The town of Friday Harbor is the first place you visit when you get off the ferry on San Juan Island. You have to drive, walk, or bike through the town before you can get anyplace else.
The town of Friday Harbor is the only incorporated town on the island. It is also the County Seat of San Juan County, which comprises all the islands between the Haro Strait and the Rosario Strait. Although 7,000 people live on the island full-time, only 2,600 live in Friday Harbor.
But it is a fun and funky town with lots of restaurants, places to stay, and interesting shops. Because of the hills and the crescent-shaped harbor, the streets run in odd directions. Spring Street is the main road. You don’t want to be driving on it in town when the ferry is unloading! Front and First Streets have most of the restaurants.
Because the town of Friday Harbor is fairly small, it is very walkable. Tom and I usually park on one of the streets away from downtown, such as Second Street. Then we walk everywhere we want to go.
There are lots of restaurants. So far we have looked at menus from about half the restaurants. The menus are all posted outside the restaurant so you can look at them without committing to a certain place. Some of them are too expensive for us. All of them feature seafood prominently on the menu (even the pizza places).
A recent visitor to the National Historical Park complained about the limited shopping on the island. We have not found this to be true. In fact, I contend that you can find anything you need on the island – you just have to know where to look. There is an excellent yarn shop, Island Wools, and a couple of book stores. You can get anything electronic at Cecil’s which is also a music store that sells instruments and cameras. The hardware store sells toys, games, and state park annual passes. I needed some high socks and found them at the outdoor outfitter. We also found RV toilet paper and a nice selection of kites at the outdoor outfitter. The drug store has yarn, postcards, jewelry, and my allergy medicine.
Tom and I signed up for a library card at the San Juan County Library. All we had to do was show something addressed to us on the island. There is a community theater, a movie theater, an art museum, and a community center that features opera on Sundays.
I was a little worried about feeling claustrophobic on San Juan Island (only getting on and off by ferry). But there is plenty to do and lots of places to explore in Friday Harbor. We look forward to exploring as we continue to make this island our home.