Day Trip to San Juan Islands, Washington: A Photo Diary

We had set our alarms for 3 am to catch the 6 am ferry ride from Anacortes to the San Juan Islands. It was extremely brutal waking up that early since 1) I’m 100%, not a morning person, and 2) I was on staycation. But for an adventure, I will ALWAYS make exceptions. My family came up from Florida for a few days before the end of summer vacation so, of course, I had to take them on a tour of beautiful Washington state. Seriously, this place has endless views that are SO unbelievable you have to jump on a plane and see them for yourself.

So, back to San Juan Islands talk.

It’s about a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal (which I didn’t know until 2 days before, a classic move of mine), then a 1.5-hour ferry ride from Anacortes to Friday Harbor. The ride across the sound is smooth, and the views are beyond breathtaking. And if you are notorious for getting seasick, the sound is generally flat, so you’re just gliding through the water.

Before I forget, make sure you reserve your spot on the ferry if you’re taking your car. I didn’t know this was a thing, so we almost would have been on standby… good thing I googled. Once you make your reservation, at checkout, it will ask for payment but it won’t go through until you check-in at the terminal. Depending on the number of people in your car plus the type of vehicle you have, it’s generally $50-$100. I think I paid around $120 for 3 adults and 2 kids. Be sure to print out your reservation because they need to scan the barcode at the terminal. That’s when you’ll pay your actually total (not the total listed on your reservation). I know, it’s weird. Also, it’s recommended that you arrive at the terminal at least 45-60 minutes before the departure… hence the early wake-up call. If it’s roundtrip, don’t forget to book your reservation for your ferry ride home. It doesn’t give you the option to do that.

Well, there you have it, our first journey to the San Juan Islands! Don’t forget your camera because you’ll be taking A TON of photos. My mom’s two main requests were to go hiking and to have a picnic. So, that’s what we did and more. Alright, here’s a list (in order) of the things we did on the island. I highly recommend taking your car because it’s not easy getting around on foot. And if you are driving, get the Discover Pass! Most of the parks we had gone to require them, and if you’re a local you won’t have to pay the $5 parking fee at any Washington State Park. It’s a win-win either way.

Our itinerary (starting at 7:30am):

  1. Cattle Point Lighthouse
    • Hint: if you’re feeling adventurous, the best way to hike to the lighthouse is to go along the beach, climb the rocks, then climb the hill. I won’t tell you which part of the hill to climb… that’s the best part. Be careful tho, the rocks can be slippery.
  2. Pelindaba Lavender Farm
    • Beyond beautiful. Photos don’t do it justice at all and it’s free to visit. Oh, and make sure you try their lavender ice cream it’s pretty good.
  3. Lime Kiln State Park
    • This is park is notorious for whale watching. I was a bit heartbroken we didn’t see any during our hour stay there, but we had a beautiful view for our lunch picnic.
  4. Krystal Farm (with Alpacas)
    • Umm… alpacas and it’s also free to visit. Need I say more.
  5. San Juan County Park
    • This was not far up from the Lime Kiln park. It’s another great picnic spot and it’s also great for camping. You could probably see whales from here too and beat the crowd.
  6. Friday Harbor
    • It’s where you arrive when you first get on the island. It’s the cutest town to drive through and even better to walk around in. We made this the last thing to tour on our list of San Juan Islands to-dos so we could walk around and get dinner before we got back on the ferry.

Okay, this is actually the end now lol. Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip! I hope you enjoy your adventure to the island and visit some of these beautiful places too. Until next time, stay wild.

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