Friday Harbor Laboratories

Frequently Asked Questions about FHL

How can I place long-distance telephone or fax calls?

Most students bring cell phones. On the FHL campus, cell phone signal strength varies from mediocre (inland) to reasonably strong (near the water). To make a long-distance call on an FHL phone, you may use your telephone calling card, credit card, or call collect. There is a fax machine in the Main Office, upstairs in the Fernal Lab (the main building on campus). Faxes may be received for free at 206-543-1273. There is a charge for outgoing faxes: 10 cents per page within the country, 25 cents per page for faxes sent to an international number.

How can I be reached by phone while I am at Friday Harbor?

Phone calls may be received at Friday Harbor Laboratories (206-616-0699 or 360-378-2165) or you may bring a cell phone. Phone messages received in the Main Office are relayed via email. The Main Office is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Email and internet are both available 24 hours per day; common use computers are available.

What kind of housing and eating facilities are there at Friday Harbor?

Shared dorm rooms are provided for students. People living in dorms must subscribe to the Dining Hall service. If you live off-campus you may, if you wish, subscribe to individual meals or the whole board plan. Dining Hall service for students usually begins with dinner on the day before classes begin (rooms are usually available for check in after 3:00 p.m.).

Our Dining Hall does its best to accommodate people who prefer vegetarian dishes. However, the Dining Hall does not have the flexibility to provide for all types of vegetarian diets, so if you are strict vegan we suggest you bring a protein supplement with you. There will always be fresh vegetables and fruits, and a non-meat main dish. If you declare yourself a vegetarian, you will not have the option to select the non-vegetarian dishes at random because, to minimize food waste, Dining Hall staff need to prepare known numbers of meat and meatless meals. You will have the opportunity to note your eating preference (meat or meatless meals) at your first meal.

Bring your own bedding if possible. If you are unable to bring your own linens, a limited number of bed kit rentals is available ($5 per week); bed kit rentals include two sheets, one pillowcase and one towel, exchanged weekly for clean items. A pillow and blanket are furnished to all students at no charge.

Please do not bring electrical appliances; cooking is not allowed in the dorms. Students wishing to bring families or pets with them must find housing off-campus.

May I bring my pet with me?

The campus of Friday Harbor Labs is a biological preserve. As a result, deer, rabbits, foxes and other mammals wander without fear of predators. Pets of any kind are not permitted at the Labs. There is a boarding kennel on the island if you wish to board your pets.

Should I bring my bicycle to Friday Harbor Labs?

Bringing your bicycle is a good idea. Outside storage for bikes is provided with some shelter; bicycles are not permitted inside any of the buildings. Security is generally not a problem at FHL. If you have a particular concern for your bicycle under these conditions, we suggest you leave it at home. There are two places in Friday Harbor from which to rent bikes:
Surina Business Park: 360-378-4555
Island Bicycles: 360-378-4941

How do I get my mail at Friday Harbor?

If you wish, the U.S. Postal Service will forward first class mail from your existing address to FHL (Friday Harbor Laboratories, 620 University Rd. Friday Harbor, WA. 98250). Please do not change addresses for your magazine subscriptions, however, since we'll continue to receive them long after you depart.

Mail is distributed at FHL once a day in mid afternoon, Monday through Friday, to the shared lettered mailboxes in the foyer of Fernald Lab (the main building). There is no mail call on Saturday or Sunday. Outgoing mail leaves FHL once a day at ~11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. There is an outgoing mail slot in the foyer of Fernald (at the end of the wooden mailboxes) and in the FHL Main Office.

What kind of clothing should I bring?

Friday Harbor is typically warm and sunny in summer, with chilly nights, and cool and often cloudy or rainy in spring and autumn, although we enjoy a considerable number of warm, sunny spring days as well as an extended summer often into early October. In all seasons bring clothing suitable for chilly temperatures and rain, including perhaps a hat and gloves, as well as some lighter clothing; layering works well here. It is often colder than visitors expect. Please also bring clothing suitable for foul weather field work, i.e. sturdy rain gear, rubber knee-high wading boots, etc.

How do I get to Friday Harbor?

Directions to Friday Harbor

SCHEDULED COMMUTER FLIGHTS: Kenmore Air has regularly scheduled flights on wheeled planes (from Boeing Field near Seattle) and on float planes (from Lake Union in Seattle) to Friday Harbor. Kenmore Air provides a complimentary shuttlebus from Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SeaTac) to Boeing Field or Lake Union; contact Kenmore Air for details about ground transportation, flight schedules and reservations: 1-800-543-9595.

