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Friday Harbor is the main city on San Juan Island, the most populous of the San Juan Islands. It is also the county seat of San Juan County. Friday Harbor is quite commercially developed, considering its remoteness, and offers more of a laid-back, country club vibe than one of a fishing community.

Friday Harbor

Get in[edit]

By boat[edit]

By ferry[edit]

  • 1 Washington State Ferries, Main Ferry Terminal at 91 Front St, +1 206-464-6400, toll-free: +1-888-808-7977. Allows vehicles, bikes, and walk-on passengers. Ferries travel from Anacortes, Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and Shaw Island. Seasonal service from Sidney, British Columbia. It's recommended that you make a reservation. Public transportation options between the ferry terminal and downtown Anacortes and the Amtrak Station in Mount Vernon are available through the Skagit Transit bus system. Connections to downtown Seattle and SeaTac airport are available through the Bellair Airporter shuttle. Service to Sidney has been suspended since the Covid-19 pandemic and the operator has announced that service to Sidney is suspended until at least 2030 due to the lack of available ferries and crew. Round-trip ferry ticket costs $12.95 for adults, $45.00 for standard vehicles, current fares listed on WSDOT. Washington State Ferries (Q3500373) on Wikidata Washington State Ferries on Wikipedia
  • 2 Victoria Clipper Ferry, Spring Street Pier at 81 Front St, toll-free: +1-800-888-2535. The ferry runs during the summer months (Seattle & San Juan). It leaves from Seattle's pier 69, near the Sculpture Park, at 7:45AM, and gets into Friday Harbor at 11:15AM. They recommend checking in in Seattle one hour early. The ferry leaves Friday harbor at 4:30PM and gets back to Seattle at 7:15PM. The ferry is comfortable and offers very scenic views. It is a convenient way for the car-less to get to the San Juans from Seattle. $80-145 return.

By private boat[edit]

  • If you have access to a boat, guest moorage is available in the marina. Friday Harbor is an official U.S. ports-of-entry and can process boaters through customs. The Cardinal Rule is touch land at customs dock before any other stops, fines for not doing so can be up to $5000. Besides a passport for everyone on board, you will need your boat's license number and User Fee Decal number.

Customs enforces USDA guidelines for what foods are acceptable to bring into the country and these guidelines are constantly changing so it is best to check in with them before arriving. Boaters are responsible for knowing the prohibited foods and can be fined for not declaring them.

By sea plane[edit]

Sea Plane leaving Friday Harbor

By plane[edit]

Friday Harbor has a well-equipped though modest airport. Kenmore Air serves Seattle Boeing Field airport directly (35 minute flight). It is a US Customs Port of Entry, so it can be your first stop from Canada by personal aircraft.

By bus[edit]

  • Island Airporter, +1 360 378-7438. Departs Sea-Tac International Airport M-Sa at noon. Island Airport runs one trip each day to/from Sea-Tac Airport to two locations on the San Juan Islands including Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor. Ferry boarding is guaranteed and the trip is scheduled to take 3 hr 45 min. $49.99 + $6.55 ferry pass.

Get around[edit]

Everything is within walking distance from the harbor and there are plenty of places to eat and things to do for those arriving by ferry to spend a day or two.

By bus[edit]

  • San Juan Transit, (office) Canary Landing at 10 Front St, +1 360 378-8887. San Juan Transit is a bus service that covers almost all of the points of interest on San Juan Island and drivers can stop almost anywhere along the route. There is about a departure every hour from Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor. Some buses meet the ferries and will wait if a ferry is coming in; however check the schedules ahead of time. Friendly island service and a great way to get around the island without a car. They also offer chartered services for group travel and guided tours around the island for groups of 15-26 people. $5 ea boarding, $10 RT, $15 day pass.


