Family Reunions in Friday Harbor
Hi I’m Scott Hale, Chief Experience Officer at the Island Inn at 123 West located smack in the middle of beautiful Friday Harbor Washington, steps away from arriving seaplanes, ferry boats, and all the fun shops and restaurants around town—and happy to discuss family reunions in the San Juan Islands. The islands make a really spectacular venue for memorable gatherings and our penthouses and guest rooms are quite a comfortable base camp. We have a variety of family reunions around the island, annually, and we’re happy to share some of our expertise and insights.
Today our focus is on Friday Harbor ( on San Juan Island ) however don’t forget about our other islands serviced by the state ferries; Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island. Part of what will make your family reunion experience to the San Juan Islands special will be the way you choose to get here. Washington State Ferries are the most popular transportation option and allow you to either walk or drive on to the vessel with your vehicle ( or bicycle ). Even waiting in the ferry line you can have a pretty fun picnic. Sorta impromptu family gathering opportunities, and on the boat you’ll have photo opportunities galore, and maybe even bump into some whales along the way. The more adventurous can take Kenmore Air. They’ve got seaplanes and wheel planes that depart from Lake Union ( Seattle ) as well as SeaTac Airport respectfully and fly directly into Friday Harbor. The planes are small, only about 6-10 passengers per plane, so you feel like a rock star! West Wind Aviation also does air charters and scenic flights. Once you’re here in Friday Harbor there’s a lot of good ways to get around the island with or without a vehicle. M & W Auto has rental vehicles from two seats up to ten seats. Bringing your bicycles or renting bikes here makes for a great way to get around. Light vehicle traffic and low speed limits make bicycling around San Juan Island a safe and cost effective option. Susie’s Mopeds ( downtown Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor locations ) rents out mopeds and “Scootcoupes” a two person mini car for reasonable rates. Outside of individual transportation options, you can use public transportation. You’ve got San Juan Transit the island bus service and they stop at many of the spots that you’re gonna want to check out, including Lime Kiln and Roche Harbor. Taxis are also available for hire.
Families can have plenty of fun out here, it’s one big playground. Lots of fun activities to enjoy, together or in small groups. There’s a handful of whale watching tour operators on the island, most of them are happy to cater a trip to your group size, so you get that special VIP treatment. Land lovers have plenty to do as well, there’s great hikes around Lime Kiln State Park ( aka Whale Watch Park ), South Beach, Cattle Point, and Roche Harbor. Picnics and BBQs are fun down at Jackson’s Beach, South Beach, Grannies Cove, and Cattle Point. Plenty of families actually split up for day-time adventures, some might go whale watching, others go golfing, the group of youngsters might enjoy zip lines, while the other generation stroll around town, or go the sculpture park, whale museum, lavender farm, or vineyards.
Remember that San Juan Island really does offer something for everybody to enjoy regardless of age or interest. So now that you know how to get here, and what to do once you’re on the island, we need to talk about some food, the most important part. Our penthouses are actually outfitted with complete gourmet kitchen all geared up for your family reunion feasts. King’s Market is right around the corner from us. They offer a great deli, bakery, produce, and grocery products. San Juan’s famous for farmers, so the San Juan Island farmers market is held every Saturday 10am to 1 pm and is the best spot to score great local produce, products, and prepared items like pastas, pastries, and pizzas. And if you’re looking for fresh catch, Friday Harbor Seafood is just down the docks from our inn and has the freshest fish and seafood you’ll find in town. Westcott Bay, just outside of Roche Harbor, is a great place to harvest shell fish in season and if you’re not all excited about preparing a meal every night of your stay, there’s plenty of superb dining spots right in Friday Harbor. The gem outside of town is Duck Soup Inn on Roche Harbor Road. Most of these fun restaurants are really happy to prepare a special menu for your reunion group. So Backdoor Kitchen, the Place, Vinny's, Cask and Schooner next door, Coho, are among the options that are right around the corner from us, in town, and would offer a great meal, and would be a good exclamation point to a fun filled day, or week, or however long you spend out here.
So, there really is a ton of stuff to cover on the island when considering families, and reunions. At the Inn we’re happy to help, available by phone 1-877-512-9262, website 123West.com. The Visitors Bureau is awesome out here, Chamber of Commerce is great. They’ll be happy to guide you to service providers, lodging options, and everything else perfect for your family reunion or group visit to the San Juan Islands. Visitors Bureau website is www.vistisanjuan.com, Chamber’s site is www.sanjuanisland.org and we really hope you find this information handy, and look forward to helping, and or meeting you when you’re on the island.