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Tags: pacific northwest

September San Juan Whale Watching from Boat and Shore

With the Oyster Bar’s guide to the best places to observe orcas in the San Juan Islands, you can organize a free trip yourself or book a whale-watching tour at a reasonable price. 

San Juan Boat Whale Watching Tours

According to San Juan Safaris, the sightings data collected for 20 years demonstrate a 90 % chance of seeing orcas in the high season, from June to September.

It is also a great time to see humpback and minke whales, Dall’s and harbor porpoises, sea lions, harbor seals and white-sided dolphins.

Whale watching tours start from Orcas Island, San Juan Island, or Lopez Island. The average prices range for a standard 3-hour tour is $ 109-139/adult.

You can find more details and pick the best tour operator on the Official Travel Site the San Juan Islands, Washington.

During this time, residential and migratory pods of orcas inhabit the waters and can be seen from many places. The following tips will help you to make your own whale-watching trip for free.

The Best Spots for Shore Whale Watching

Friday Harbor

Whichever the outcome of your San Juan orca quest, start or finish it at the Whale Museum, Friday Harbor. It boasts an impressive collection of artifacts related to whales.

With various educational sources – a whale gallery, museum, a gift shop – your whale watching experience will be more informed and enjoyable.

Lime Kiln Point State Park

Frequently nicknamed ‘Whale Watch Park’, Lime Klin Point State Park is situated on the hunting route of orcas who come very close to the shore while feeding with salmon. So there are many chances to see whales passing below from the rock cliffs.

Get the most from your visit and see other landmarks of the 41-acre park – the 100-year-old lighthouse and the remnants of the original lime kiln operation started 160 years ago when the surrounding area was quarried for limestone.

San Juan Island National Historical Park

With astonishing vistas of the ocean and grassland, San Juan Island National Historical Park is a must-visit place for hikers and landscape photograph enthusiasts. The Cattle Point Lighthouse constructed in 1935 is the highest and most beautiful spot of the park.

By walking along the bluff of the shore towards the end of the park’s windswept plateau, you will reach the lighthouse. In addition, the place is a comfortable platform for observing whales.

Westside Scenic Preserve

With 16 acres of spacious panoramic area, Westside Scenic Preserve is a natural gem itself. The preserve combines stunning field and marine landscapes.

Despite being the favorite haunting spot for local orcas, the Westside Scenic Preserve is a less-known whale watching spot. Yet, you can surely add it to your a must-visit places list in the Pacific Northwest.

Finish your day with a delicious local-style dinner  at the Oyster Bar. Make a reservation 360-766-6185!

Best Camping Spots in WA for MS Bike Deception Pass Classic 2021

Experience the magical charm of MS Bike Deception Pass Classic 2021 in Mt Vernon while camping the most beautiful campsites in Washington state. Find our tips on the three best campgrounds! 

Join MS Ride in Mount Vernon!

MS Bike Deception Pass Classic 2021 on September 11 is part of the largest fundraising cycling initiative in the world. It brings together thousands of people who ride together to improve life people with MS.

Additionally, the unique event is an engaging way to experience the breathtaking scenery of the Pacific Northwest. Here are the best places to go camping in Washington state.

Deception Pass Campground

Situated on two islands Fidalgo and Whidbey, Deception Pass Campground over 300 campsites with gorgeous views and scenic trails (hiking, biking, and horse riding).

You can choose between three deception Pass camping locations – at Bowman Bay, Quarry Pond, and Cranberry Lake.

Each has electricity, water, sewer, and garbage disposal.

The 2021 camping fees range from $ 12 (primitive and water trail campsites) to $ 50 (full-utility campsites).

After the peak season, September 15, the prices for most types of camping are 15 % lower.

The latest 2021 novelty at Deception Pass State Park is an opportunity to rent Blue Otter Kayaks, known for distinctive boats suitable both for kayak enthusiasts with no experience and experienced paddlers.

Pioneer Trails RV Resort

To enrich your visit to the Pacific Northwest, camp at the Pioneer Trails RV Resort. This is one of best campsites in Washington state according to visitors reviews. Campers particularly praise the benefits of the location.

It is just a 10-minute drive from Deception Pass Bridge. Additionally, the campsite is also close to Anacortes and LaConner. So, with a rich choice of places to eat and party, it is easy to make your visit as eventful as you wish.

The key RV Park features are full hook-up sites, well-equipped picnic areas, clean coined laundry facilities, pickleball courts, and a fitness center.

The minimum daily RV rate is $60, based on two adults, two children, two pets, and two vehicles.

La Conner RV & Camping Resort

The La Conner RV & Camping Resort location is very convenient for reaching Deception Pass Bridge and exploring Pacific Northwest. In addition, with just a ferry ride, you can reach out to the San Juan Islands, and with a short car drive, you will get to La Conner.

