A Romantic Escape in Friday Harbor: America's Most Charming Seaport

Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor House

Just a short ferry ride from Seattle lies one of the country’s most charming villages—the seaport of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. This small enclave is filled with history coupled with eclectic boutiques, art galleries and fine dining. 


Start the weekend off right with an impressively romantic seaplane ride to San Juan Island. Take a seaplane to Friday Harbor and experience the breathtaking views of Puget Sound from the sky. You’ll delicately glide in and land among the numerous boats and luxury yachts docked within the harbor. Alternatively, you can take the ferry from Anacortes, another quaint seaside village.

Friday Harbor
Friday Harbor House


Just a short walk from the harbor, you’ll want to check in to the luxury accommodations of Friday Harbor House, where guest rooms offer stunning harbor views. The newly-renovated rooms are spacious with king-sized beds, ambience-setting fireplaces and balconies that look out over the port. The hotel has upped the ante for romance with oversized jetted tubs positioned to offer a view of the harbor. And for those who appreciate the little touches, Friday Harbor House amenities include a Chemex with locally-produced San Juan Roasters coffee, a “sleep tight kit”, and a pillow menu so you can choose your level of comfort.

Friday Harbor
Visit San Juans


Be sure to check out the breakfast at Friday Harbor House. The upscale, freshly-prepared dishes are hearty and will keep you well-fueled for the day. 

Cask & Schooner Public House & Restaurant is a pub-style restaurant perfect for lunch or dinner. It’s situated right on the harborfront and the decor certainly plays into its namesake. Wash down the authentic English pub food, including fish and chips, the stout-spiked chicken sandwich and the lamb burger, with multiple English beers on tap. 

Just off the main pedestrian street of Friday Harbor, you’ll find Backdoor Kitchen, part garden, part fine dining. Dine al fresco among lush greenery and trickling fountains, and feast on locally-sourced cuisine with an international flair. Among the menu’s most popular selections are grape leaves, corn masa cakes and the East Indian vegetarian platter.

Friday Harbor
Visit San Juans


The village of Friday Harbor is extremely walkable so you’ll want to spend some time exploring the boutiques and art galleries. Be sure to visit Island Studios Art Gallery, filled with work of local artisans including paintings, sculpture, fiber arts, jewelry, metalwork, ceramics and a quaint koi pond out back. Stop in to Pelindaba Lavender for more than 200 locally-produced goods including botanical, culinary, personal care, therapeutic, household and pet care products.

A romantic way to experience the secret coves and explore the rugged coastline is to rent a kayak right at the port in Friday Harbor. Paddle your way around the cool, crisp waters and just enjoy the beautiful natural setting.

If you’d like to venture beyond Friday Harbor and explore more of San Juan Island, rent a car or scooter for the day. Be sure to drive the southern coast which just might be the most scenic place you’ve ever seen, with vistas of Mt. Baker and the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges. Certain times of the year, you’ll catch the orcas breaching off the coast. As you’re driving the island, take a quick diversion through the 20-acre Sculpture Park, where you can stroll through a garden of eclectic outdoor art.

Every romantic weekend should include a little wine tasting, so pay a visit to San Juan Vineyards. In the tasting room, housed in a 1896 schoolhouse, you’ll taste the vineyard’s award-winning estate wines, Madeleine Angevine and Siegerrebe. If distilled spirits are more your style, stop by the San Juan Island Distillery and sample the award-winning apple brandy and small batch ciders and spirits. 

Of course, one of the most romantic experiences just might be sitting with a view of the harbor, taking in the view of the Sound and appreciating the tranquility of port life. 

Beth Graham

Beth writes about the things that feed her soul - food, wine and travel. Read her stories at and follow her journey on Instagram @Beth_In_Grahamland. ...(Read More)

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