A day on San Juan Island

Last weekend we packed up the kids and took a day trip over to San Juan Island. AJ and I couldn’t remember if we’d ever been to San Juan Island, and if we had we were too young to remember. The island is only about 2 1/2 hours away and a great place to spend the day with the family. We did however run into a little hiccup, but we will get into that later and assure that doesn’t happen to you.

Getting to San Juan Island

San Juan Island is only accessible by boat or plane. A seaplane is an awesome way to get there, but since it wasn’t a reasonable option for us we hopped on the ferry. If you’re taking the ferry, you will depart from Anacortes and take the hour ride to the island. This is how most people will get there and you’ll want to make sure you have reservations. I made reservations to get over to the island but wasn’t able to make reservations to get back because they were already filled. I assumed it wouldn’t be too big of a deal though and took the risk anyway. Don’t make that mistake. Make sure to make reservations to get over and to get home.

My plan was to get in line for the ferry that departs at 3:45 knowing full well that we would miss that ferry. We would leave the car in the line, grab a bite to eat, head back to the line at 6:10 and be on the 6:30 ferry home. This is my plan that failed. We were about 12 cars shy of making it on the 6:30 ferry. That meant the next ferry to Anacortes was at 10pm. To make matters worse, the 10 o’clock ferry is not a direct ferry. It stops at the other islands along the way, turning the hour ride into 2 hours. We didn’t pull into our driveway until 1:15am.

You can make reservations and check the ferry schedule here

If you are traveling to the island for a day or weekend trip and are open to leaving your vehicle behind. You can rent an electric bike, moped, scoot coupe, or chevy tracker from Susie’s Mopeds.

What to do on the Island

Start out at Palindaba Lavender Farm

Wander through the fields taking in the beauty and calming scent. They also have a gift shop where you can pick up soap, lotion, or essential oil among other things. Wander through the gift shop and out back where you can learn about the farm, grab a warm drink, or make a wreath.

Head over to Lime Kiln Point State Park

If the whales are out, this is a great place to see them. We wandered around the park, finding crabs and sea shells before checking out the lighthouse.

Stop by Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm

Krystal Acres is home to more than 50 alpacas! We wandered around the property taking in all of their cuteness. Before you leave make sure you go into the country store and check out the selection of sweaters, toys, and jewelry.

Grab a bite at Westcott  Bay Shellfish

This was my favorite stop on our day adventure. We slung our hands into the ice cold tanks and picked our own oysters. From there, we learned how to shuck them and ate them raw at the table. It was such a neat experience and the laid back atmosphere is perfect for kiddos. My only complaint is that the full menu, including barbecued oysters are only available on weekdays.

Wind-down at San Juan Island Brewing

We parked the car in the ferry line and walked over to San Juan Island Brewing for dinner.  It has a little play area for the kids which is essential when you have a very active toddler! They also have trivia and live music, make sure to check their events page to see what’s going on.

Before you board the ferry pop into Friday Harbor Ice Cream Co.

They have a large selection of ice cream, including some adult only flavors, as well as dipped cones. They are cash only though.


If you head over to the island and visit any of these places or have some you think I should know about, please leave a comment. I would love to hear from you!