How to Make the Most of a Romantic San Juan Island Getaway
When it comes to romance, nothing says you’re important more than undivided attention. A romantic San Juan Island getaway is the perfect opportunity to savor a moment just the two of you.
Because there’s something special about getting beyond the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Something magical about checking the pressures of work at the dock, forgetting about the laundry, and letting the sitter handle the kids.
So block out some time on the calendar and use these tips to make the most of your romantic San Juan Island getaway!
Pick a Romantic Place to Stay
Ultimately where you stay in the San Juan Islands is nothing compared to who you stay with. But, it sure doesn’t hurt when your hotel or B&B brings a some ambiance to the moment.
Tucked into the hillside of Friday Harbor, Harrison House Suites offers peek-a-boo water views and a convenient location for strolling through town. The exquisite multi-course breakfast served daily doesn’t hurt either! The cobblestone walkways and lush gardens (even during the winter) will take you back in time at Roche Harbor Resort. Those looking for some low-key adventure will love the resorts close proximity to San Juan Island’s afterglow vista hike and the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park. Offering more of an ‘on your own’ vibe, Snug Harbor Resort’s private suites give you the incredible serenity of private outdoor spaces and fully equipped kitchens so you can relax on your own terms.
At Orcas Island’s Doe Bay Resort, life moves a little slower — thanks to their seed-to-table restaurant and clothing-optional spa. At Rosario Resort you’ll find ‘island time’ infused with elegance. The resort’s 1909 mission-style mansion has been painstakingly restored and preserved, giving you a taste of high-class luxury by the sea. And for those who want to be a little more in the action, while still enjoying fabulous service and a quaint setting, Outlook Inn is the place to be. Nestled at the edge of Eastsound — Orcas’ biggest town — the inn is just steps from the waterfront, shops, restaurants, and more.
On Lopez Island, The Edenwild’s Victorian-style farmhouse overlooks Fisherman Bay. In addition to on-site bike rentals and scratch-made pastries, this intimate B&B’s spacious rooms are outfitted with antique touches like claw-foot tubs and brick fireplaces.
Savor Dinner at an Indulgent Restaurant
Photo by Portia Smith
Fondly dubbed a ‘gourmet archipelago,’ chefs in the San Juan Islands have a particular affinity for clean flavors and comfortable settings. With access to some of the freshest ingredients a chef could want — literally, these culinary masterminds are often working with good harvested that day from the waters and gardens just outside their door — menus range from traditional to inventive.
Orcas Island’s Hogstone, and its upscale sister Alder, are known for ambitious twists on common cuisine. This is thanks to award-winning chef Jay Blackinton’s all-local menus where you’ll find a riot of seasonal flavors and textures. At New Leaf Café, chef Steve Debaste draws on his French heritage, redefining ‘hotel fare’ with his accessible small plate selection.
Salivating taste buds from the moment it opened, Ursa Minor has shown a spotlight on the San Juan Islands’ most often over-looked jewel — Lopez Island. The menu here teeters between upscale (thanks to its impeccably well-developed flavors) and down-home (thanks to its approachable and friendly environment).
Over on San Juan Island, Duck Soup Inn rests like a hidden gem in its forested refugee outside of Friday Harbor. The menu, heavily influenced by foraging and locally sourced ingredients, changes as quickly as the garden’s harvest — ensuring whatever you order will be delightful.
Take a Leisurely Stroll
If you want to work up a sweat, you’ll find a few hikes in the San Juan Islands that offer some bigger elevation gains. Most are located on Orcas Island, home to Mount Constitution, the tallest peak in the San Juans.
But often when you’re in the mood for romance, a more low-key leg stretch is what the weekend calls for. On San Juan Island, the gentle trails at Lime Kiln State Park offer iconic views. Particularly delightful are the cliffs beside Lime Kiln Lighthouse, one of the best land-based whale watching destinations in the world.
Orcas Island’s Cascade Falls hike is just three miles. It takes you through a sun-dappled forest grove and a 40-foot waterfall. The waterfall is particularly impressive during the rainy season when its stream-fed waters flow at full force.
Lopez Island’s 80-acre Hummel Lake preserve offers easy trails through the surrounding woods. A favorite for birdwatchers, you’ll find a plethora of fine-feathered friends in the = preserve’s diverse habitats ranging from shoreline and wetland to meadow and forest.
Make Breakfast a Priority
Many of the best places to stay on San Island, Orcas Island and Lopez Island offer delightful complimentary breakfasts — which we highly recommend you savor. But if you’re looking to mix things up a bit or are in need of morning substance, the San Juan islanders are no stranger to a fabulous early-morning meal.
On Orcas, you’ll find exquisite pastries ranging from buttery kouign-amanns to flaky croissants at Brown Bear Baking. For a sit-down affair, the wholesome goodness at Rose’s Café is a meal worth lingering over. Especially delightful are their baked eggs which are delicately cooked in a bed of aged Gruyere and cream.
Over on San Juan Island, locals know Café Demeter’s selection of morning goods is not to be missed — especially the daily ‘pizza’ which changes based on what’s looking best that day.
And last, but definitely not least, Holly B’s Bakery on Lopez has been a celebration of love and butter for more than 40 years. They serve both their long-loved favorites, including a cinnamon roll recipe that’s as old as the bakery, and inventive twists like a savory Reuben Roll stuffed with pastrami and local sauerkraut.
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