Madrona on San Juan Island, Wa

Great Ideas for a Last Minute San Juan Island Getaway

Updated June 2017

There is nothing more rejuvenating and exhilarating than a last minute getaway. It makes me feel like I got away with something. It makes me feel wild and free, young and spontaneous. It teaches me to be present and to not “future trip”.  I highly recommend it. Let me share my 5 tips for a no stress, super fun, last minute San Juan Island Getaway with you.

1. Choose your method of transportation

If you are on a budget, drive to Anacortes, leave your car parked there and walk onto the Washington State Ferry. The ferries fill up fast, especially in the summer, but if you don’t bring your car, you won’t need a reservation and won’t ever be turned away.

If you are pressed for time, fly up with Kenmore Air. It takes 45 minutes from Seattle’s Lake Union and is an absolutely stunning ride.

Once you are on the island, you can do everything there is to do in Friday Harbor on foot. For exploring the breathtaking beaches & parks outside of Friday Harbor, you may check out a beach cruiser bike from our hotel for free, rent a geared bike, rent a car or get around by one of our cute little transit buses. Or walk a bit on the wild side and hitchhike. San Juan Island has designated “Ride Share” spots, where many islanders stop and pick up folks. It’s safe and common and you may make a new friend.

2. Find your place to stay

No matter how spontaneous you feel, please call ahead for hotel reservations. San Juan Island is small and lodging does fill up, even in the shoulder season. We have two hotels: the Earthbox Inn & Spa, a retro motor inn with resort features, and the Bird Rock Hotel, a charming, little bed & breakfast with 15 rooms, all different from each other in price and style.

If you are on a budget, try to reserve one of the simple rooms at Bird Rock. Those are cute, European style rooms with a shared bath (four rooms share two bathrooms), which are even in the summer very moderately priced and include breakfast.

If you are coming in the off or shoulder season, check out our specials. We frequently have amazing deals at both properties.

Also let us know if you are celebrating something special, a birthday or an anniversary. We love to leave tiny surprise gifties in your room whenever we can.

3. Make it longer or midweek

Tag on a Thursday or a Monday to your weekend getaway. An extra night will make a huge difference in how relaxed you’ll feel. We often have great deals when you stay 2 or 3 nights or longer.

Or, if it’s an option for you, visit us midweek. Rooms are cheaper, restaurants have midweek specials, and you’ll have a little more room to spread your wings, even in the height of summer.

4. Keep it Simple

All you need is a way to get here and a place to stay. Try to allow plenty of time to relax and enjoy our island slow pace, leaving plenty of time for each activity. Ask us at the front desk what we do for fun, where we go to hike, sunbathe, beach comb and you may find yourself on a tiny boat, watching Orca whales or on top of a mountain you didn’t even know existed, watching bald eagles.

5. Let Serendipity guide you

You may take that literally. We have a used bookstore in Friday Harbor, called “Serendipity”. It’s a lovely store, well-stocked in a cute Victorian house overlooking the ferry lanes. The owner is incredibly knowledgeable (she once reached for the book I inquired about without taking her eyes off me) and you’ll find tons of books about San Juan Island.

And please take it figuratively as well. Just stroll. Let your mind and body wander. Don’t make dinner reservations, just stay on the beach until you are hungry and then see what comes next. It will work. You’ll see.

We can’t wait to have you!