  • 1 Friday Harbor Laboratories, 620 University Rd, +1 360 378-2165. Friday Harbor houses one of the oldest and most famous marine research institutions, Friday Harbor Laboratories (or Labs, as it better known to locals). Situated inside University of Washington Biological Reserve (2.5 miles north of Friday Harbor), you will see island raccoons, Tree frogs, Banana slugs, Columbian black-tailed deer, Norway rat, White-footed mouse etc. University of Washington Friday Harbor Laboratories (Q2696688) on Wikidata Friday Harbor Laboratories on Wikipedia
    • The laboratories are located on a 476-acre biological preserve which is open to the public for day-use. Public visitors are asked to check in at the Office before exploring the Preserve and to stay on the well-traveled, wide, fire-access road (the “fire trail”). The shore trail splits from the fire trail and goes along the coastline.
  • 2 The Whale Museum, 62 1st St, +1-800-946-7227 ext 30. Memorial Day-early Octː daily, 9AM-6PM. Rest of yearː daily, 10AM-4PM. Adults $9, Seniors $6, Youth/Students $4, Kids under 5, Free. The Whale Museum (Q18156874) on Wikidata The Whale Museum on Wikipedia
  • 3 San Juan Islands Museum of Art, 540 Spring St, +1 360 370-5050. $10, children 18 and younger free. Mondays are "pay what you can".


Orca whale spotted near Friday Harbor
  • Kayaking — There are several kayaking tour organizers in the town. Typically costs $85 for one day trips up to $150 per day for camping tours.
  • Washington State Ferries — Watch the majestic Washington state ferries sweeping in and out of Friday Harbor. Produces no waves even at 25 knots speed!
  • Sea-Planes — Watch the take-off and landing of seaplanes (Kenmore Air)from the south edge of harbor.
  • Whale watching — West coast of the island is famous for whale watching. You can get all relevant information in couple of tourist centers.
  • Orca Whale Watching & Wildlife, 2 Spring Street landing (steps from the ferry), toll-free: +1-800-450-6858, . 8AM to 8PM. Orca whale watching plus see porpoise, dolphins, eagles, rafts of sea birds and the coastlines of the San Juans. $49 and up.
  • Popeye, Port of Friday Harbor. Popeye the harbor seal has been coming into Friday Harbor since 1995. Walk out on the pier past the sea plane reservations and the dumpsters for the moored ships, and head down the ramp. There will be a seafood shop on your left.
  • Birding.


  • 1 Friday Harbor Marketplace, 515 Market St, +1 360 378-3238. M-Sa 8AM-6PM.
  • 2 Funk and Junk Antiques, 85 Nichols Street (2 blocks up from ferry), +1 360 378-2638. Daily 11AM-5:30PM. Friday Harbor's oldest antique store, with eclectic assortment. Fine antiques to funk.


  • CoHo (gourmet dining), nichols St (on Spring St, turn left at gas station). Serves Island-grown Pacific cuisine with an international flair. Coho’s team of talented chefs have created an exciting menu developed around the seasonality of fresh ingredients from the surrounding Islands with menu ideas drawn from the owner’s European heritage and her Cookbook, La Cucina Anna Maria: Good Life Recipes from San Juan Island. Each night they showcase simple and artful fare that allows the flavors of the individual ingredients to resonate on the palate.
  • Vic's Drive In, 25 2nd St. since 1958! Basic burger joint, good food at good prices.
  • Roy's Drive-Thru, 25 Nichols St, +1 360 378-8822. 6:30AM-5:30PM. Roy's milkshakes are particularly popular.
  • The Hungry Clam, 205 'A' St (Just up from the parking lot for the ferry at A St & 1st St.), +1 360 378-3474. Greasy but good. Delicious fish and chips, and the few taps they have are interesting. $9.99 for two-piece fish and chips.
  • Spring Street Deli, 135 Spring St, +1 360 378-5959. Hot and cold sandwiches and wraps, freshly made to order. Good selection of beer available across the hall at the Spring Street General Market.
  • [dead link] Haley's.


  • Herb's Tavern, 80 1st St, +1 360 378-7076. Dive bar with greasy burgers and beer. Karaoke night is at Wednesday and stories that Free Willy II was filmed at least in part in the tavern. $11-30.


Go next[edit]

This city travel guide to Friday Harbor is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.