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Things To Do in San Juan Island, WA with Kids

Things To Do in San Juan Island, WA with Kids

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Planning a trip to the San Juan Islands with kids? Find out some of the best things to do in the San Juan Islands for a weekend getaway. Scroll to plan your own San Juan Islands family vacation!

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One of the perks of living in Seattle is that we have so many gorgeous weekend trip options. As a family with a baby and a preschooler, we love taking small trips around Washington State.

We’ve recently visited Semiahmoo Resort & Spa, Suncadia and Seabrook.

A few weeks ago, we had the opportunity to head up to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Spring has finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest and San Juan Island was simply stunning.

We were impressed with all the fun things to do in San Juan Island with kids!

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Photo of the Washington State Ferry, which is a San Juan Island ferry from Anacortes, WA and is How to get to San Juan Island and Friday Harbor #sanjuanisland #washingtonstate #pnw #fridayharbor #ferry #sanjuanislands

We love any excuse to take a Washington State Ferry! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

We started our trip by driving up to Anacortes, WA on Friday afternoon. Thank goodness for the carpool lanes because we had a 6pm ferry to catch. The ferry ride was about 75 minutes. We managed to grab one of the last tables on the upper deck.

I headed to the cafeteria and got a cup of Ivar’s famous clam chowder and a bag of popcorn. Our 3 year old ate dinner in the car, so he chomped on the popcorn while I enjoyed the chowder.

Then, we still had lots of time to head outside and watch the ferry dock at Lopez Island before continuing on to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

[irp posts=”1819″ name=”Semiahmoo Resort & Spa in Blaine, WA Review”]

Earthbox Inn & Spa: A San Juan Island Hotel in Friday Harbor

Photo of Earthbox Inn & Spa in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, a San Juan Island accommodation, and is one of the San Juan Island hotels in Friday Harbor #sanjuanisland #fridayharbor #pnw #washington #washingtonstate #sanjuanislands

The Earthbox Inn & Spa is just a few blocks from the picturesque Friday Harbor waterfront. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

If you’re wondering where to stay in San Juan Island with kids, I recommend anywhere near the waterfront because you’ll be able to walk or drive right off the ferry.

When we got off the ferry, we drove up 4 blocks and arrived at our hotel.

The Earthbox Inn & Spa was recently renovated. It’s the only San Juan Islands hotel with an indoor pool and a classic retro chic vibe.

All of their rooms have simple designs and calming colors, inspired by the earth, sea, sun and sky so you can kick back and remember you’re on vacation. And as a bonus, they offer hot coffee, tea and apple cider in their lobby.

Photo of the Earthbox Inn & Spa, a San Juan Island hotel in Friday Harbor, WA #fridayharbor #sanjuanisland #pnw #washingtonstate #explorewa

The linens on the bed were so smooth and soft! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Since we had our 3 year old and our 6 month old with us, we split them between the beds. I try not to travel with a crib or pack and play if I can help it. They take up so much room. This was an ideal set-up for our family.

I also loved the bar seating in this San Juan Island hotel in Friday Harbor. We ended up getting take-out for dinner one night and it was great to have this spot to eat. There were plenty of room for the three of us.

There was a great counter top outside the bathroom. That’s where the fridge and microwave were. These were great amenities to heat up leftovers for our hungry kids.

Photo of the Earthbox Inn & Spa, a San Juan Island hotel in Friday Harbor, WA #earthboxinn #fridayharbor #sanjuanisland #explorewa #washingtonstate #pnw

The room was large enough for our family of four without feeling cramped. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

I really enjoyed staying at the Earthbox Inn & Spa. The pool was fabulous! I loved that there was a life jacket available for kids. My son put it on and hopped right in the water. It was the first time one of us didn’t need to hold him. It was glorious!

We brought our 6 month old in his car seat and he took a nap. I spent my time in the hot tub chatting with other guests. Everyone I spoke to seemed impressed with this San Juan Island accommodation.

[irp posts=”1720″ name=”Family Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon with Toddlers”]

Friday Harbor Waterfront

I loved that the Earthbox Inn & Spa was on the edge of the Waterfront district of Friday Harbor in San Juan Island. It made it easy to just walk from the hotel.

We packed the boys in our Uppababy Vista and headed to find breakfast at a San Juan Island restaurant.

