By the time September rolls around it may be too late to take a summer vacation, but that should be of little concern because Friday Harbor on beautiful San Juan Island, falls within the Olympic Rain Shadow, where sun and warmer weather extend summer all the way in to October.
As one resident of San Juan Island describes it, “In September and October, when the golden fields are harvested, and the rich red bark of the bare Madronas shines against the deep blues of the sea; the stands at the Farmer’s Market bow under the weight of fresh, plump produce. The pace of life on the island noticeably changes, and fall’s long, sunny days are marked by a celebratory mood and joyous harvest festivals.”
Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it? Get your girlfriends together and head to The Earthbox Inn & Spa at Friday Harbor to enjoy the best of the fall season on San Juan Island. The weather is still lovely, the crowds are gone and there’s tons to see and do all over the island. Here’s a rundown of highlights you should be sure to check out.
Explore Friday Harbor
Historic and a mere one square mile in size, Friday Harbor is the very walkable hub of San Juan Island. You and your friends can browse art galleries, bookstores, boutiques and antique shops. For guests that love learning, the Whale Museum, the San Juan Historical Society & Museum and the San Juan Islands Museum of Art (SJIMA) are all close at hand.
When you get hungry, you’ll find lots of good eats in Friday Harbor. There are no chain restaurants or fast food places here – instead it’s unique local eateries that feature local produce, seafood, meats and cheeses on their menus.
Another highlight in Friday Harbor is the statue of Popeye the famous half-blind harbor seal. If you’re lucky, you might even see Popeye herself meandering around the docks and pleading for some fresh fish.
Go for a ride
The Earthbox Inn & Spa has complimentary bikes (and helmets) that guests can use to explore the island. Take your friends on the 5-mile Pear Point Loop around Friday Harbor or follow one of five other routes recommended by the Inn. Or take a drive out to one of the several interesting farms, including a lavender farm and an alpaca farm
Savor the San Juans
The fall harvest season is one of the best times to sample the bounty of the San Juan Islands, and if you visit this fall, you can enjoy events associated with the Savor the San Juans celebration. Take a guided farm tour, enjoy special dining discounts and consider attending one of the concerts, film screenings or other events that are part of the festival.
Have a relaxing day in
If you feel like relaxing, you can have a full day of fun without ever leaving The Earthbox Inn & Spa. Guest rooms are decorated in tones of the earth, sun, sea, and sky to reflect the palette of the San Juan Islands and promote a sense of calm. All rooms are contemporary and stylish yet warm and comfortable with useful amenities like free WiFi, microwaves and coffee makers.
During your low-key day, you and your companions can book a massage at the onsite day spa or go in for a facial or nail treatment. There’s an indoor heated pool (the only one on San Juan Island!), a sauna and a hot tub so you’ll have plenty of places to lounge around and relax.
Wet your whistle
San Juan Vineyards is just a short trip from Friday Harbor and their historic tasting room is open seven days a week. Sample award-winning wines and possibly pick up some winsome wine paraphernalia. The property also features a charming renovated schoolhouse from around 1895: the perfect setting for a lovely picnic.
Watch the whales
Whether you watch from land at Lime Kiln Point State Park, book a boat tour or paddle out to watch whales from a sea kayak, the majesty of these ocean mammals is not to be missed. San Juan Island is one of the best places to watch for orca whales in the entire country, so watching for whales is well worth your efforts.
For more ideas for a fun fall getaway to The Earthbox Inn & Spa on San Juan Island, check out 10 San Juan Island Must-Do’s for First Timers. Already know you want to go? Book your room at EarthboxInn.com then plan your trip and learn more about island highlights at EarthboxInn.com/blog.