The San Juan Islands are a paradise for kids of all types. Beaches, plentiful wildlife, interactive museums, camping and boating are all available in kid friendly forms!
- Activities abound for kids all year long, with parks and toy stores, interactive museums and fun on, and in the water.
- Lots of suggestions for jungle gyms, tide pools and sandy beaches to burn through that endless energy and give parents a vacation too.
What can I do in the San Juan Islands with my kids?
Several sandy beaches with warmer shallow water are popular with San Juan Islands kids. These include Odlin Park on Lopez Island, Eagle Cove on San Juan Island, and Shaw County Park on Shaw Island.
- Odlin Park and Eagle Cove are also great for skim boarding at low tide.
- Naturally occurring tide pools are also a great way for the young naturalist to see marine life up close. Rocky Agate Beach on Lopez Island and the whole west side of San Juan Island contain some of the best tide pools at low tide.
- Biking: Another great sunny day activity is to ride bikes from beach to beach or just around the bike friendly Lopez Village or Eastsound on Orcas Island.
- Kayaking: If you don’t mind the extra paddling you could also rent a double kayak for some family boating time.
If you find yourself in the islands in August check out the San Juan County fair. The fair is filled with plenty of rides, games, art workshops and of course tons of cute farm animals. This is a favorite of local Friday Harbor kids and happens here every year.
Rainy Day Excursions
Whichever island you find yourself on, a trip to the local village is always a great way to entertain the kids. Bakeries, ice cream parlors, charming libraries, and museums are available on every island.
- Friday harbor and Orcas both have a movie theater, fabulous toy stores, and several candy centric shops.
- The Lopez and Orcas Historical museums focus on early pioneer life on the islands with many artifacts and informative exhibits.
- The Whale museum in Friday Harbor aims to get the young, and old alike, excited about these amazing creatures who call Puget Sound their home. They do this with plenty of interactive exhibits and even a full size whale skeleton, which looks like a dinosaur of the sea.
- To get some energy burnt consider visiting either the Friday Harbor Fitness Center or Orcas Athletics so your kids can swim like a whale in their spacious pools.
The Islands have very mild temperatures, even in the winter, which means that there are still plenty of hikes and outdoor fun available for the active child.
- Don’t be afraid to visit one of the many beaches for a rock skipping contest.
- If the weather is blustery it’s also fun to brave the elements on the bluffs of Lopez’s iceberg point or San Juan Island’s South Beach in order to watch the waves break and look across at the Olympic Range.
- For a warmer winter activity consider a stroll through town with a stop for hot chocolate at a local cafe.
There are jungle gyms and other playground equipment tucked away all over the islands. Some good options are:
- Lopez Island School, located in the middle of the island on Center Road.
- Spencer Spit State Park, at the north end of Lopez. Ask at the park office for help finding this hidden gem.
- Friday Harbor Elementary School
- Orcas Island School
- Moran State Park, in the middle of Orcas Island.