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7 Not-to-be-Missed, Late Summer Things to Do on San Juan Island!


Updated August 2020


Summer is almost over! Did you make yours count? There is something special about visiting San Juan Island in late Summer, going on the last whale watch tour of the season, shucking your own oysters on the beach before the Seafood Farm closes for the Winter, experiencing the abundance of late Summer at the Farmer’s Market and going for that once a year swim in the mighty Pacific Ocean.

We have compiled a list of not-to-be-missed, late Summer things to do on our beautiful isle. Come on up and give your Summer the ending it deserves.

1. Sunset Picnic at Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Head out to the Whale Watch park and find the picnic bench calling out just for you: overlooking the Salish Sea on a dramatic cliff, by the whale watching platforms or right next to the historic lighthouse (Lime Kiln turned 101 this year), which doubles as an interpretive center during the Summer and is staffed with knowledgeable folks, able to answer all of your whale and wildlife questions. Enjoy a breathtaking sunset, while the whales swim by.


2. Westcott Bay Sea Farm

Our local purveyor of the freshest, plumpest oysters, clams and mussels shares its serene beach front farm with visitors through Labor Day and then lets its beds rest for the Winter. Get a visit in before and observe a working shellfish farm, while shucking your own oysters and having a cold beer in the sun. 2020 update: the farm is open to visitors through Labor Day with reservations. After Labor Day you may buy shellfish retail Saturdays from 12-3.

3. Sea Kayak Tour

Sea Kayaking in the San Juans is a definite Summer bucket list item. Feeling the cool sea breeze on a hot Summer day, silently gliding through kelp forests, while the harbor seals are watching, this is how San Juan Island is meant to be experienced. Our friends at San Juan Outfitters will take you on a beginners or family paddle, a romantic sunset tour, or a 5-hour orca search from the cute historic resort of Roche Harbor.


4. Go for a dip in the Ocean

This is the time of the year when the waters around San Juan Island warm up to a balmy 50 degrees. But wait, there is more! Granny’s Cove in American Camp, one of the very few sandy beaches on the isle with shallow, calm water, heats up to actual survivable temperatures and make for a fantastic late Summer dip in the ocean.

5. San Juan Distillery Visit

A few years ago, the good folks at Westcott Bay Ciders yearned for more challenges, added a distillery to their lovely operation, and started making micro batches of apple brandy and island -flavored liqueurs, vodkas and gins. The results are amazing. San Juan Distillery is open for retail sales on Saturdays and Sundays.


6. Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Nothing says Summer like a bouquet of freshly cut lavender. San Juan Island’s stunning lavender farm with its demonstration garden, cutting fields, lovely sculptures and over 200 lavender products manufactured on the premises and for sale at the Gatehouse Farm Store, will indulge all of your senses. 

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San Juan Safari’s new Zodiac


7. Whale Watch Tour

And last, but certainly not least. Watching the Orca whales in the wild is what San Juan Island is famous for. July and August is when they are seen most often. Our two favorite outfitters San Juan Safaris and the Western Prince got brand new Zodiac boats this year, fast, exhilarating rides with the best chances to see wildlife. Both outstanding outfitters offer tours through October.

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