July 8, 2018

Top Pre-Whale Watch Tour Morning Activities in Friday Harbor

Joining us for an Upcoming Whale Watching Trip?! Yay- So glad to hear it! There is so much to do in Friday Harbor you’ll want to make every moment count the second you get here!  Once you arrive on island feel free to stop by our office and we will get you checked in, as well as provide you with a map of the island- and of course point out some of our favorite spots to check out.  But before you get here read on to find out some of our favorite things to do- in the very walkable town of Friday Harbor- prior to coming out with us on M/V Sea Lion or M/V Kestrel for your whale watching trip.

Coffee at Riptide Cafe 

Upon arriving on island in the morning, you’ll definitely want a cup of morning coffee… Luckily you’ve come to Washington- a state known for their Coffee Enthusiasts.  Come visit us at Riptide Café to have your morning pick me up.  Specializing in hand crafted coffee as wee at Riptideell as homemade baked goods, sandwiches, smoothies, bagels, and so much more, Riptide Café is the perfect place to come to start your morning off right. 

Whale Museum

Friday Harbor’s Whale Museum is a popular stop here on island.  The Whale Museum is open 9am- 6pm daily and is the perfect place to head prior to your whale watching trip.  The Whale Museum opened in 1979 and celebrates being “the first museum in the country devoted to a species living in the wild.”   There are two floors of exhibits including a Gallery of Whales, Sightings Map, Viewing of Springer’s Story, kid activities, and exhibits focused on the whales across the Salish Sea.

General Admission to the museum is $9, $6 for Seniors and $4 for children and students with a valid school ID.

Stretch Your Legs While Walking the Dock

Nothing is more quintessentially Friday Harbor than walking the docks on the waterfront.  While your stretching your legs and getting your step goal in for the day make sure to keep your eyes peeled for Popeye and are other Sea Creatures around the dock.  Popeye herself is local celebrity and has been a Friday Harbor Icon for years.  She is often seen hanging around the docks of Friday Harbor, often times near the Fish Market.  When you see Popeye make sure you give her a respectful distance, but definitely get some photos of this adorable Pinniped Star. Check out Fairweather Park- located just between our office and the Friday Harbor Dock- as there is a Popeye statue you’ll want to check out as well.  This park also offers picnic tables and makes for a nice spot to relax prior to your whale watching trip.

Art Galleries

The town of Friday Harbor boasts many independent Art Galleries.  Each is very unique and different from the others, but all are worth checking out.  From Glass Art and Native Work, to local painters, and ceramic artists there is plenty to check out.  Arctic Raven and Waterworks are two art galleries on island that boast Island and Salish Sea inspired work. Wherever you stop, you’ll be glad you did.

Local Shops

There are many awesome shops to check out while in Friday Harbor.  The town is very pro small business, and you will find no chains on island.  Instead you will find a great mix of locally owned stores providing a plethora of different shopping opportunities.  From souvenirs, jewelry, and treats, to clothes, and locally crafted goods the shopaholics of the world will be in heaven upon exploring Friday Harbor.

Make sure to check out our San Juan Safaris office and explore our collection of T-shirts, locally crafted jewelry, snacks, books, stuffed animals, locally sourced selection of San Juan Sea Salt items, and many other fun souvenirs that you’ll want to take home.


Prior to your Whale Watching trip you may want to enjoy a leisurely brunch or lunch while on island. There are so many yummy options to choose from just within steps from the waterfront.  Our café offers many great breakfast items as well as grab and go sandwiches that will make snacking during your whale watching trip convenient and easy!  If you are looking for more sit down options, Rocky Bay Café and Friday Harbor House are just up the hill and a local favorite for breakfasts.  For lunch Downriggers and Cask and Schooner are just above our office and offer fine dining opportunities.  You’ll also find many more restaurants and cafes on island- all will make you glad you chose to take a great and grab a bite.

Bonus! Saturday Morning Farmers Market

If you are traveling to the Island on a Saturday you will definitely want to make sure you allow yourself time to explore the San Juan Island farmers market.  Located in the heart of Friday Harbor at Brickworks, the Farmers Market runs every Saturday from 9:30am to 1pm from April to October.  As locals can attest this is a favorite among all those on island.  Numerous stands selling a mix of fresh farm goods, art, photography, hand crafted lotions and candles, baked goods, and more are sold inside Brickworks and outside on the sunny patio. Plan on allowing yourself plenty of time to stroll through and check out the rows of vendors all selling a unique piece of San Juan Island. 

This is just a small sliver of some of our favorite things to do while here before your whale watching trip.  If you ever need any more recommendations on things to do while here in Friday Harbor never hesitate to ask us- we love this island and are more than happy to share some of the local favorites with you! Either way you’ll be glad you chose to come visit the gem that is Friday Harbor!


Looking forward to seeing you here on island soon,

Naturalist Alexandria