Photo of Friday Harbor in San Juan Island, Washington State | things to do in Friday harbor washington

This was the first sign of Spring we had seen in the Pacific Northwest. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

We parked are stroller at the door and snagged the last table at Rocky Bay Cafe. The interior was super colorful and they featured flags on the ceiling. I had a chai tea and the oatmeal and both hit the spot.

They had a great kids menu that featured yogurt and fruit. My son gobbled it up. Our food was really tasty and filling. It’s no wonder they were featured on Food Network.

Photo of the Farmer's Market in Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, WA, which is a fun thing to do in San Juan Island #sanjuanisland #washingtonstate #pnw #explorewa #farmersmarket #fridayharbor

The food at the Farmer’s Market smelled so delicious and we almost wished we hadn’t eaten such a large breakfast. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

After breakfast, we still had about 2 hours until our San Juan Island whale watching tour. We saw that the San Juan Island Farmers Market was going on, so we headed that way.

It was a small market, but they had lots of freshly prepared food and interesting art pieces. Plus there was an on-site massage therapist!

We really wanted to get food but we were so stuffed from breakfast.

Then, we saw a children’s store and thought we’d check it out. Osito’s offers adorable clothing and an assortment of toys. I found a Koosh ball in Seahawks green and blue! My son also found a few wind up tugboats that he “really, really, really” wanted.

I loved that they had a whole display of Green Toys. They are some of our favorite toys!

Walking around the cute waterfront is one of the easiest things to do in Friday Harbor, Washington.

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San Juan Excursions Whale Watching Boat Tour

San Juan Excursions is a fabulous San Juan Island whale watching cruise option for families with small children. They had two sizes of child life vests.

The naturalists instructed to keep my baby in our carrier or in a life vest whenever we went outside on the deck. I kept him in our Tula the whole time and was glad he could nap comfortably.

Photo of Whale Watching on San Juan Island. We think the best time for whale watching in San Juan Islands is spring/summer. #whalewatching #sanjuanisland #fridayharbor #sanjuanislands #whalewatchingcruise #washingtonstate #pnw

Captain Pete invited children to sit in his seat and steer the boat! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Even though I had on a jacket, I was appreciative of the indoor option since it was a chilly day. The cabin is heated and they sold snacks for just $1 each. They also had thick blankets for us to use. 

The naturalists passed out kid-sized binoculars. For kids, they also offered whale-themed children’s books and fun toys on board.

Photo of San Juan Islands whale watching cruise on the San Juan Excursion Boat Trip, which is a fun thing to do in San Juan Island with kids #whalewatching #whalewatchingtour #whalewatchingcruise #washingtonstate #pnw #sanjuanisland #sanjuanislands #fridayharbor

The whale watching trip was superb! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

There were two naturalists on board who walked around explaining what we’d do on the boat trip. They had laminated handouts that featured pictures of the different whales.

We headed up North into Canadian water. There were reports of humpback whales.

Photo of a humpack whale from a San Juan Island whale watching boat trip on the Strait of Juan de Fuca #humpbackwhale #whalewatching #whalewatchingtour #whalewatchingcruise #pnw #washingtonstate #washington

I can’t believe we got to see so much of a humpback whale! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

We ended up seeing several humpback whales and it was thrilling! Our 3 year old was able to spot them. They were diving down into the water to get the fish in a frenzy. Then, they would slowly gobble them up and dive back down.

I got some video so we could watch them while we waited for them to make another appearance.

We also got to see some sea lions, minke whales, and a bald eagle. I enjoyed just looking at the peaceful water and the little islands we passed. I’m so fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Photo of our honorary sea captain on the San Juan Island Excursion Whale Watching Boat Trip, which is our favorite San Juan Island whale watching tour. #sanjuanisland #pnw #washingtonstate #sanjuanislands #whalewatching #whalewatchingtour #whalewatchingcruise #pnw

Our baby made a fantastic sea captain! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The captain invited children to come up and drive the boat. Our preschooler was beyond excited! He chatted a bit with Captain Pete and took great pleasure in steering the boat.

Captain Pete said he was a natural and must have steered other boats. I guess his practice on his uncle’s boat paid off! They even invited our 6 month old to steer. He gripped the wheel tightly and smiled! It was a great way to end the boat ride!

Photo of our San Juan Island Whale Watching tour from Friday Harbor, WA #whalewatching #washingtonstate #pnw #whalewatchingcruise #fridayharbor

My preschooler loved coloring while we headed back to Friday Harbor. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

The San Juan Excursions boat tour ended up being almost 4 hours long. The time really flew by as we were all engaged the whole time. In hindsight, we should have brought lunches on board. But, my son loved his lunch of Cheetos and Doritos (you know, the other food group!)

