26 May Lime Kiln State Park
Lime Kiln State Park is one of the most visited destinations in all of the San Juan Islands. Why is that you may ask? The answer really is very simply Killer Whales or Orcas if you prefer. Who is not fascinated by this amazing species, an apex predator that resides at the top of the food chain, and found in waters everywhere on earth. Lime Kiln State Park is known for being one of the best places in the world to see these magnificent creatures as they swim by, sometimes spotted as close as 20 feet to the shoreline. Besides Orcas you may get lucky and see Minke whales, porpoises, seals, sea lions, and otters cruising not far offshore.
The peak whale-watching season is May – September, with June and July being the most likely months to see whales. Unfortunately when we visited in early May there were no sightings to be seen. But the Park is still worth the trip as it is beautifully situated along the Haro Strait with breathtaking views of Vancouver Island to the west and The Olympic Range towering into the clouds to the south.
The Lime Kiln Point Interpretive Center, converted from an old Coast Guard garage, features Orca statues, a replica of an Orca dorsal fin, and interactive displays and activities to educate visitors about these stunning creatures. The center also offers interpretive features focusing on the mining of lime in the old lime kiln for which the park was named.
The Lime Kiln Lighthouse and two adjacent lighthouse keepers’ quarters were built in 1919. Tours of the Lighthouse run from mid-May until mid-September from 7 p.m. until sunset. Maps of the hiking trails that run throughout the the thirty-six acre park are located at the Park entrance and include 0.2 miles of ADA hiking trails and 1.6 miles of additional trails. The trail along the water is well maintained with picnic tables scattered along it’s length and lined with beautiful Pacific Madrone trees that are magnificent and romantic and capture both the eye and the imagination. This is a peaceful place to sit and relax while continually scanning the waters for that mystical iconic black dorsal fin that draws one here to witness.
San Juan Island
1567 West Side Rd, Friday Harbor, WA