DETAILS: San Juan Islands

Sunday, July 27, 2008

GETTING THERE: Washington State Ferries' vessels to the San Juan Islands depart from Anacortes, Wash., about 90 miles from Seattle, on Fidalgo Island. To reach Anacortes from Seattle, you can drive Interstate 5 north to Route 20 west, or take an alternate route that incorporates two boat rides: Edmonds to Kingston ($14.45 one way for car and driver, $6.70 for passenger only) on the Kitsap Peninsula, then Port Townsend to Keystone on Whidbey Island ($11.15 car and driver, $2.60 passenger). The Anacortes terminal is at the end of 12th Street, off Route 20.

Ferry fares around the San Juan Islands vary and are sold as round-trip tickets. For example, round-trip fare from Anacortes to Friday Harbor starts at $46.15 for car and driver, $11.85 for passenger only. Prices drop in mid-October.


Lopez Island

Lopez's lodging options are limited yet eclectic, ranging from a sleigh bed at a B&B to a futon at a campsite. On the cushy end is the Mackaye Harbor Inn (949 MacKaye Harbor Rd., 888-314-6140,, which dates from 1904 and features five rooms with water views. Guests get free use of mountain bikes and evening chocolates with tea and coffee; kayak rentals are also offered, so you can jump out of bed and paddle away. Rooms from $135 a night. For a more rustic experience, Lopez Farm Cottages (555 Fisherman Bay Rd., 800-440-3556, offers cottages and camping on 30 acres of forest and fields. The cottages are fully kitted out, with kitchens, porches, fireplaces -- and in Cottage 1, a hot tub. (The other guests have to share a communal hot tub.) Rates from $120, including a breakfast basket delivered to your door. Campers can rough it or not: the Camp Nest ($75) is a carpeted tent with a queen-size futon, a cooler and a pantry, and a hammock outside. The Lopez Islander Bay Resort (2864 Fisherman Bay Rd., 360-468-2233, is like a small, self-contained city, with 30 waterfront rooms, a marina, a restaurant and the Tiki Lounge. Rates from $135.

Shaw Island

Hope you like the great outdoors: The only accommodations are 12 primitive (read: non-flush toilets) wooded and waterfront campsites at the 64-acre Shaw Island County Park (Squaw Bay Road, 360-378-1842, Rates from $14 for up to four visitors and one vehicle.

Orcas Island

The Rosario Spa and Resort (1400 Rosario Rd., 800-562-8820,, an expansion of the early-1900s mansion of former Seattle mayor Robert Moran, still retains many of its upper-crust airs. The secluded property has a pool overlooking Cascade Bay, a spa, a marina with sailboat tours, a high-end restaurant and a museum that details Moran's good life. Rates from $119. For a place of your own, Smugglers Villa Resort (North Beach Road, 800-488-2097, rents two-bedroom condo units and townhouses with the full setup, including deck with grill, fireplace and washer/dryer. Guests have access to a pebble beach with island views, tennis courts, hot tub/sauna and more. From $139. Closer to the main downtown area of Eastsound, the Kangaroo House B&B (Prune Alley, 888-371-2175, offers five guest rooms named after birds, plus breakfasts so generous that they might spoil your lunch. Rates from $130.

San Juan Island

Friday Harbor, the island's hopping downtown, is chockablock with accommodations, including the Friday Harbor House (130 West St., 866-722-7356,; from $150), which features 23 sea-air-fresh rooms with boutique-y touches. On the opposite end of the island, the Dragonfly Inn (4770 Roche Harbor Rd., 360-378-4280, brings the East westward with its Japanese theme. Rooms start at $175 and include an Asian fusion breakfast. For those on a budget, the Wayfarer's Rest (35 Malcolm St., 360-378-6428,{tilde}wayfarersrest), near the ferry terminal, offers dorm rooms from $30 and private doubles from $70, plus a communal kitchen stocked with garden produce and fresh eggs.


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