Best Northwest Lake Getaways: Lakedale

At this San Juan Island spot, prepare for an experience right out of 'Dirty Dancing.'

By Jess Thomson August 8, 2017


This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Seattle Magazine.

Check out the rest of our 26 Best Lakeside Getawways in the Northwest here.

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.

Insider Tip
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.

The Coordinates
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


Join The Must List

Seattle's best events delivered to your inbox

Follow Us

Seattle Avalanche Center Keeps an Eye on Hazards

Seattle Avalanche Center Keeps an Eye on Hazards

Avalanche forecasting is a blend of science and art

A mass of heavy snow slides down a 40-degree mountain slope, hissing as it gains speed and momentum. The concrete-like mix comes to a slow stop along Highway 2 near Stevens Pass, completely blocking the road from vehicular traffic and knocking over large Douglas fir trees, upturning boulders and causing destruction in its wake.  For…

Sagecliffe Offers Some Welcome Sunshine

Sagecliffe Offers Some Welcome Sunshine

Sagecliffe Resort and Spa unites people and nature

For savvy Seattleites, the secret is out: Winter snowbirds in search of sunshine don’t have to fly south in winter — they can also drive east. A quick trip over Snoqualmie Pass opens a world of possibilities for vitamin D-deprived city dwellers, from Suncadia to Spokane. For turnkey sun and relaxation just two-and-a-half hours away,…

Travel Destination: Palm Springs

Travel Destination: Palm Springs

How to make the most of a trip to Palm Springs

“The desert tells a different story every time one ventures on it.” — Robert Edison Fulton Jr. Everything about Palm Springs defies easy description. It is both the name of a city and a catch-all term for the small towns scattered along the vast Coachella Valley, from Cabazon to Indio. It evokes hedonism, as well…

Explore Washington State's Outdoor Treks

Explore Washington State’s Outdoor Treks

Explore These Backcountry Treks This Winter

November in Seattle means you can count on a few things; Seahawks games, the start of holiday gatherings and rain. The long days of summer, with perfect weather that makes living in this region so worth it, are long behind us. Darkness has set in. Wetness has enveloped our city. It’s easy to get the…