The San Juan Islands in NW Washington are comprised of 172 named islands and reefs. San Juan Island is the second largest island. Ferries serve the 4 most populous islands. We could’ve taken a one-hour ferry ride to San Juan Island from Anacortes, but we live 80 miles from there. Summer traffic and long wait lines can make this a 4-hour trip. Instead, we drove 20 minutes and took a 50-minute floatplane flight. Just right for a day trip.
Kenmore Air operates out of Kenmore, at the top of Lake Washington, north of Seattle. They also have a dock in Lake Union, right in downtown Seattle. Our flight left from Kenmore mid-morning.
Friday Harbor is the commercial center for San Juan Island and the county seat. The harbor was filled with boats!
Downtown has everything you might need if you live on this island and there are shops and restaurants for the tourists.
After we explored the town we took a break for coffee, tea and a cookie. Then we did a little shopping in a lavender store. Pelindaba has a lavender farm on the island.
We watched the ferry arrive. Walk-on passengers, bicyclists and motorcycles get off first.
It was time for us to catch the trolley to Roche Harbor located at the north end of the island.
It took about 20 minutes, traveling through farmland and forest, to get to the small town of Roche Harbor.
A lime mining operation was developed here in the late 1800s. In 1956 Roche Harbor was sold and developed into a boating resort and marina. Some of the old kilns from the mining days can still be seen.
There was a small craft market.
On the dock is the Lime Kiln Café.
Great sandwiches and mushroom bisque soup.
We flew back to Kenmore from Roche Harbor around 3:00.
Exploring the San Juan Islands by boat is probably the best way to visit. If you don’t have a boat you can take a ferry to the four largest islands and enjoy hiking, biking, kayaking, and even whale watching. If you only have a day or two, flying is a pretty cool way to go!