crow’s Nest Coffee Shoppe is our favorite spot to grab coffee in the mornings. It’s a nice brisk walk from the marina, and their coffee is top notch. Local’s tip, this shop gets busy, you can text in your coffee order to have it ready for you when you arrive. Griffin Bay Bookstore is a cozy spot you could get lost in for hours. For the lavender lovers out there, Pelindaba is a must. Their lavender farm is located on San Juan, which you can also visit, but if you’re staying in town, the retail store is dedicated to all things lavender. For dinner and drinks there are many tasty options, all in walking distance to the marina.
Photos from Friday Harbor
Saturday: Jones Island
The next day we packed up early and headed off to Jones Island. Jones Island is a 188 acre state park with over 25,000 feet of shoreline, 4 miles of trails, 24 campsites, a turn of the century apple orchard and beaches. For those looking for a little adventure, it’s a must! Jones Island is only accessible by personal boat. There is a 128′ dock, as well as mooring buoys. Local’s tip, if you want a spot on the dock, get there early. From the dock you can hike to the other side of the island, find the old apple and pear orchard, beautiful beaches, and hunt for the ruins from the island’s original homestead. Jones Island is the perfect spot for a picnic. And for the adventurous, it’s one of my personal favorite spots to camp. Pick your spot out early to get the ones right on the water.
Photos from Jones Island
Sunday: Roche Harbor
Roche Harbor is on the opposite side of San Juan Island from Friday Harbor, but has a completely different feel. Friday Harbor is very casual, down home, unpretentious and inviting. Roche Harbor is a polished gem with a classic, historic resort feel. Friday Harbor is a crisp cold beer and Roche Harbor is a pristine glass of wine. There is so much history, beautiful old buildings and even the old ruins from the original lime kiln. There are bocce ball courts, beautiful lush gardens, waterfront dining, and high end boutiques. Roche Harbor is small which makes it the perfect spot to explore before heading home.
Photos from Roche Harbor
And then it was time to head back home for the week after a weekend boating in the San Juan Islands. Until next weekend, cheers!