WASHINGTON STATE FERRY: Anacortes, from which the ferry leaves for Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, is an 80 mile drive north from Seattle and takes about 1.5 or 2 hours to drive. Take the Burlington/Anacortes exit off of I-5. You may bring your car on the ferry (reservations are highly recommended to bring a car) or walk on the ferry without a car (no reservation needed for walk-on passengers). The Washington State Ferry toll-free number within Washington state is: 1-800-84-FERRY, and out of state is: 206-464-6400. The Washington State Ferry schedule can be found on the internet at:

The Sea-Tac Anacortes Airporter Shuttle provides scheduled van service from Sea-Tac Airport to the ferry terminal in Anacortes. Check the schedule carefully to be sure you arrive at the Anacortes ferry landing in plenty of time to catch a ferry to Friday Harbor. Call 1-866-235-5247 for reservations. You may then board the ferry to Friday Harbor in Anacortes as a walk-on passenger. Schedules and rates for the Aiporter Shuttle (from SEA to ANA, Sea-Tac Airport to Anacortes and the ferry to the San Juan Islands) can be found at:

Island Airporter also provides van service once per day Monday through Saturday (it does not operate on Sundays) from Friday Harbor to SeaTac Airport and return. The van departs Friday Harbor at 5:45 a.m. and departs SeaTac Airport at noon. Call 360-378-7438 or visit their website:

CHARTERED SMALL PLANE: Charter flights are charged per flight rather than per person, so if you can arrange to fly together with one or more other people it may be less expensive than a regularly scheduled flight (through Kenmore Air). There are two airline charter companies in the area: Westwind Aviation - click on link at left or call 360-378-6991 or 360-317-5331, or Island Air - click on link at left or call (360) 378-2376 or (888) 378-2376.


What kind of transportation is available on the island?

There is taxi service but no public transportation.

The airport in Friday Harbor is located about 2 miles from Friday Harbor Labs. The seaplane dock is near the ferry landing in the town of Friday Harbor, about 1 mile from FHL. You can call for a taxi but can often get a ride from someone from the airport, float plane dock or ferry landing just by asking.

San Juan Taxi: 360-378-3550
Bob's Taxi: 360-378-6777

The distance from Friday Harbor Labs to the town of Friday Harbor is approximately a mile and a half; many people walk. There is very limited parking on campus for automobiles; many residents find bicycles useful. It is also possible to row an FHL rowboat to town.

How may I ship my belongings to Friday Harbor?

UPS, Federal Express and the US Postal Service deliver to our campus.

What else should I bring that might be useful while I'm at the Labs?

Our stockroom sells basic school supplies such as notebooks, pencils, paper, and lab supplies. (As required by the Unviersity of Washington, a fee of 15.6% is applied to all purchases.) You might want to bring a flashlight and a camera. For stockroom questions you may email:

How do I get to the Labs once I am on the island?

Coming from the ferry, follow the ferry traffic into town on Spring Street (the main street in Friday Harbor). Drive 2 blocks and turn right onto Second Street. Drive about four blocks and turn right onto Tucker Avenue at the second stop sign (opposite the High School tennis courts). Follow Tucker about 4 blocks and at the top of the hill, the road forks. There is a green and white sign for Friday Harbor Laboratories. Take the right fork, which is University Road, and follow it 0.3 miles into campus.

Where do we go when we first arrive to the Labs?

Upon your arrival to FHL please check in at the first building to your right as you enter campus, the Fernald Lab. Your room assignment will be listed on the bulletin board outside the door to the Main Office or, for students, on a table set up in the foyer. Maps of the campus and the island will be provided, as well as some other helpful information for that first day at FHL.

What are the laundry facilities like?

There are coin operated washers and dryers. Machines cost $2.00 per wash and 25 cents per each seven minutes to dry. The laundry room includes irons, ironing boards and a quarter machine.

May I bring my car?

Yes, however there is limited parking space on campus. Parking permits are not required and there is no parking fee. Bikes are encouraged. If you bring your car please email your license plate number to:

What is furnished in the dorm rooms?

Each dorm room contains single beds (regular length), desk space with ample lighting and 2 chairs. There are dresser drawers to store your belongings along with space to hang your clothes.

Will I know who my roommate will be prior to my arrival to the Labs?

No. You will not know your dorm assignments or roommates until your arrival to the Labs. However, if you would like to room with a particular person, please let us know in advance. We will do our best to accommodate your request.