Q & A about Pet Friendly Travel to Friday Harbor

Hi I’m Anna Maria De Freitas. I’m the owner of the Harrison House Bed and Breakfast and the Tucker House here in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island. We are one of several pet-friendly lodging establishments here in Washington. I wanted to share with you some of our traveling tips for bringing your four-legged friend to San Juan Island.

Folks always ask us, “Hey I’m arriving via the ferry....what am I going to do with my dog?” Well you have a couple of options: You can relax in your car or if you decide to hang out on the car deck, if you’re coming as a foot passenger, you need to have your dog on a leash or in a carrier at all times. Small dogs that can be kept in a little pet carrier are allowed upstairs on the passenger deck ( where the comfy chairs and tables are ). Service dogs are also allowed on the passenger decks. So you and your furry friend can really enjoy the amazing views as you make the crossing from Anacortes to Friday Harbor, enjoying one of Washington State’s newest scenic by-ways.

Kenmore Air is a small commuter airline departing from either Boeing Field ( Seattle ) or Lake Union ( Seattle ). If you come from Lake Union, you’ll be in a seaplane and landing right in Friday Harbor and docking at the Port of Friday Harbor. You just need to inform them of your pet when you make your reservation. Larger dogs need to be on a leash, and smaller dogs need to be in little carriers.

The Victoria Clipper is also pet friendly and you need to give them a heads-up that you’re bringing a pet and they need to also be in carriers. So, lots of great options to get your dog here to the island. The Victoria Clipper is a higher speed foot passenger ferry ( no cars, bikes, kayaks, etc ) departing from the warf, downtown Seattle. One-way travel time is 3.5 hours. Adults about $40 one way or $80 round trip.

"Demolition"... a 9 Month old mini schnauzer
Demolition is a 9 month old mini schnauzer who loves nothing more then running, leaping, and climbing around Hollenbeck Canyon in Jamul, CA when we go hiking. Photo  courtesy of the Orcas Ohana vacation rental by way of Maureen in California. Thanks!

Once you’re here in Friday Harbor you need to be aware that we do have a leash law so dogs need to be on a leash. Dogs must also be on a leash when visiting American Camp and English Camp. In San Juan County, which is outside of Friday Harbor town limits, they have a control law. So as long as your dog is either in your control or under your control, either by whistle or hand signals, or a leash you are in compliance. So, the town, actually and the island, are quite pet friendly, and you’ll see lots of visitors and locals around the islands with their dogs.

English Camp aka British Camp
Highlights of English Camp include a ranger guided walking tour, historical reenactments, nature programs and orientations, a trail leading up Mount Young, photographic opportunities of Garrison Bay and the historic structures left over from the Royal British Marines occupation during the Pig War, and much more. Image courtesy of Intrepidor..

To exercise your dog we recommend Eddie’s Dog Park, which is off Mullis St., right down town next to Brown Lumber. They have a Big-Dog park and a Little-Dog park there. It’s all fenced-in with lots of doggie toys and balls, so you can have a lot of fun with your dog and meet some local four-legged and two-legged friends while you’re here on San Juan Island. Orcas Island also has a dog park ( details here ).

Mount Young
Mount Young is the highest public access point on San Juan Island, and offers splendid views from the southwest of the Northwest. From the top you can see the Canadian Gulf Islands, Orcas Island, Haro Strait and various mountain views. Photo courtesy of Crystal Seas Kayaking.
American Camp
Historic American Camp on the Southeast and of San Juan Island. Five or so miles from town American Camp has  historical interpretive displays, hiking trails, and access to Grannies Beach. Image courtesy of Intrepidor.

Other great things to do with your dog when you’re here: San Juan Island has some great hiking. I mentioned the two national park sites at American Camp and British Camp, but there’s a couple county parks that are not to be missed as well with some great hiking. Lime Kiln State Park ( also known as Whale Watch Park ), located on the west side of San Juan Island, and then one of my favorites, not-very well traveled, would be Rueben Tart County Park, and that’s on the North-East side of San Juan Island. Rueben Tart has great hiking and walking trails to connect with Roche Harbor.

South Beach
South Beach is a 2 miles long stretch of pebble beach where you can still get a good chunk of beach all to yourself, even in the height of summer.

Folks always ask, “Hey, where can I swim my dog?” A great local swimming hole would be Jackson Beach ( San Juan Island ). There’s volleyball, a boat ramp, and you’ll find a lot of the local folks there with their dogs in the water. So there are plenty of opportunities to have fun and see San Juan Island with your dog.

Sometimes folks say to us, “Hey you know, I want to go whale watching but the whale watching boats do not allow dogs ( unless they are a service dog ), so what do I do with my dog for the three or four hours while I am gone?” Well, have no fear, there’s two or three folks on the island who offer great pet-sitting. One in particular, Animal Inn operated by Michelle Loftus, who runs Animal Inn, is a licensed veterinarian. So your dog will not only be really safe there, but they’ll have a really good time playing with all the other doggie friends there. You can easily put your dog in a day care, and you can go out whale watching, sea kayaking, sightseeing or enjoy some of the things that might not be accessible if you had your dog with you.

We do have several great veterinarians on San Juan Island. So if your dog happens to come and get a briar from hiking, or has some other unfortunate situation; rest assured there is care available. You know because we are so close to Canada (we’re actually 5 nautical miles to Victoria), many of our guests do cross the border. We are often asked, “Well what do I need to bring my dog into Canada?” So it’s actually pretty simple; there’s no quarantine required. All you need to do is have your proof of vaccines, that they’re up-to date ( rabies in particular ). They require the certificate to either be in English or French, that identifies the dog by breed, color, and weight, and it needs to be an original, not a copy. So if you come prepared with these documents you should have no problem crossing the border. Please also note that persons traveling to Canada now require a passport!

As you’re walking around Friday Harbor it will not be unusual for you to pass several doggie watering bowls around... particularly during the hot summer weather. Some of the outdoor cafés, I know Café Demeter, The Bluffs (outside only), The Hungry Clam(outside only), and Backdoor Kitchen, allow you to have your dog when you’re sitting out in the gardens, because those restaurants are accessible without going through the main restaurant with your dog. So you can sit out and have an espresso, and a danish, or some appetizers in the garden with your dog. So, you know when you’re considering your travels to Washington State, consider San Juan Island. This is Anna Maria from the Harrison House and Tucker House and we look forward to having the pleasure of hosting you and your four-legged friends here in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

Photos thanks to Intrepidor, Ned Raggett, Crystal Seas Kayaking.

Our list of pet/dog friendly lodging in the San Juan Islands:

Visitors searching for the following terms will find this article helpful: pet friendly accommodations in Friday Harbor, Friday Harbor dog friendly hotel, dog friendly vacation rentals on San Juan Island and Friday Harbor dog friendly bed and breakfast.

Bow Wow Buss Pet Dog Friendly
Dogs on the Bow Wow Buss on their way to the States Inn and Ranch for a day in doggie paradise. Photo courtesy of States Inn & Ranch
"Orbit" a Shih Poo living in Anacortes
This Shih Poo "Orbit" lives in Anacortes on Fidalgo Island. Image courtesy of Majestic Inn & Spa