San Juan Island

map
Karen Minot
oysters
Photos by Catherine Karnow
Frank Raue gathers island oysters.

Vinny's
Vinny's is great for Italian food.

dog
Every dog has his day cruise here at Roche Harbor.

With nearly 6,500 residents, this is the most populous of the chain, with the greatest number of inns and restaurants. Friday Harbor is the county seat of San Juan County.

KAYAKING

Crystal Seas Kayaking (877/732-7877 or www.crystalseas.com), San Juan Safaris (800/450-6858 or www.sanjuansafaris.com), and Sea Quest Kayak Expeditions (888/589-4253 or www.sea-quest-kayak.com) offer half-day or day-long guided tours. San Juan Kayak Expeditions (from $325; 360/378-4436 or www.sanjuankayak.com) runs three- and four-day trips.

WHALE-WATCHING

Companies running trips out of Friday Harbor include San Juan Excursions (800/809-4253 or www.watchwhales.com) and Bon Accord Charters (800/677-0751 or www.go-whale-watching.com). For more, visit www.nwwhalewatchers.org.

DINING

Downriggers. Nautical decor, great harbor view, appropriate seafood menu. 10 Front St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-2700.

Friday Harbor House. Menu features Northwest seafood and wines. 130 West St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-8455 or www.fridayharborhouse.com.

Vinny's. First-rate Italian food. 165 West St., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-1934.

LODGING

Argyle House. A graceful B&B in a 1910 Craftsman house. Three rooms, a suite, and a private cottage; superb breakfasts. From $125. 685 Argyle Ave., Friday Harbor; (360) 378-4084 or www.argylehouse.net.

Friday Harbor House. Sleek Northwestern architecture, harbor views, and an excellent restaurant (breakfast included with the room) are the hallmarks of this 20-room inn. From $200 in summer. See "Dining" above.

Roche Harbor Resort. This historic waterfront village started as a lime quarry in the 1880s. The least expensive rooms in the 1886 Hotel de Haro are small and lack private baths, but there are more luxurious accommodations on the property. From $79. 248 Reuben Memorial Dr., Roche Harbor; (360) 378-2155.