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San Juan Islands USA

I am planning a trip to san juan islands in June 2022 and wonder whether anyone has advice on hotels or inns-I a considering Esenwald Inn on Lopez Island--any thoughts or ideas for this trip? SUSAN

Posted by
6788 posts

Lopez is VERY low key. For visitors from far away, you might find it a bit limited in terms of options. If you just want a quiet, relaxing place, then it's fine (as they say, that's a feature, not a bug). But don't expect much in the way of "tourist infrastructure" or things to do other than relax and enjoy the quiet scenery.

If you want restaurant choices, shops, and organized activities suited to tourists, head for either San Juan Island (Friday Harbor) or Orcas Island (Eastsound). There you will find all the tourist infrastructure and things-to-do that you seek. You can also find peace and quiet, though maybe not quite as quiet (in the towns) as on Lopez -- but even in Friday Harbor and Eastsound, where things get relatively busy in summer, it's still far from "over-touristed" (the island's limited accommodations kind of prevents that).

The islands get super busy in summer (expensive, too). Book well in advance. Especially if you plan to bring a car on the ferry.

Posted by
8651 posts

It is hard to give a suggestion without knowing what it is that you are looking for from this trip. I'm about to head out next week for 2 nights at Lakedale Resort where they have a variety of options for lodging, but it is little more expensive.

You do need to make ferry reservations as mentioned above. You do not pay for the reservation at the time that you make it, but do give credit card information because if you do not cancel/show up they will charge a $15 fee.

If you tell us more about what you are wanting to see/do, we can give better advice.

Posted by
6670 posts

We had a nice few days at Kangaroo House on Orcas Island, just north of Eastsound, with a car. Orcas has some nice beaches, a big state park topped by Mount Constitution with great views, a lake, historic Rosario Resort (another lodging choice), and good places to eat. Friday Harbor, on San Juan Island, is the biggest town on the islands and considerably more urban (relatively) than Eastsound. I haven't been on Lopez by my impression is consistent with what other posters have said -- a great place to have a vacation home or spend time if all you want is peace and quiet. It's popular for bicycling because it's more level than the other islands.

Definitely reserve space on the ferry from Anacortes, and returning, if you're bringing a car over. If not, expect to bicycle or take infrequent local buses (on San Juan Island, don't know about others).

Posted by
8 posts

Hi, We were there last summer doing an organized bicycling tour. We stayed on Lopez, Orcas, and San Juan islands. On Lopez we stayed at the Edenwild Inn. It was very low key with a nice breakfast. On Orcas we stayed at the Outlook Inn. Very nice setting by the water and a good restaurant on site. On San Juan Island we stayed at the Earthbox Inn. Basically a standard type hotel in Friday Harbor. Good location. No on site restaurant. I think Orcas was my favorite of the three island. We also did a whale watching excursion and kayaking while there. We hiked up Mount Constitution too. Great views. There is an interesting pottery place (Orcas Island Pottery) on the island. Friday Harbor on San Juan is pretty busy but has a lot of nice restaurants. There's an interesting lavender farm on the island. They serve lavender ice cream and lemonade. We started the trip in Anacortes at the Majestic Inn. Pricey but probably the best hotel in town. From there everything was done by ferry and/or bike. We dropped and picked up our rental car in Anacortes. Upon conclusion of the bike trip we drove to Mount Rainer which I would highly recommended. Have fun!