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Everything You Need to Know about Visiting San Juan Island in the Fall

Fall is San Juan Island’s secret season.  It feels a lot like Summer, but with fewer people and more food. The island is graced with long, sunny days. Lodging and the ferries are less expensive, while none of the seasonal restaurants have packed up shop yet. Farmers are hauling in their abundant harvest and getting ready for the Fall Harvest Parade and Savor the San Juans--a month-long feast for all senses--in October. Here is what you need to know about travelling to San Juan Island in the Fall.

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Harvest Season on San Juan Island

Ferry Reservations:

If you are planning on bringing your car, ferry reservations are a good idea, even though your chances to ride stand-by are a lot better in the fall than in the height of Summer. Remember if you are walking on, you never need a reservation and will never get turned away.


We here at the Bird Rock Hotel run amazing lodging specials in the shoulder season. We encourage you to check our Specials Page before booking a room. Many restaurants start their Savor specials, like COHO Restaurant’s Early Seating, a three-course tasting menu for $70 per person when arriving between 5:00pm and 5:45pm daily. And no Fall getaway is complete without a relaxing massage. Check out the current specials at the Spa at Earthbox and give yourself the gift of looking forward to something extra special.

Getting Around:

Public transportation is available through September from both San Juan Transit and the Friday Harbor Jolly Trolley. Susie’s Mopeds, M&W Auto Rental and Meat Machine Cycles are open in September as well for an uncomplicated getaway without your car.

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All whale watch & kayak tour providers offer tours through September and October

Whale Watching & Kayaking:

All of the local adventure operators offer tours through September and October, when the Humpbacks return and Orcas are seen almost as often as in Summer.

Do Not Miss:

The Saturday Farmer’s Market in the heart of Friday Harbor is a real treat in Fall. Colorful farm stands bow under the weight of the abundant harvest. There is live music, arts and crafts and excellent ready-to-eat food to eat.

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San Juan Vineyards is open for tastings every weekend

Many farms remain open for free tours, like the stunning Pelindaba Lavender Farm, the Alpaca Farm and San Juan Vineyards.

Don’t miss the Art over the Harbor show at the Grange Hall on September 13th & 14th, and the fantastic Island Playwright Festival at the Community Theatre on September 19th – 22nd.

Find more ideas on What not to Miss on San Juan Island in the Fall here.

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