Walk-on Weekend in Friday Harbor

Photo Courtesy of San Juan Island Visitors Bureau, Photo by Conran

52 Getaways 2019: Spring

Pack light, leave the car at the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, walk on the Washington State Ferry and disembark in Friday Harbor. You are about to begin your weekend getaway in one of the Northwest’s most inviting waterfront towns.

The ferry route between Anacortes and San Juan Island is part of the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway, and “scenic” doesn’t begin to describe the views of emerald-forested islands, hidden coves and expansive waterways on the 1.5-hour journey. Once you arrive, walk off the ferry directly into Friday Harbor’s strollable downtown. Lodging, dining and everything you’ll need is within walking distance.

Friday Harbor is home to an array of small inns and B&Bs―strictly boutique― no mega hotels allowed. For a luxury experience, book at the Friday Harbor House (fridayharborhouse.com), an acclaimed 24-room inn with an exceptional restaurant that focuses on island fare. For the B&B experience, check in at Tucker House Inn (tuckerhouse.com), which just turned 120 years old, and dine at the owners’ nearby fine-dining restaurant, Coho (cohorestaurant.com).

Friday Harbor is meant for slowing down, unwinding and browsing. The town is home to several fine-art galleries and one-of-a-kind shops. The Whale Museum is the place to go to learn about (you guessed it) whales, and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art is worth a visit.

Get outdoors and explore the island with a bicycle rental; there are several rental outfitters in town, some with electric bikes. Or take to the Salish Sea with a kayak tour or a whale watching tour; guides are available in town.

The Anacortes Ferry Terminal is about 85 miles north of Seattle. Go to wsdot.wa.gov/ferries for the ferry schedule and fares. Check visitsanjuans.com for information about visiting Friday Harbor.