At the end of the boat tour, they offered everyone on board a rain check for another boat tour because we didn’t see orca whales. The rain check never expires so we will definitely be using it on our next trip!

If you’re looking for fun things to do in San Juan Islands, going on a whale watching tour should top your list!

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San Juan Islands Sculpture Park

Photo of San Juan Island Sculpture Garden, which is a fun thing to do in San Juan Island with kids #sanjuanisland #rocheharbor #fridayharbor #pnw #sculpturepark #washingtonstate #explorewa

This was the first sculpture we saw as we entered the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

My husband and I came to San Juan Islands almost 8 years ago. It was our first trip together and it was with 20 of his relatives for a full week. I was completely overwhelmed and it was a crazy trip.

However, we were able to steal away to explore the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. This was one of my favorite memories and I was excited to come back with our kids.

Photo of San Juan Islands Sculpture Park near Roche Harbor, Washington State in the Pacific Northwest #sanjuanisland #rocheharbor #fridayharbor #pnw #sculpturepark #washingtonstate #explorewa

We love art exhibits that encourage the audience to participate! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Our 3 year old immediately started exploring the park. He had a lot of questions about the different sculptures. He also wanted to play. We found a rocking horse with a plaque that encouraged kids to hop on.

Our son enjoyed the vintage rocking horse for a bit before spotting other sculptures. It’s one of the coolest things to do on San Juan Island with kids!

Photo of San Juan Island Sculpture Park, which is a fun thing to do in San Juan Island for families #sanjuanisland #rocheharbor #fridayharbor #pnw #sculpturepark #washingtonstate #explorewa

There were so many places for kids to explore at San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Thankfully, my son wore his boots so we were able to explore almost every inch of the park. He wanted to get closer to the water. We compromised by walking near the water so he could toss a few rocks.

It was great to get fresh air and spend some time in one place.

Photo of San Juan Islands Sculpture Park near Roche Harbor, Washington State #sanjuanisland #rocheharbor #fridayharbor #pnw #sculpturepark #washingtonstate #explorewa

It was so cool to leave a lasting mark (in a good way!) at the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

There was an exhibit where visitors could carve something into wood. My husband carved our initials and the Chinese character for our last name. This was a unique activity to do. It was fun to leave our mark.

We ended up spending about 90 minutes walking around the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island, WA

Photo of Lime Kiln State Park, which is a fun thing to do in San Juan Island, WA #sanjuanisland #washingtonstate #pnw #explorewa #lighthouse

The water view from Lime Kiln Point State Park is the best in the Northwest! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Our next stop on our little trip around San Juan Island was to Lime Kiln Point State Park. Our son really wanted to see a lighthouse. As it happens, I had just purchased our Discovery Pass the week prior so we could park for free.

The parking lot is a short walk from the trail that leads to the lighthouse. I put our baby in our trusted Tula baby carrier and we started our walk to the lighthouse. Unfortunately, it was closed when we were there.

Photo of Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island, WA #sanjuanisland #washingtonstate #sanjuanislands #pnw

Tossing rocks into water never seems to get old. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Thankfully, that didn’t phase our oldest son. He found handfuls of rocks and was content tossing them into the Salish Sea.

We were really careful to hang onto him because it was a long way down to the water. There are lots of gravel paths around there that can get slippery.

Kevin Roth’s Roadside Attraction: Quirky Thing To Do in San Juan Island

Photo of Kevin Roth artwork, which is a quirky thing to do in San Juan Island, WA near Friday Harbor, WA #artwork #sculpture #sanjuanisland #sanjuanislands #washingtonstate #kevinroth #pnw #explorewa

Local artist Kevin Roth has an amazing roadside display of his art, including Fish House. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

One of my favorite stops on our drive around San Juan Island, WA was on West Side Rd. We met two women who were hanging out and seemed like they knew what was going on.

They informed me that local San Juan Island artist Kevin Roth repurposes trash and turns them into whimsical art pieces. Most importantly, he’s passionate about involving kids in art.

Photo of Kevin Roth artwork, which is a quirky thing to do in San Juan Island, WA near Friday Harbor, WA #artwork #sculpture #sanjuanisland #sanjuanislands #washingtonstate #kevinroth #pnw #explorewa

Strawberry House by Kevin Roth. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

My preschooler and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the houses. They had heaters inside and patrons had left notes and gifts inside. Additionally, there were also free books available. My son got a kick out of being able to go inside and explore.

