Have you ever sat down and tried to plan the “Perfect Vacation”? If you have, you know that it can be challenging, even stressful in the same way that finding that “Perfect Gift” for a loved one’s birthday, anniversary or holiday event can be. For some, the planets and stars align just for them and the ideas jump right into their laps. That’s great for them, but the rest of us mortals usually have to do a lot of research by looking at websites, reading travel blogs or magazines, and asking friends and co-workers for advice before we land on that great vacation idea. And that’s exactly what you’re doing right now, so we’re happy to share some of our thoughts with you!
We think it would be fair to assume that, since you’re here, you’re thinking of visiting San Juan Island, right? Great, we’ve got the location locked in! And you thought this was going to be hard. For the next part, we like to do a little exercise that involves a little drawing (think stick figures, not the Mona Lisa). Grab a piece of paper and draw a simple triangle, right in the middle of the page. Now write the following three words, one at each corner of the triangle: “Stay”, “Eat”, and “Play”. When you’re planning the perfect vacation, you’ll need somewhere to stay, somewhere to eat, and something to do. The formula is really that simple! We’ll give you our recommendations in reverse order for extra drama and suspense.
Now that you’re locked into San Juan Island as your destination, what do you do when you get here? Well, if you’re like us you enjoy being outdoors, seeing wildlife, and experiencing new things that you don’t normally do on a day to day basis, and we’ve got a couple of recommendations that fit that mold perfectly!
The waters surrounding San Juan Island are the #1 place in North America to see wild orca whales, and San Juan Safaris is in the perfect place to provide you with the thrill of seeing them in their natural habitat. San Juan Safaris has been offering the highest quality whale watching tours, with a focus on guest experience and respectful wildlife viewing, for over 20 years. San Juan Safaris works closely with conservation groups to monitor the locations of the orcas and, with the help of their fast boats and experienced captains, they enjoy a 95% whale sighting success rate during peak season, which is higher than any other tour operator!
Of course, these tours end up being much more than taking a boat ride out to look at whales. Every San Juan Safaris tour is accompanied by a marine naturalist who will help you develop a deeper appreciation for the environment and wildlife of our islands. They’re part teacher, part environmental advocate, and part entertainer. Their passion and enthusiasm will have you laughing while you learn, and you’ll leave your tour with a smile on your face and memories of a day you’ll never forget!
In addition to our fantastic whale watching opportunities, the San Juan Islands are one of the top sea kayaking destinations in the world. And because Lakedale only recommends the best of the best, we’re going to point you towards what is widely considered to be San Juan Island’s premier sea kayak tour company: San Juan Outfitters. Their reputation is a product of over a decade of the highest level of guest service combined with a variety of tour options that you just won’t find with another operator.
Got kids? Even better! San Juan Outfitters is the only sea kayaking tour company that specializes in family tours with K-12 educators on staff. These tours provide an opportunity for families with children as young as 6 years old to experience tide pools, paddle with harbor seals, and interact with the flora and fauna that call this region their home, all in a safe environment with minimum exposure. If you’re not traveling with children don’t worry, because they offer 3 hour (half day) and 5 hour (full day) tours with professional and knowledgeable guides that are sure to bring out your inner-kiddo! And while San Juan Outfitters is best known for the tours that we just mentioned, they’re the best for overnight, multi-day and custom kayak tours to boot!
We don’t know about you, but being out and about all day, enjoying all that Mother Nature offers, makes us hungry. You’ve experienced the best San Juan Island sights and sounds, so now it’s time to complete the sensory cycle by experiencing the best smells and tastes. It’s dinner time!
Four and a half miles outside of Friday Harbor, and just across the road from Lakedale, Duck Soup is a comfortable country restaurant that serves fresh, sophisticated Northwest cuisine. Comfortable booths, a fieldstone fireplace, and a beautiful seasonal deck and stone fire pit lounge create an atmosphere that is simultaneously cozy, relaxing, and elegant. Duck Soup’s ambiance and friendly service give it a legitimate “cabin in the woods” feel. Trust us; we know a thing or two about cabins in the woods.
Duck Soup’s menu features local farm produce, meat and seafood, foraged edibles from land and sea, and local goods made by island crafts people. Don’t forget their handcrafted and balanced cocktails, which feature spirits from local distilleries, local seasonal produce, and wild harvested island botanicals. If you really enjoy food, and you’re in search of a uniquely San Juan Island dining experience, a visit to Duck Soup is an absolute must!
Something to do: Check! Somewhere to eat: Check! All that’s left is to find a place for you to call home while you’re away from home. Drumroll please…
You didn’t think we were going to tell you to stay somewhere else, did you? We’d probably recommend us, even if we weren’t us! Seriously though, whether you’re traveling with friends and family, your significant other, or even solo for some special you time, Lakedale has a variety of unique accommodation options that will fit neatly into just about everyone’s idea of a “Perfect Vacation”. Located on 82 acres of lakes, meadows and forest, Lakedale is less than 5 miles from the ferry dock in Friday Harbor, so you’ll be able to escape the hustle and bustle of town while still being close enough for easy access to activities, restaurants, and shopping. Although, with our General Store, Activities Tent, fishing, boating, and outdoor games, you might just decide to stay, eat, and play right at Lakedale!
For our guests that are looking for a more “traditional” experience, we recommend one of our Lodge Rooms for adults, or one of our real Log Cabins for families. If you’re interested in something unique, a real fusion of connection with nature and some of the comforts of home, then we encourage you to try one of our Canvas Cabins or Canvas Cottages, or our vintage Airstream. You could even take it a step further and brag to your friends about how you stayed in one of our new Yurts, and had WiFi and your own hot tub in the middle of the woods!
And there you have it: the perfect San Juan Island getaway. Now, we may not be able to help you with that perfect gift for your loved one’s…wait a minute…do you think your loved one would enjoy a vacation? It’s almost not fair how easy island life is, right? Give us a call at Lakedale and we’ll do all the work for you!