Island Experience

Girlfriends' Getaway to the San Juans

When it’s time to escape everyday responsibilities and get away with your best buds, the islands are a welcome retreat

Written by:

Amy Nesler

A destination that feels like nowhere else in the Northwest, the San Juans are perfect for getting away with good friends. Whether it’s a weekend of bliss at one of the spas, or a rough-and-tumble adventure with tents and kayaks, the islands are a wonderful memory-making adventure.
 

Earthbox Inn & Spa, Friday Harbor, San Juan Island
Afterglow Spa, Roche Harbor Resort, San Juan Island

 

Spa Weekend on San Juan Island

Feel the tension lift when you book a stay at Roche Harbor Resort and Spa, a world unto itself on the west side of San Juan Island. Unwind with a pre-treatment bath before indulging in one of the many body treatments and facials.  If the spirit moves you, go for a leisurely day kayak paddle. It’s a great way to see the landscape, and depending on the month, the orcas or other marine wildlife might join you. You can always melt any aches and pains away with a hot stone massage afterwards.

If you’d rather stay closer to the city, perhaps Earthbox Inn and Spa is right for you. Relax and renew with body wraps, fruit peels, a facial, and still get out and about on the town. Earthbox is steps away from downtown Friday Harbor and a variety of art galleries, boutiques, restaurants, and more. 

Lime Kiln Point State Park, San Juan Island
Eagle, San Juan Island

 

Outdoor Adventure on San Juan Island

Looking to get back to nature but dread the thought of sleeping on the ground? Try glamping! Deluxe canvas cabins at Lakedale Resort feature a cozy queen-size bed with a hot water bottle provided at night to keep those toes toasty warm. Then you’ll be rested and ready to take on all kinds of adventure. Young Hill isn’t too far, and the view from the top is stunning – the other San Juans, Vancouver Island, and the snow-capped Olympic Mountains. On clear days you can catch a glimpse of snowy Mt. Rainier as well.  

If you’re looking for wildlife, try an easier hike along the shores and bluffs of Lime Kiln Point State Park and watch for seals, porpoises, and depending on the time of year, orcas. Should the whales prove elusive, there’s always the option of a whale-and-wildlife tour. Besides the orca pods, humpbacks, grays, and minke whales can be found cruising through the Salish Sea. Round out the adventure with a glide through the trees and over a lake on the only zip line tour in the San Juans.

Rosario Resort & Spa, Orcas Island
New Leaf Cafe, Orcas Island

 

Oasis on Orcas Island

If you’re looking to unplug from everyday stress and recharge your internal batteries, perhaps one of the spas on Orcas Island is right for you. Historic Rosario Resort and Spa is right next door to Moran State Park, perfect for getting in touch with your inner forest nymph. If it’s your inner flower child you’d like to let loose, try Doe Bay Resort and Retreat. Rejuvenate with yoga, massage, and perhaps a soak in the clothing-optional hot tubs followed by a garden-fresh world-class meal (most of the ingredients are grown right on the property). Keeping in the spirit of tranquility, try a leisurely half-day kayak trip or whale-watch cruise and experience the pelagic perspective the islands are known for. If you can tear yourself away, it’s only a short drive into Eastsound to find out why the islands are also called the ‘gourmet archipelago’ with a variety of farm-to-table dining opportunities to choose from.

Mt. Constitution, Moran State Park, Orcas Island
Kayaking, San Juan Outfitters

 

Orcas Island Adventures

The wooded acres of Moran State Park on Orcas are a nature lover’s haven, whether you’re pitching a tent or glamping in a yurt. The over 30 miles of trails have something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a morning ramble down to Cascade Falls, or an energetic sunrise run up to the summit of Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the islands. If you want to get away from the crowds, hike through Obstruction Pass State Park, a sheltered nook on the eastern side of Orcas. The mile-long hike ends in the longest beach on Orcas, and one of the San Juans’ most unusual – a crescent of smooth pebbles in every color of the rainbow. Feeling extra adventurous? Take a multi-day kayak trip out to one of the smaller San Juan Islands, like Patos or Sucia. You can always offset the adrenaline with a shopping spree in downtown Eastsound. If it’s a Saturday, the farmers market on the Village Green is a must-stop, with offerings from fresh produce to handmade soap and sea glass jewelry.

Lopez Island Vineyards & Winery, Lopez Island
Midnight's Farm, Lopez Island

 

Farm & Village on Lopez Island

Leave city life behind for a weekend at the farm. Bask in the tranquility on Lopez Island, you can stay at Midnight's Farm, and visit other local farms such as Sunnyfield Farm for artisan goat cheese or Horse Drawn Farms for meat and produce. Or, stay at the charming  Lopez Cabins & Tent Camping and create a feast from the freshest of ingredients from Blossom Grocery in Lopez Village – grown or raised steps from your front door. The  Edenwild Boutique Inn is in Lopez Village, and within walking distance to cafes and quaint shops. Rent a bicycle and pedal to some of Lopez Island's stunning beaches and forest trails. Top off the perfect vacation with a glass of wine  from Lopez Island Vineyard & Winery and toast a successful getaway with your girlfriends.

 

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Amy Nesler recently moved to Friday Harbor from Colorado to join the staff at the San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau. An aspiring naturalist with a background in sustainable tourism and environmental education, she can often be found in her off time volunteering out at Lime Kiln Point State Park, waiting for the whales.