San Juan County
San Juan Island
Every day Never Closes
Photo Credit: Bud Hardwick
When you’re ready to leave Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, parking early in the ferry holding lane ends your suspense of getting in line. There are numerous shops and services adjacent to the ferry loading area but what if you’re ready for a break? Though out of sight, Sunken Park is just a basketball bounce up the hill offering a quiet refuge. It provides a nice setting where you can sit and relax in shade, sun or shelter as you desire and as the weather allows. It’s also a great place to let children burn off excess energy that they’ve stored up during a long day of sightseeing.
Walk up the hill from the ferry loading area and cross Harrison Street. Follow the sidewalk to the left, away from town, past the brick storefronts for a mere half block to reach the north stairway entrance down into Sunken Park. Below you a basketball court is centered in grassy areas and lush vegetation. You can walk down into the park or if you’d like, continue to follow the sidewalk around to the other side. There you’ll find a pleasant arrangement of benches and picnic tables perfect for warm sunny days but also a gazebo if the sun’s too intense or there’s a bit of drizzle in the air.
In actuality the park is not so much sunken as remaining in place while the surrounding streets and buildings of Friday Harbor have grown higher. Possibly a natural depression, it may have since been enhanced as both a source of rock for improvements along the shoreline and as a sheltered place for early orchardists to grow their potted stock. Historically it was the location of the big 4th of July celebration but limitations of space and potential fire dangers have moved this event elsewhere.
Frequently you’ll see small groups gathered for a sendoff of family or friends leaving the island. Occasionally a special event may be held here (permits from the Town of Friday Harbor); the park location being especially convenient when including arriving walk-off ferry passengers.
Sunken Park is not just for ferry travelers. It’s a local favorite for pick-up games of basketball, small picnics and a neighborhood park where children can run around to their heart’s content below while parents can watch from their elevated perch if so inclined. Sometimes the park is featured as a starting or waypoint for athletic events including runs and bicycle tours. Even if you’re only visiting Friday Harbor for the day it may be worth bringing a basketball, it could come in handy. One caution; enjoy the park but don’t forgot to watch the time if you’ve parked your vehicle in the ferry holding lane.
In the town of Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Above the state ferry landing between Harrison St. and Nichols St. and bounded by B Street and Churchill Square.
Basketball Courts | Picnic Tables | Shady Areas
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San Juan Islands