In contrast to many campgrounds in the area, La Conner RV & Camping Resort has fewer new amenities. Not all spots have a sewer hook-up. However, its proximity to numerous restaurants and shops makes up for it.

The main feature of the campsite is a wide variety of arts & crafts activities. Other positives are a half-mile beach nearby, a large lodge area, and a private boat launch.

The approximate nightly rate in September is $35.

Continue your discoveries of Pacific Northwest views at the terrace of the Oyster Bar, where you can enjoy an unrivaled dining experience inspired by our seasonal menu and scenic views of Samish Bay.

Call to make an early reservation 360-766-6185!

3 Things to do in the San Juan Islands, WA in May

With resumed tours, the San Juan Islands are again becoming a popular destination in the new season. Find the updated information on boat tours and excursions in the area!

How to get to the San Juan Islands, WA

– explore driving directions from Seattle, Bellingham, and Port Townsend to Anacortes, where you have to take the ferry to Friday Harbor.
– consider flying from Seattle
– if you want to avoid traffic and Anacortes ferry lines, opt for the San Juan Clipper ferry for the fastest direct journey from Pier 69 in Seattle to San Juan Island.

The Whale Museum, WA

from $9 general, $6 seniors, $4 students, free: children under 5

The museum covers all the information about orcas’ conservation and their complex relations with people.

You can consider guided or unguided tours. With diverse educational programs, it is easy to prepare for a visit beforehand.

PO Box 945 Friday Harbor, WA 98250 (360) 378-4710

 Classic Whale Watch & Wildlife Tour, Friday Harbor, WA

from $119 adults, $89 children

This San Juan Vessel tour by San Juan Safaris is the best choice for travelers with children (2-12 years). The trip takes 3-4 hours.

With marine naturalists on board, your trip will be educational and entertaining. You will learn a lot about orcas, seals, eagles, and many other species.

And this type of journey is more comfortable too. The vessels take out on average 40 passengers.

10 Front Street Suite #102 Friday Harbor, WA 98250  (360)378-1323.

Kayak trips, Friday Harbor, WA

from $ 89

Sea Quest Expeditions has recently restarted their 3-hour morning and 6-hour afternoon kayak tours in the San Juan Islands.

The former option is more suitable for those who only want to enjoy beautiful views in the sea, while the latter is better for adventurers whose primary goal is to see orca whales.

From May 8, additionally, more kayak trips will be launched. The whale watching season in the area is from April to October when orcas come close to the island for their primary food – salmon.

Check hours and make online reservations on Sea Quest Expeditions website.

2 Front St PO Box 2424 Friday Harbor, WA 98250 (360) 298-7364

Call the Oyster Bar and make an early reservation 360-766-6185.

*Prices subject to change. 

5 Animal Activities in the Skagit County

In spring, animal lovers have great opportunities to watch in their natural habitats elk, alpacas, birds, whales, and other sea creatures. Make your ‘things to do in Skagit county’ list with our ideas to do before dinner at The Oyster Bar.

Feed alpacas on South Fork FarmsFeed alpacas on South Fork Farms

The farm belongs to the local family Gary and Ruth Wiegand.

Being Skagit County natives, the farmers are a third-generation family that has owned the farm for almost two centuries.

The farmers have been raising alpacas for 17 years.

With a wide range of family activities, the farm is a great place to relax and interact with alpacas, a great source of positive emotions.

Except for interacting with the alpacas, visitors can learn a lot about raising natural walnuts, another specialization of the farm, and walk around enjoying the landscapes by the Skagit River.

And, of course, you will find there a lot of beautiful settings for capturing original images.
To arrange the time for your visit, contact the hosts in advance.

Watch elk in Skagit Valley

Watch elk in Skagit ValleyKnown as the elk field, Skagit Land Trust’s property on State Route 20 close to Concrete shelters over 50 Nooksack elk.

Grazing animals can be spotted across Skagit Valley all year round because they do not undertake long-distance migration. Their favorite places are local rivers and watersheds.

In winter, they prefer the pastures about three miles west of the town, in Hurn Field Property. During the summer months, the elk herd locates about 15 miles north in the Baker River.

In cold months, when food availability is limited, elk regularly cross State Route 20.

The easiest way to access the Hurn Field Conservation Area via a scenic pullout of Highway 20.

Enjoy bird diversity around Padilla Bay

Enjoy bird diversity around Padilla BayBald Eagle, Barred Owl, Great Blue Heron, Trumpeter Swan, Cedar Waxwing are just some of the birds you can see in the area.

Spring is a great time to learn about birds by sound as well as sight.

In April, they showcase aerial performances.

The early migratory and local birds loudly claim a territory, defend their space, and look for a mate.