It’s really such a quirky thing to do in San Juan Island, WA.

Photo of Kevin Roth artwork, which is a quirky thing to do in San Juan Island, WA near Friday Harbor, WA #artwork #sculpture #sanjuanisland #sanjuanislands #washingtonstate #kevinroth #pnw #explorewa

Kevin Roth’s Pineapple Clubhouse. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

I’m drawn to anything pineapple, so Kevin Roth’s Pineapple Clubhouse is what first caught my eye as we drove down the road. There was a nod to Spongebob Squarepants inside.

Mostly, it was just a special place to spend a few moments with my son exploring art.

Horshu Ranch: San Juan Island Family Fun

Photo of Horshu Ranch in San Juan Island, WA near Friday Harbor, WA #horshuranch #goats #farm #sanjuanisland #fridayharbor #washingtonstate #pnw

I’m not sure who enjoyed the goats more, my son or my husband. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

We still had a bit of time before our ferry home. We noticed Horshu Ranch on our map of San Juan Island. Amazingly, it was just a short drive away so we headed over.

We were hoping to do a pony ride, however we learned that they were only offered on Saturday mornings or by appointment. That’s what we get for not calling ahead.

There’s a shuttle people can take from the ferry if they come over just for the day.

Photo of Horshu Ranch in San Juan Island, WA near Friday Harbor, WA #horshuranch #chickens #farm #sanjuanisland #fridayharbor #washingtonstate #pnw

The staff at Horshu Ranch were so sweet to give us a private tour to meet the animals! Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Thankfully, we still had a great experience at Horshu Ranch! One of the staff members introduced us to Mango and Woody, two heavy-set goats. We also met baby ducks and chickens.

We definitely will make it a stop on our next trip and schedule a horse ride through the woods.

Sunken Park

Our last stop on San Juan Island was the ferry terminal. We got there a bit early for our departure, so we were sent to Lot B. This was a few blocks from the terminal. This was actually a blessing because it gave us the opportunity to play at Sunken Park.

Photo of Sunken Park in Friday Harbor, WA on San Juan Island #sanjuanisland #fridayharbor #washingtonstate #explorewa #visitwa

Sunken Park is located by Lot B near the ferry terminal in Friday Harbor. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

Not only were there swings, but they had a small play structure with a telescope. I told my son to keep watch for the ferry!

There was also a basketball court, lots of picnic tables a barbecue, and a drinking fountain. The small gazebo was a great place for some shade.

This was a perfect place to get some wiggles out before the long trip home.

We received a hosted and discounted stay at Earthbox Inn & Spa and 3 hosted tickets on San Juan Excursions. All opinions are my own.

Other Pacific Northwest Weekend Getaways

Family Travel Guide to Portland, Oregon with Toddlers
4 Day Itinerary for Vancouver, BC with Kids
Downtown Victoria, BC Romantic Weekend Getaway from Seattle
Semiahmoo Resort & Spa in Blaine, WA Review
Weekend in Suncadia

Weekend Getaway with Kids on San Juan Island

Exploring San Juan Island in Washington State with kids for your next Pacific Northwest weekend getaway #sanjuanisland #pnw #pacificnorthwest #washingtonstate #washington #explorewa #northwestisbest

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Top Things to do in Mount Rainier with Kids | Marcie in Mommyland

Monday 21st of October 2019

[…] think about local family vacation spots, I’m usually thinking about Semiahmoo, Vancouver, the San Juan Islands, the Oregon Coast, or Whidbey […]

Nelofar Shaik

Monday 26th of August 2019

Seattle is a great place to travel with all these wonderful extraordinary sightseeing places. Thanks.

marciecheung

Wednesday 28th of August 2019

Yes, we have so many fun local trips!

hanna

Friday 2nd of June 2017

well this looks like an absolutely amazing little trip! i just love the ocean and the way it smells, and the way the wind feels on your face don't you?!

marciecheung

Friday 2nd of June 2017

Yes, I do!

Carrie

Friday 2nd of June 2017

Looks like an amazing time.

marciecheung

Friday 2nd of June 2017

It was fabulous!

Sharon Chen

Friday 2nd of June 2017

The hotel room looks so spacious! I bet you had so much fun on your vacation :)

marciecheung

Friday 2nd of June 2017

It was quite spacious and clean!

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