Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

Whether you stay at the historic Hotel de Haro, visit from your boat in one of the marina’s 377 slips or anchor out, or spend an afternoon exploring the tiny village and its environs, Roche Harbor and its setting will capture your heart.

Taking in the View

The views from the yellow-brick road of old kiln-fired bricks, from the fragrant flowering arbor, or from a path above the town are the kind that make painters reach for their easel and watercolors. Enjoy a meal in one of three waterfront restaurants (one on the dock itself), watch the evening flag ceremony during the summer (complete with cannon salute and recorded U.S., British and Canadian national songs), or gasp at the size of some of the vessels in the Roche Harbor Resort marina.

Exploring

Step into history on a self-guided tour, which might start at the hotel, named for Spanish explorer Gonzalo López de Haro, perhaps the first European to discover the San Juan Islands. The building dates from 1886, when the village became a company town for John McMillin’s lime works (remnants of the lime kilns are still there, along with the now-scenic quarries). Past the tiny 1892 Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel, the San Juan Islands Museum of Art Sculpture Park, and the pioneer cemetery, you can hike up to the imposing Romanesque McMillin family mausoleum.

After this warm-up, you might explore some of the 6.3 miles of hiking trails around the Roche Harbor quarries and through the forestland around the resort. Or enjoy a swim in the only heated outdoor pool on the island. You can also sign up for kayak and whale-watching tours.

And then . . .

Treat yourself to the steamrooms, hydrotherapy, massage, or other personal pampering at the Afterglow Spa in Quarryman Hall, fine dining at McMillin’s Dining Room on the water, or a more casual meal at the waterside Madrona Bar and Grill or the Lime Kiln Cafe.

From June to Labor Day, stroll through the artist kiosks in the village center to discover hand-made pieces by local artists. It’s a showcase of island talent, from watercolor, oil painting, and photography to jewelry, hand knits, and candies.