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5 Spectacular Places on San Juan Island You Didn’t Know Existed

It is so lovely and comforting to visit all of your favorite spots when returning to San Juan Island: the whale watch park and its iconic lighthouse; South Beach; dinner at Downriggers. It’s equally lovely to discover something new like the Camperdown Elm tree on Spring Street in the garden of Robin’s Nest, created from a graft of the original tree discovered in the 1800s in the forest of the Earl of Camperdown in Scotland. We here at the Bird Rock Hotel have found a few of these special and off-the-beaten-path places for you to explore on your next island getaway. Have so much fun!

  1. San Juan Aviation Museum

We islanders like to fly. San Juan Island has more pilots per capita than any other county in Washington State. Nestled in the lobby of the Friday Harbor Airport find the underrated San Juan Aviation Museum, dedicated to record and celebrate the history of aviation in the San Juan Islands. Historical photographs dating back to WWII, logbooks and other memorabilia tell the story of the pilots on San Juan Island. If you come midweek, treat yourself to lunch at Ernie’s Café in the next building, serving authentic Korean and American diner fare.

Reuben Tarte Park on San Juan Island
Reuben Tarte County park is a hidden gem on San Juan Island

  1. Reuben Tarte County Park

On the northeast side of San Juan Island, find this hidden gem with two pebble beaches separated by a rocky bluff. Enjoy unusual views of Saturna, Flattop, Waldron, Sucia and Orcas Islands. You can launch small boats and kayaks from here. The cold waters also make for phenomenal salmon fishing during the season.

  1. Frank Lloyd Wright House

Okay this is a drive-by only, not a place to play, so cool nevertheless. We have an original Frank Lloyd Wright Design house on Bailer Hill Road. Before you crest the enormous hill, look to your right and see the prototypical Lloyd Wright organic architecture in perfect harmony with humanity and its environment.

 San Juan Island Sea Glass
“I have enough sea glass” – said no one ever!

  1. Sea Glass Beach

South of Cattlepoint Lighthouse, where the mighty Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Haro Strait find this precious, sandy beach, unofficially known as sea glass beach for the beautiful treasures to be found here. Watch birds and sea lions, skip stones and explore the tide pools at low tide.

Roche Harbor Mausoleum
The Roche Harbor Mausoleum is a phenomenal place to find when hiking the Roche Harbor trails

  1. Roche Harbor Trails

The historic resort of Roche Harbor on the north end of San Juan Island owns and maintains over nine miles of trails on its 800 acres, connecting to English Camp National Historical Park, the Roche Harbor Mausoleum and the San Juan Island Sculpture Park and Nature Preserve. Meander by historic lime quarries, enjoy stunning views and wildlife and don’t get lost. It’s wild out there. Get a trail map at the resort, where you can also view Theodore Roosevelt’s signature in the guest book and John Wayne’s custom made bathtub, still in use today.

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