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Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

Roche Harbor is a world all its own. It invites you to slow down and appreciate the simple life. Whether you stay at the historic Hotel de Haro, visit from your boat in one of the marina’s 377 slips, or spend an afternoon exploring the tiny village and its environs, Roche Harbor will capture your heart.

Step into history at the historic hotel, named for Spanish explorer Gonzalo López de Haro, perhaps the first European to discover the San Juan Islands. The hotel dates back to 1886 when the village served as a company town for John McMillin’s lime works (remnants of the lime kilns are still visible, along with the now-scenic quarries). Past the tiny 1892 Our Lady of Good Voyage chapel, the San Juan Islands 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 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 that leave from the marina.

Old kiln-fired brick roads wind around the expansive grounds and offer unparalleled views of the marina and outer islands. From the fragrant flowering arbor, or from a path above the town, you'll find lookouts 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 U.S., British and Canadian national songs), or gasp at the size of some of the vessels in the resort's marina.

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