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San Juan Island’s cozy Lakedale Resort—just 5 miles from where the ferry docks at Friday Harbor—lets you experience three small island lakes in whatever style fits your crew best: in family-friendly cabins with full kitchens, in canvas glamping “cottages,” in the adults-only lodge or even in your own tent. It’s campy—think Dirty Dancing without the dancing lessons, but with the full-on activities tent—yet there’s no better place to unwind, learn to fish and stare at nature without the distraction of pesky cell service.
When we arrived on an unseasonably rainy day for a stay in Cabin 2, it was hard not to feel disappointed by the weather. But by dinnertime (we picked up hot dogs and a s’mores kit at the resort’s cute general store to cook over our outdoor fire pit), the weather cleared, and our 7-year-old had discovered two life-size outdoor chessboards and a lake well stocked with rainbow trout. By day three, Lakedale had become our new world, the kind where no one cares how many days your hair has been in a ponytail, you read books sprawled out on a lawn by a lake and at night, you catch yourself dancing with complete strangers.
While some accommodations come with breakfast, it’s worth the short, windy drive back into Friday Harbor for croissant-dough cinnamon rolls and good coffee at Cafe Demeter. Grab a sourdough baguette and a bottle of wine while you’re there, then step across the street to the new San Juan Island Cheese for an excellent picnic selection. And, well, if you happen to be in town for happy hour, don’t miss the thick duck fat fries at the restaurant at Friday Harbor House.
While you can’t book specific cabins or campsites, you can suggest specific spots in the notes section of the online booking system. Book early for Campsite 30, Cottage 6 or for legit vintage style, the Airstream trailer.
GETTING THERE: Total travel time to Lakedale Resort from Seattle, including a one-and-a-half-hour drive north to Anacortes and a ferry ride to San Juan Island, is about four hours.
Lakedale Resort, 4313 Roche Harbor Road; 360.378.2350; . From $50 for campsites, $179 for canvas cabins, $290 for lodge rooms, $459 for log cabins.
Cafe Demeter, 80 Nichols St.; 360.370.5443
San Juan Island Cheese, 155 Nichols St.; 360.370.5115
The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House, 130 West St.; 360.378.8455