Friday Harbor is one of the access points for the San Juan Islands off north-western Washington, in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The islands lie to the east of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The largest islands of the group are Orcas, San Juan, and Lopez. Forested and largely hilly, the islands are a popular summer resort centre. Friday Harbor is located on San Juan Island and is the principal town of the entire San Juan Archipelago and home to the Whale Museum. The waters surrounding the San Juan Islands are frequented by orca whales, and the museum offers a fascinating look at the life cycles of these marvelous mammals. Stroll through the docks, parks, and shops of this quaint seaport, a haven for pleasure yachts and commercial fishing boats.
You can also explore the major sites of San Juan Island. At the turn-of-thecentury marine resort at Roche Harbor, learn about the history of the lime quarries, general store, and the historic Haro Hotel, which dates back to the 1880s. Also visit the 19th century English campsite of the Pig War, home to the oldest, tallest maple trees in North America; and Limekiln State Park, also known as Whale Watch Park.
The archipelago was visited and named in 1792 by Spanish navigators, and the islands became part of the United States in 1872 following the final settlement of the North-West Boundary Dispute with Great Britain. Events leading to this settlement are commemorated in San Juan Island National Historical Park.
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