Friday Harbor Live Cam

Located at the base of Spring St.

Hosted by:
  • Kenmore Air
  • IslandCam
  • San Juan Islands


Friday Harbor is a charming and picturesque town located on San Juan Island, one of the larger islands in the San Juan archipelago in the state of Washington, USA. The San Juan Islands are situated in the Puget Sound, between the mainland of Washington and Vancouver Island in Canada. Friday Harbor is the largest town on San Juan Island and serves as the commercial, cultural, and transportation hub of the island.

Here are some key features and aspects of Friday Harbor:
  • Location and Access: Friday Harbor is accessible by ferry, private boat, and even by small aircraft. The ferry ride from Anacortes on the mainland is a popular way to reach the island and provides stunning views of the surrounding water and islands.
  • Harbor and Waterfront: As the name suggests, Friday Harbor has a picturesque harbor that is often filled with boats and yachts. The waterfront area is lined with shops, restaurants, and art galleries, making it a popular spot for visitors to stroll, shop, and dine while enjoying views of the water.
  • Whale Watching: The San Juan Islands, including the waters around Friday Harbor, are renowned for their excellent whale-watching opportunities. Visitors often have the chance to see orcas (killer whales), humpback whales, gray whales, and other marine wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Marine Activities: Beyond whale watching, the area offers various marine activities such as kayaking, sailing, and fishing. The calm and pristine waters make it an ideal destination for these outdoor pursuits.
  • Historical Significance: Friday Harbor has a rich history dating back to the late 1800s. The town has preserved many of its historic buildings, giving it a unique and charming character. The San Juan Historical Museum is a great place to learn about the island's history.
  • Art and Culture: The town is known for its vibrant arts scene, with numerous galleries showcasing local artists' work. There are also cultural events, workshops, and performances held throughout the year.
  • Local Cuisine: Friday Harbor offers a variety of dining options, ranging from casual seafood shacks to upscale restaurants. Fresh seafood is a highlight, and visitors can enjoy dishes made with locally sourced ingredients.
  • Lodging: Accommodation options in Friday Harbor include charming bed and breakfasts, inns, and boutique hotels, providing visitors with a comfortable and cozy stay.
  • Community Atmosphere: Despite its popularity as a tourist destination, Friday Harbor has managed to maintain a sense of community and a relaxed atmosphere. The town's small size contributes to a friendly and welcoming vibe.
  • Natural Beauty: The island itself is known for its natural beauty, including rolling hills, forested areas, and stunning vistas. Outdoor enthusiasts can explore hiking trails, go bird-watching, and enjoy the island's tranquil environment.

Friday Harbor on San Juan Island offers a delightful blend of natural splendor, maritime activities, historical charm, and a welcoming community. It's a popular destination for both day trips and longer getaways, providing a refreshing escape from the bustle of urban life.

