The San Juan Island Guide
Get away this weekend!
Just a ferry ride away from Anacortes, San Juan Island is the most populated of its namesake group of islands. But despite that fact, the island is still quiet and laid back, a world away from busy city life. It's the perfect place to spend a weekend because you can take so much of it in.
Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm. Get ready to see some cute-ass animals. Apparently alpacas are MUCH more friendly compared to their asshole cousin the llama. This farm is run by a nice woman who personally feeds her flock everyday. If you go during their snack time, approximately 4 p.m., you'll be able to see the alpacas much closer. You can also shop for alpaca wool items in the farm's gift shop.
Tide-pooling at Grandma's Cove. This is the perfect little cove for ogling sea anemones, spotting jellyfish, and spying for elusive otters. You may even see some marine life out in the distance. The pools are a gorgeous blue-green on a clear day, making it a very serene place to spend a few hours.
Kayak Tour. During peak whale-watching season (May–September), get in the action on the water. Most tours are lead by very knowledgable and experienced guides , so you'll learn a lot while you're out. While not every trip sees a whale, there's plenty of marine creatures such as otters and seals to observe. And you'll work up an appetite for dinner!
Duck Soup Inn. This magical little cottage serves Pacific Northwest cuisine alongside the coziest ambiance and service. Eat the Tikka Masala-spiced frites, wild nettle gnocchi, and crispy duck leg confit, and you'll be ready to settle in for a long winter's nap. They also have a neighbor cat named Momo who loves to come in and greet guests at their dining tables.
Market Chef. The perfect place for a fresh lunch. Take items to-go from the deli case (grab a bottle of wine too), or order in and enjoy their sunny dining room.
Rocky Bay Cafe. This is a classic greasy spoon breakfast diner that locals love. Get there early to secure a table. Helpings are very generous. If you're lucky, they'll be serving their ridiculously amazing crab cake eggs benedict as a special.
San Juan Vineyards. While the San Juans might not be a premiere wine-tasting region, this spot is close to Friday Harbor, in the scenic countryside, and is a great place to get a little afternoon buzz. You can have a seat at the bar inside and do an affordable tasting, or grab a bottle to bring back home. Look out for Mona, the famed camel that lives across the road!
San Juan Islands Distillery. Tucked into the woods is the cutest little distillery you'll ever set eyes on. They only do tastings on Saturday afternoons, but you seriously don't want to miss out on it. The distillery offers apple based spirits, liqueurs, three styles of cider, and gins made with foraged San Juan Island botanicals, making them especially unique.
San Juan Island Cheese. Ok, technically this place is all about cheese, but with cheese must come wine or beer! Spend an enjoyable afternoon sampling their lovely cheeseboards paired with a bottle.
Hotel de Haro. Roche Harbor is quite the resort area of the island (Bill Gates parks his yacht here!). But the Hotel de Haro at least has some character, having been around since 1886, It sits right on the harbor and really does look like something out of a movie.
Wayfarer's Rest Hostel. If you're more apt for hostel experience, this property is perfect and within walking distance of the downtown area of Friday Harbor. Stay in the main house or in one of the little shanties in the backyard. There's even one that's made out of an old boat!
Juniper Lane Guest House. Surrounded by a neighboring farm, this crafty inn houses six individual rooms, with some featuring clawfoot tubs, window seats, porches, and original artwork. There are hammocks to chill in on the quiet property and the opportunity to see farm animals and wild animals alike.