Housing and dining facilities and procedures may be a bit different than described below under COVID-19 regulations.  We will provide you with detailed information via emails.

Weather to Expect

Friday Harbor is typically cool and cloudy; you should be prepared for rain any time of year, and a few days of snow during winter quarter. It is often colder here than people expect, especially at night and on the water—sometimes cold enough for hats and gloves even in summer. However, we do get warm (even hot), sunny days in spring, summer, and autumn.  See average temperatures and rainfall.

Making Arrangements for Housing and Dining

Once you’ve been accepted for the course or program and have confirmed that you are coming, you are guaranteed housing and a full meal plan at FHL. We will provide you with a link to a Student Housing and Dining Survey for you to fill out and submit, so you can let us know your preferences.

Already have a Contract to Stay in UW Seattle Campus Housing (e.g. Dorms)?

FHL housing is not associated with UW Housing and Food Services (HFS), and you will not pay for it through HFS (see How to Pay & Register for further details on payment for your FHL housing). If you have a contract to stay in housing on the UW Seattle campus during your term at FHL, you should cancel it as soon as possible after confirming your attendance at FHL. Because you are enrolling in the equivalent of a UW sponsored study abroad program or internship (for UW credit) that is located outside of commuting distance, you are exempt from paying the housing cancellation fee.

Log into the UW Housing & Food Services (HFS) Application and Assignment Home Page and submit an Agreement Termination Notice (located under the Resident Resources header for the relevant academic year). On the HFS form, when you are asked if you will still be enrolled at UW, answer: “I will be participating in a study abroad/internship.”  When you are asked where you are moving to, select the choice “off-campus house/apartment.”  If you have further questions, contact hfsinfo@u.washington.edu.

FHL will contact UW HFS to notify them of all UW students who will be staying at FHL for a quarter; as long as you have confirmed your attendance with us, we will be sure to provide your name to them. If you are on our list, HFS will not charge you a fee for cancelling your contract with them for the quarter you will be at FHL.

Student Housing at FHL

Under COVID-19 regulations during 2021 spring (as for winter), housing arrangements may be different than described below.

All enrolled students are assigned to standard (usually double occupancy) dorms or huts.  A total of 33 dorm rooms are located in three adjacent, gender-inclusive buildings. Each room contains one or two single beds (regular length), desk space with ample lighting, and two chairs. There are dresser drawers to store your belongings as well as space to hang your clothes. You may wish to bring additional clothes hangers. There are shared bathrooms down the hall: two women’s, one men’s, and one gender-neutral. A hut is a small, rustic, heated, stand-alone building with beds and dressers but no running water; students in huts use the bathrooms a short walk away in the dorms.


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Above: Dorm Building and Room Interior



Above: Hut, outside and in!

Private Rooms

Most students are assigned to a room shared with one other person.  However, private dorm rooms and huts are sometimes available for an additional charge (in 2020: $100 for a 5-week course, $200 for a 10-week course). If you would like a private room, you can request one on the Housing and Dining Survey.  Note that there are usually more requests than we have private rooms, but we will accommodate as many requests as we can.

Family Housing

FHL has limited capacity to house family members of students.  If you would like your family to accompany you, please submit a request as early as possible to FHL Student Services.

Housing Assignments and Roommates

Most students will share a dorm room with a roommate. You will not know your dorm assignment or roommate until you arrive at FHL. However, ahead of time, you and another student may request to share a room together.


Appliances in Dorm Rooms & Huts

Electrical appliances such as refrigerators, hot plates, microwaves and space heaters are not allowed in dorm rooms or huts. Small fans are permitted. Available for student use are a communal refrigerator outside the dorms and a microwave in the Dining Hall.


FHL provides a pillow and light blanket. Students should bring their own sheets and pillowcases.  See the Student Packing List for more information.


The dorm buildings are kept locked, requiring a key code to enter them.  You will receive a key to your dorm room or hut.  A $20 fee is charged for lost keys.


The dorms and huts have no facilities for storing, preparing, or cooking food. Students must subscribe to a full meal plan in the Dining Hall, which serves 20 meals/week at set times of the day. FHL Food Services takes pride in cooking fresh, tasty, and healthful meals for campus residents, and does its best to accommodate special dietary preferences and needs (e.g. vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free). Every meal will include fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as a non-meat main dish. Before you arrive, we’ll ask you about your dietary preferences or restrictions. If you declare yourself vegetarian, you will not have the option of occasionally selecting non-vegetarian entrées; to minimize food waste, the staff must be able to plan on the numbers of meat and meatless dishes needed for each meal.


We have a Laundry Room with coin-operated (quarters) washers and dryers: $2.00 per load of wash and $0.25 for seven minutes of drying cycle (~$1.50 to dry a load).  The laundry room has a coin machine, so you don’t need to pack a bunch of quarters.

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Cats, Dogs, Guinea Pigs, Geckos, and more…

Sorry, but as the FHL campus is a biological preserve, pets are strictly prohibited.

Visitors Staying on Campus

If we have unoccupied housing available, we’ll be happy to rent it to family or friends who are visiting you. To request guest housing, email the FHL Housing Coordinator at least a week in advance.

Transportation on the Island and on Campus

As an FHL course student, you can easily get by without a car or bicycle. The core FHL campus (student housing, lab buildings, Dining Hall, etc.) is relatively small, with short walking distances from one building to another. And the campus is less than a half hour walk from the Town of Friday Harbor. Cars are allowed on campus, and there are no fees or permits required to park at FHL; just let someone in the Front Office know your license number. Bicycles are welcome at FHL (you can bring your own or rent one in town), but are not permitted inside any of the buildings.

One of the best ways to get to town from campus is by rowboat.  You may borrow an FHL rowboat and row yourself to town, after you’ve completed a brief rowboat orientation at the beginning of the term.


Internet & Cell Phone Reception

We have WiFi networks that extend to all housing units, labs and common areas at FHL. Connect to the FHL network only if you are certain your computer’s OS and anti-virus software are up to date, and that file-sharing programs are turned off (or uninstalled). Cell reception is usually good at FHL, although it varies around the island.

Computer Facilities

There are a number of desktop Macintosh and Windows computers available for common use by students. Scanners and printers are also available.

Mail & Packages – Incoming and Outgoing

The U.S. Postal Service, UPS, and Federal Express all deliver to our campus. You can ship packages to yourself at FHL ahead of time, and have things sent to you while you are here. Note that we do not receive mail or packages on the weekends. While you are staying here, you can send outgoing envelopes and packages by US Postal Service (Mail) as long as they are labeled and prepaid (stamps on envelopes; click-and-ship, prepaid labels on packages). Just leave the ready-to-send items on the table outside the stockroom (M-F, 8-5): envelopes can go in the labeled box, packages just out on the table.


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Friday Harbor Labs
620 University Rd.
Friday Harbor, WA 98250

Shops, Facilities, & Services in Friday Harbor

The Town of Friday Harbor is small, but has all the essentials, including:

Two grocery stores
Banks with ATM machines
A post office
Gas stations
Taxi service
Two fitness facilities, one with a pool
A drug store with pharmacy
Two medical clinics
A very small hospital with ER

NOT on island:

Public transportation
Department/Big Box stores


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