Historical Facts

  • Pig War: One of the most famous events in Friday Harbor's history is the "Pig War" of 1859. This was a boundary dispute between the United States and Britain over the ownership of San Juan Island. The conflict began when an American farmer, Lyman Cutlar, shot a British-owned pig that was rooting in his garden. This seemingly minor incident escalated, leading to a military standoff with both American and British troops stationed on the island for several years. The crisis was peacefully resolved through arbitration, and the island was awarded to the United States in 1872.
  • Lighthouse: The Lime Kiln Lighthouse, located near Friday Harbor, was built in 1914. It's one of the iconic landmarks of the island and played an essential role in guiding ships through the Haro Strait. Today, it's a popular spot for visitors to view marine life, including whales, from the shore.
  • Farming and Fishing: In its early days, Friday Harbor was primarily a fishing and farming community. The island's fertile soil supported agriculture, and the surrounding waters provided abundant seafood, which sustained the local population.
  • Early Settlement: The area around Friday Harbor was first settled by European-Americans in the mid-19th century. Families arrived to establish farms, and the community gradually grew around the natural harbor.
  • Development of Tourism: By the late 1800s, tourism began to play a role in the island's economy. Visitors were drawn to the island's natural beauty, and the establishment of hotels and other accommodations catered to their needs. Tourism continues to be a significant economic driver for Friday Harbor today.
  • Historic Buildings: Many of Friday Harbor's historic buildings have been preserved, contributing to the town's charming atmosphere. Notable structures include the San Juan County Courthouse (built in 1894) and the King Farmhouse (built in 1892), which now houses the San Juan Historical Museum.
  • Roche Harbor: While not located in Friday Harbor itself, Roche Harbor on the northern side of the island has historical significance as well. It was the site of a lime quarry and a company town that supported the lime industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The remnants of the lime kilns and buildings can still be explored by visitors.
  • Japanese Internment: During World War II, Friday Harbor was affected by the internment of Japanese Americans. Many island residents of Japanese descent were forcibly removed from their homes and interned in camps, leading to significant disruptions in the community.
  • Marine Research: In more recent history, Friday Harbor has become a hub for marine research and education. The Friday Harbor Laboratories, operated by the University of Washington, focus on marine biology and offer educational programs and research opportunities.

These historical facts provide a glimpse into the evolution of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, showcasing its diverse past and the events that have shaped its present character as a charming, historically rich, and thriving community.


Friday Harbor is situated on San Juan Island, one of the larger islands in the San Juan archipelago located in the northern part of Puget Sound in the state of Washington, USA. Here's an overview of the geography of Friday Harbor and San Juan Island:

  • Island Location: San Juan Island is positioned between the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state to the south and Vancouver Island of British Columbia, Canada, to the north. It's part of a chain of islands known for their natural beauty, maritime activities, and wildlife.
  • Topography: The landscape of San Juan Island is characterized by rolling hills, open meadows, and dense forested areas. The island's topography is a result of glacial activity during the last ice age. The highest point on the island is Mount Dallas, which reaches an elevation of around 1,000 feet (305 meters).
  • Coastline: San Juan Island has a diverse coastline that includes rocky shores, sandy beaches, and picturesque coves. The island's irregular coastline contributes to its appeal for boating, kayaking, and other water-based activities.
  • Friday Harbor: The town of Friday Harbor is located on the eastern side of San Juan Island, along the shores of Friday Harbor itself. The harbor provides a protected area for boats and ships and is the focal point of the town's waterfront.
  • Haro Strait: To the west of San Juan Island lies Haro Strait, a significant body of water that separates the island from Vancouver Island. This strait is known for its strong tidal currents and is a prime location for whale-watching due to the frequent passage of orca whales.
  • Rosario Strait: To the east of San Juan Island is Rosario Strait, which separates the island from the mainland of Washington. This strait connects the Puget Sound to the Strait of Georgia in Canada.
  • Lakes and Inland Areas: San Juan Island features several small lakes and ponds, such as Egg Lake and Sportsman Lake. These inland water bodies provide additional recreational opportunities and contribute to the island's diverse ecosystem.
  • Marine Life: The surrounding waters of San Juan Island are rich in marine life. The nutrient-rich currents support a variety of species, including fish, shellfish, and marine mammals like orcas, seals, sea lions, and porpoises.
  • Natural Reserves and Parks: The island is home to several parks and natural reserves, including Lime Kiln Point State Park, which is known for its lighthouse and excellent whale-watching opportunities. San Juan Island National Historical Park preserves sites related to the Pig War and the island's history.
  • Vegetation: The island's flora includes evergreen forests of Douglas fir, madrone, cedar, and various species of pine. Open meadows and grasslands can also be found, creating a varied and picturesque landscape.

The geography of Friday Harbor and San Juan Island plays a significant role in shaping the island's unique character, outdoor recreational opportunities, and its appeal to both residents and visitors who are drawn to its natural beauty and maritime atmosphere.