Eat And Sleep Your Way through The San Juan Islands

By Natalia Kvitek,

Illuminated by 250 days of sunshine a year, the San Juan Islands, located between Washington State and Canada’s Vancouver Island, are a pocket of sunshine in Puget Sound. This sleepy destination is a hidden vacation gem with abundant wildlife and a friendly laid-back island vibe dotted across its 172 islands and reefs. While life on the islands may be disconnected from the pressures of everyday life, the San Juan Islands have many vibrant communities where you can enjoy world-class accommodation, delicious food and still be awakened by the sound of orcas singing.

Where to Stay on the Islands

Hotels in Friday Harbor

Sun setting over cheerful Friday Harbor. Photo by Kimberly Vardeman CC BY

SNUG HARBOR INN & MARINA

Mitchell Bay

Snug Harbor San Juan Islands

The cozy cottage interior of Snug Harbor. Photo courtesy of Snug Harbor.

Arrive by boat and dock-in at the Snug Harbor Inn & Marina on San Juan Island. Wake up every morning in one of the cabins or suites with views of the waterfront through the expansive glass windows. Breakfast is taken in either your en suite kitchen or at the Inn’s Mitchell Bay Coffee shop, which serves delicious espresso, local pastries and fresh lunch items daily. The Inn also has paddle boards, canoes and bikes available for guests to use.

Stay the night!

Snug Harbor San Juan Island

Take off on a paddleboard or canoe. Photo courtesy of Snug Harbor Inn.

BIRD ROCK HOTEL

Friday Harbor

Accommodation in Friday Harbor

A cozy room at the Bird Rock Hotel. Photo courtesy of the Bird Rock Hotel. 

The intimate and cheerful Bird Rock is a boutique hotel located in the San Juan Island’s hub, Friday Harbor. Start the day with their impressive gourmet continental breakfast spread including scones with butter and fresh jam, cereal, yogurt, eggs and more. Leave your car in the driveway and hop on one of their retro-cruiser bikes (available to borrow for guests) and get ready to explore the incredible island. After a heavy day of adventure, snuggle into a room with views of the Harbor or slip into one of the Jacuzzis. 

Stay the night!

Bird Rock Hotel Friday Harbor

Jump on a retro cruiser and take on the Island roads! Photo courtesy of the Bird Rock Hotel.

ROSARIO RESORT & SPA

Moran Mansion at Rosario Resort

Perched above the bay sits the Rosario Resort. Photo courtesy of San Juan Tourism

The Rosario Resort was built over a hundred years ago by a Seattle shipbuilder in the historic Arts and Crafts style and is perched near the water’s edge of Cascade Bay. You’ll wake up to arresting views of the Rosario Marina from the Harborside rooms. Want to see even further? Stay in the Hillside rooms with a view for miles on clear days. Several of their suites are pet-friendly in case you’re traveling with a furry companion.

Stay the night!

 EARTHBOX INN & SPA

Friday Harbor

Earthbox Inn

The welcoming lush patio of the Earthbox Inn & Spa. Photo courtesy of the Earthbox Inn

The retro chic atmosphere of the Earthbox Inn & Spa is reminiscent of an old motor inn with all the modern conveniences: free in-room WiFi, an indoor pool and sauna and a seasonal coffee and snack shop from which you can enjoy breakfast on their beautiful patio. Again, the Inn encourages guests to hop aboard their single-speed town bikes, strap on a helmet (safety first!) and explore the vibrant town.

Stay the night!

Earthbox Inn & Spa

Purple cruisers are ready to go! Photo courtesy of the Earthbox Inn

Where to Eat on the Islands

Duck Soup Inn

Dining al fresco at the Duck Soup Inn. Photo courtesy of the Duck Soup Inn Facebook Page

With a huge emphasis on local, sustainable, seed-to-table, foraging and innovative, the San Juan Islands are basically a foodie paradise.

THE WILLOWS INN

Lummi Island

Willows Inn Restaurant

Picking their garden bounty for dinner. Photo courtesy of the Willows Inn.

Lummi Island might be a bit out of the way (and not technically part of the San Juan Islands), but once you’ve tasted the offerings of the Willows Inn menu, the time you spent kayaking over to the island will be well worth it. Chef Blaine Wetzel writes “a story about the land,” with a three-hour tasting menu that changes constantly. Recently we’ve spotted local delicacy geoducks, succulents and cucumber, deer tartare and buckwheat donuts. The restaurant has been featured on the MUNCHIES Guide to Washington as well as routinely topping ‘Best Of’ lists.

TOPS’L SEAFOOD BAR

Friday Harbor

Seafood restaurant San Juan Islands

A meal with a view. Photo courtesy of the Tops’l Seafood Bar Facebook page

Chef Kasu San of Tops’l Seafood and Sushi guarantees an incredibly fresh seafood-driven experience in Friday Harbor. With most of their seafood selection locally sourced from the San Juan Islands, expect to try delicacies like roasted garlic crab, baked black cod and all the usual sushi roll suspects.

DUCK SOUP INN

Friday Harbor

Duck Soup Inn

Fresh, seasonal and foraged at the Duck Soup Inn. Photo courtesy of the Duck Soup Inn Facebook page

The Duck Soup Inn is a blend of island rustic and fine dining, specializing in seasonal offerings from the bountiful island foraging. Whether it comes from the sea or comes from the woods, the restaurant brings to it an edgy and delicious twist, making it one of the most popular choices for fine dining on the San Juan Islands.

Van Go’s Pizza

Friday Harbor

Pizza Friday Harbor

Pizza is, with reason, the most favorited food in the world. Photo courtesy of Van Go’s Facebook Page

Discover the secret garden patio at owner-Chef  Daniel Van Hamersfeld’s Van Go’s Pizza. This casual eatery in Friday Harbor serves up some of the best pizza on the San Juan Islands. Take advantage of the proximity of Canada and indulge in the Canadian Bacon pizza or try an Italian classic portabello mushroom and salami variety.

DOE BAY CAFE

Orcas Island

Doe Bay Cafe brunch

Brunch at the Doe Bay Cafe is a must for San Juan Islands’ visitors. Photo courtesy of the Doe Bay Cafe Facebook Page

Ferry over to Orcas Island for the best brunch on the San Juan Islands. Seed-to-table dining ensures the freshest and most local of ingredients for a delectable foodie experience. Their Huevos Rancheros are renowned for their freshness and spice whilst the seasonal french toast appeals to those with a breakfast sweet tooth. Their dinner menu is equally amazing with twists on Seattle beloved classics like Pho and local oysters.

See more Island inspiration here:

The Ultimate Dream Escape To The San Juan Islands

Reconnect With Nature On The San Juan Islands

Explore The Surf And The Turf Of The Florida Keys