Car-free on San Juan Island

Posted on August 19, 2019

Visiting San Juan Island without a car has many advantages, especially in Summer, when the ferries are full and car reservations are sometimes unavailable when you want to travel.  No problem--just leave your car in Anacortes and walk on the ferry. It’s so much cheaper and they will always make room for you. Once in Friday Harbor, you don’t have to worry about metered parking and you can deeply relax while other people do the driving for you. This is your opportunity to enjoy the scenery and have two Martinis with each of your San Juan Island dinners.

Where to Stay

Our Bird Rock Hotel is a mere 1½ blocks from the ferry dock, right in the heart of perfectly walkable Friday Harbor. We are just a stone’s throw away from restaurants, shops, museums and the harbor. We can store your luggage before the ferry leaves or while you are on a kayak trip.

Car Free on San Juan Island

How to Get Around

We here at the Bird Rock offer free Beach Cruiser bikes to our guests. These are single speed bikes, perfect to ride to the nearest beach or around town. Many kayak and whale watch tour operators offer shuttles to the places they put in the water.The isle features two bus companies, San Juan Transit & Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley, to get you to all the cool beaches, parks and farms. There are taxis, rental cars and mopeds available as well.

What to do

  • Shopping: Friday Harbor is a lovely place to shop, not only for unique island gifts, but also for art, gourmet food and clothing. And better yet, almost all of the local galleries and stores offer shipping to your home address.
  • Whale Watching & Sea Kayaking:  San Juan Island is known for its Orca whales and wildlife. Treat yourself to a guided whale watch or kayak tour for the adventure of a lifetime.
  • Hiking: Explore the many hikes in two National Historical Parks, watch eagles and foxes, learn about the isle’s turbulent history and find your favorite sunset picnic spot overlooking the Salish Sea.
  • Biking: While we offer free beach cruiser bicycles here at Bird Rock, if it’s island exploring you’re up for, we suggest that you bring your multi-gear bike or rent one at Meat Machine Cycles to tour San Juan’s unique farms. Treat yourself to a sunny morning at the lavender farm, say “Hi” to the alpacas, do a distillery tour and a wine tasting and have lunch at the Westcott Bay Shellfish Farm, where you can shuck your own oysters.
  • Art: There are seven galleries and three museums in walking distance to the ferry. The Island Museum of Art in town and the San Juan Sculpture Park on the north end of the isle, offer free family art activities on Summer weekends. Don’t miss the Friday Harbor Summer Art Fair on Fridays.
Spa Couple
  • Spa Day: Our sister hotel, the Earthbox Inn & Spa, just two blocks from us, has the only heated indoor pool on the island, which you get to use for free as a Bird Rock guest. Earthbox also has a lovely onsite Day Spa, ready to spoil and pamper you and make your San Juan Island getaway complete.
Bird Rock Hotel Washington