How to quickly organize a pleasant bird walk? Join guided birdwatching tours by Skagit Guided Adventures or create your own itinerary. You can use two sources based on suggestions of experienced birders and hikers.

Enjoy bird diversity around Padilla BayWith 25 parks in Skagit County, it is easy to pick interesting birding spots.

The most famous are Fidalgo and Samish Islands and the Skagit and Samish Flats.

It may be hard to find an incredible and speedy songbird American Pipit on a short visit.

But you will likely spot several graceful Trumpeter Swans, one of the heaviest flying birds.

Take a whale watching tour

Take a whale watching tourSan Juan Island to your list of things to do in Skagit County. It is one of the best places in the world to see orca whales in the wild.

From mid-April to the beginning of October, the orcas concentrate there because of the abundance of salmon. This fish makes up 95% of their diet.

The orca or killer whale is the largest of the dolphins. Individual populations may specialize in different kinds of prey.

Some are content with fish, and others hunt marine mammals, seals, or other dolphin species.
You can book whale-watching tours from Anacortes, La Conner, or Seattle.

Alternatively, you can get to the island yourself choosing the best option: by car, by ferry, or by plane.

Explore sea creatures in Padilla Bay Aquariums

Take a whale watching tourPadilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is an educational center in Bay View.

They carry out educational and research projects on different environmental topics related to the area.

Known for breathtaking views, the place also has scenic trails.

Aquariums are definitely the main highlights of the Reserve, which is now closed.

And although most of their virtual aquarium tours are online, they attract many people because they feature a different animal every week.

Take a whale watching tourOrganized by experts – aquarist Mark Olson and Padilla Bay educator Madi McKay, such events are fascinating experiences.

With such knowledgeable guides, even online encounters with octopuses and crabs are very insightful.

Additionally, to expand your knowledge about local marine species, you can join the Water Weeks Aquarium Tour in May. It is free; you only need to register.

Continue watching wildlife on the OysterBar terrace and get more practical suggestions from locals. Call us in advance to reserve a place: 360-766-6185

It’s All About The Oysters

Local Oysters

It’s no secret that the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best seafood the world has to offer. This undeniable fact is part of the reason that The Oyster Bar‘s proprietors, Guy and Linda Colbert, originally moved to the area. Since taking ownership of the restaurant in the early 1990′s the two have tirelessly sought to provide both top notch preparation of these marine delicacies as well as the most calming atmosphere in which to enjoy them.

Samish Bay

As our name might suggest, The Oyster Bar On Chuckanut Drive offers a variety of fresh, local Oysters. Located past the cliff and just beyond the restaurant is beautiful Samish Bay. If one were to happen upon the bay during high tide, it would appear deceptively deep. To wait just a few hours longer would be to reveal a hidden bounty, dutifully collected by the men and women of Taylor Shellfish Farm.


Taylor Shellfish Farm

Just below the cliff and directly off of Chuckanut Drive, Taylor Shellfish Farm provides The Oyster Bar with a wide variety of fresh, local shellfish on a daily basis. A trip to their Chuckanut Drive location yields not only spectacular views but the ability to handpick from the live dungeness crab, fresh mussels, and a wide variety of fresh oysters grown and harvested on site. If you’re lucking enough to pass by the area during the right year, and the right time, you’ll even get to see Oyster Creek full of spawning salmon.

Here at the Oyster Bar we are proud to be able to say that our mussels, clams, Samish Bay Oysters and Kumamoto Oysters come directly from Samish Bay. With the help of Taylor Shellfish Farm, we’ve been able to provide the freshest shellfish the Pacific Northwest has to offer.

If you find yourself travelling along Chuckanut Drive this summer, or simply need a break on a trip between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle, WA, we’d like to recommend these fresh, delicious delicacies. And if you like what you find, you might even try stopping by Taylor Shellfish Farm to pick up a dozen or two from their on site retail shop. After all, it’s just a stone’s throw away.

Make a Reservation

Warm up by our fireplace. Call ahead to reserve your seat at the table! 360-766-6185


Featured Wine: Domaine Magdalena Cabernet Sauvignon

(Bin #1114 $87) This sophisticated, balanced Washington Red is everything a Cabernet from Red Mountain should be. It’s fine tannins accent the beautiful notes of blackberry, rose petal and earth. Domaine Magdalena is not only beautifully made but also thoughtfully made. The wine undergoes wild yeast fermentation, is unfiltered and is Demeter certified biodynamic. This wine can stand alone but would pair nicely with so many of our dishes including our vegetarian and wild game options.


For Your Favorite Foodies

Call Today for Your Reservation!

Call 360.766.6185

+ Closing times may vary seasonally so please call for a reservation if wishing to dine after 8pm.

+ It is our policy not to seat parties with children under 9 years of age unless our downstairs dining room is unoccupied.