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What's there to do in Friday Harbor? - How about going to another island, or two, or three - For Free!

Bicycle waiting area Friday Harbor
Foot passenger holding area at Friday Harbor (strongly resembles a corral )

Inter island free ferry in the San Juans
Walking bikes on ferry seemed prudent

First island

     We arrived in Friday Harbor for the 4th of July celebration on the 2nd and so had a few days to kill.  With our floating motel safely tucked into a slip, we rested easy Saturday night. The 26 mile run from Squalicum Harbor in Bellingham was uneventful partly due to catching some decent currents and a sunny rest stop at Blakely's.  Sunday morning arrived with coffee, bagels and cream cheese, and then  we walked our bikes over to the ferry terminal and caught the 8:30 AM ferry to Shaw Island.

     After a stopover on Orcas, the four of us and one Labradoodle walked off at Shaw Landing.  The ride is free as is all inter island foot and bicycle traffic, so we simply checked east/west schedules to make sure we had a ride back to Friday that afternoon and headed out with full water bottles and a handful of granola bars.

Second island  

  The ferry ride was a welcome break from driving our own boat and the view from the high deck is great.  On Shaw, we took pity on our four legged member and limited our ride to the county park at Indian Cove, a distance of around four miles round trip.  Much further dog trotting I suspect.  The road is paved and hugs the water around most of Blind Bay before turning inland at the community center and shooting straight over the small hill to the east side and Indian Cove.  The wooded campground was full as expected, and kayaks were strewn about above high water amongst the driftwood.  We rested, beach combed, and then headed back to Shaw Landing after about an hour.

 (FYI, you can make camping reservations up to 90 days in advance at all three San Juan county parks at  or google San Juan County Parks) or try clicking here >>San Juan County Parks (3) 
     While waiting for our ferry ride back to Friday we sat around the cozy little picnic area eating ice cream purchased at the Shaw Landing General Store.  All in all it was a resoundingly relaxing laid back morning.

     Getting back to Friday Harbor before 2 PM left us with much of the day still ahead of us, and since they unload foot passengers before the cars, we were back on the promenade  minutes after the ramp went down.

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Third island
     With the day half over but really just barely started, we flopped the dinghy down and clamped on the 5 hp Honda.

     Down to just the two of us and minus our four legged friend we set off for Turn Island, a distance of only 2 1/2 miles but we explored much of the shoreline adding to our time and miles.  While exploring we discovered where they were outfitting the fireworks barge for Monday night's display, but wisely kept our distance.

     Turn Island is a 35 acre state park and has two nice dinghy beaches facing Friday Harbor.  The current there can get ferocious, after all it isn't named Turn Island without reason, but we had no problem.  Off shore are a couple of anchor buoys, and room for more to anchor.  We tilted the motor up and dragged the Livingston clear of the water tying her painter to a strong overhanging tree limb and set off.

     Even though it was a major holiday weekend the twelve campsites were not all taken.  We struck off following the very easy shoreline trail and thirty  minutes later arrived back where we started from the other direction.  The rising tide had gently floated the dinghy free pending our return.

     The run back to Friday split the tide rip, boosting us halfway and then slowing us the remainder. The wind came up creating a little chop and we  had to go agonizingly slow to avoid getting splashed.
Turn Island washington
Don't miss Turn Island,  it's just about perfect for a quick hike or an overnighter when you are at Friday Harbor

     So there you have it, what's there to do in Friday Harbor. A free ferry ride and dinghy trip pretty much kept us busy for the day.  That night we barbecued on the boat.  Monday will be the San Juan County Fourth of July parade and picnic.

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