The Port of Friday Harbor has the largest public marina and the largest airport on the San Juan Islands, both within walking distance of downtown. The Port of Friday Harbor is a busy vacation destination, especially for boaters who frequently find the island so wonderful that they relocate there. The community also supports a vibrant arts community with many craftspeople and artists and many outdoor live music events in the summer. There is also a great Farmers Market in the Port of Friday Harbor.
The Port of Friday Harbor has a cool summer Mediterranean climate with warm dry summers and moderate winters. Temperatures in the Port of Friday Harbor range from an average high of 22°C (71°F) in July and August to an average low of 1°C (34°F) in December. Rainfall peaks in the Port of Friday Harbor in November at 12 centimeters (4.8 inches) and falls to a low of two centimeters (less than an inch) in July. Being on an island, the Port of Friday Harbor has humidity levels above 90% throughout the year, reaching almost 95% from August through October. Snow comes to the Port of Friday Harbor from mid-October through late April, peaking in January at 13 centimeters (5.2 inches).
The Whale Museum in the downtown Port of Friday Harbor offers a fascinating collection of exhibits, artifacts, artwork, and models related to the sea creatures common in Puget Sound. Exhibits cover the natural history of marine mammals with a focus on the orca pods resident in the waters of the San Juan Islands. Visitors will find a family tree for the resident orcas and real whale skeletons in the exhibits, listen to the creatures' songs in the Whale Phone Booth, and enjoy a 30-minute video on the resident orca pods. The Exhibit Hall and gift shop are open from 10am until 5pm daily (excluding holidays). Admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $3 for kids from five to 18 (and for college students with ID). Children less than five years old are admitted free.
Visitors will want to take a bird-watching or whale-watching tour while in the Port of Friday Harbor. Biologists guide the tours in prime orca waters where other wildlife like seals and eagles are abundant. The tours range from half-day trips to multi-day camping trips to the smaller islands. Sea Quest Expeditions offers a variety of kayaking tours.
The Port of Friday Harbor's Jackson Beach is just two mile from the ferry landing. The park has beach volleyball courts, a free boat launch, ample parking, restrooms, and three picnic sites with fire rings and barbecue grills. The park is open from dawn to dusk, but special arrangements can be made for after-hour events.
The Argyle Lagoon Biological Preserve is about one mile south of the Port of Friday Harbor. The 14-acre property contains the Argyle Lagoon tidelands (including about 12 acres classified as oysterlands), part of a tidal creek, and an upland parcel. Adjacent to Jackson Beach, the preserve is one of the five San Juan Islands Biological Preserves operated by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.