The San Juan Islands have got to be one of my favorite places in Washington.
There are more animals to see than in a zoo (and you know that they’re happy and free… except for the rising sea temperatures, lack of salmon which is killing whales, and plastics in the oceans).
There are gorgeous landscapes and parks, and you’re surrounded by the beautiful ocean and looming fir trees.
Plus, each island is full of hiking, kayaking, biking, and other fun outdoor activities that we all love and that laid back, island vibe. Since San Juan Island is the biggest one, this is what I’ll be writing about today.
Are you planning a trip to San Juan Island? Here’s a sample weekend itinerary with some fun things to do in San Juan Island so you can make the most of your trip!
And if you’ll be exploring Seattle afterwards, check out my detailed Seattle travel guide!
In This Post
Visit the lavender farms
You don’t have to go all the way to France to see lavender farms- San Juan Island has them too at Pelindaba Lavender Farm. There are actually a few things to do on the farm besides just taking pictures of the fields. Plus, visiting is free!
Go whale or dolphin watching
You can do a tour, but even hanging out at Lime Kiln Point State Park, you can see whales for free, and the park tracks whale sightings!
Even when it’s cloudy, I’ve always seen a ton of whales here. On the way to the park, consider stopping by The Whale Museum to learn a bit about their history and role for the natives.
If you do want to go on a tour, you can see more different types of animals (including dolphins!), and they have air, boat, and kayak tours that take you much closer to the whales. I haven’t done the air or boat tours here because I’m broke, but if you have a company you’d recommend, let me know in the comments! For more info on kaysking, keep reading.
Bike around parts of the island
Biking is not my most favorite activity, but biking in San Juan Island is a beautiful way to experience the island. We did a quick route around Jackson Beach, but for more and longer ideas of bike routes based on what you’re interested in seeing (whales, history, art, etc), check out this site. Some routes actually take you through the above!
You can’t tell from this picture, but there were, in fact, whales.
Check out the Farmers Market
Okay, sure, everyone has a farmer’s market nowadays. How is the one on San Juan Island any different?
Every time I go here, I have the best food of my life. I am rewriting this post 3 years later to be more useful, and I still remember eating the best BLT of my life here. I know, you may be thinking, “BLTs are so basic how can you have one worthy enough to be called the best?” Picture thick bacon with fresh juicy tomatoes and perfectly baked sourdough. Yes, it was absolutely the best. Check out the farmer’s market here for a good meal.
Kayak around the island
This is my absolute favorite thing to do in San Juan Island.
The best kayaking experience I’ve had here was when we did our 6 hour tour. While most of the time I am super against tours (they cost more money than doing things on your own, they seem manufactured, and you have to follow their schedules), this one was amazing. The guide was so friendly and knew a ton about the land and animals. He showed us baby seals, bald eagles, starfish, stingy and not stingy jellyfish, edible plants. You learn so much you wouldn’t have on your own (unless you are also a nature expert). We were with a group of six friends, so had the guide to ourselves.
I would recommend doing this exact tour on the last day of your trip and if you’re relatively fit- kayaking for 6 hours in the ocean is no joke!
Purple starfish?! Don’t worry, this guy was trained.
Taste local beers and wines
Like most places in the world, San Juan Island has craft breweries and local wine shops. San Juan Vineyards is a cute, small winery with friendly workers. where you can taste a few of their wines. San Juan Island Brewing Co is more like a bar but they have their own beers and a tasting menu where you can try multiple. Whether you’re a beer person, wine person, or both, it’s the perfect way to relax at the end of your trip!
If you have more time, there is a ton that you can still do on the island- visiting museums, ziplining, hiking, etc. For more ideas of things to do, check out San Juan Islands’ official website!