If Seattle’s recent glimpse of sunshine has your family’s summer vacation on your mind, we’re right there with you. The only question is what to do. Camp? Glamp? Book a cozy cabin in the woods? Enter Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes. An 82-acre island where effortless fun is the name of the game and families can do all of the above (and more). Read on to make your summer vacay plans.
So Many Ways to Play
Who else loves a good one-stop-shop vacay, where everything you need is right there? That’s one of the reasons Lakedale is a great spot for Seattle families. Their spectacular summer activities, with a family camp feel, are another.
One if by land
Lakedale Resort is set on an 82-acre island surrounded by three lakes. In other words, a spot where keeping your kids happy and entertained is virtually effortless. In addition to the many hiking trails and paths around the property, Lakedale offers its guests a range of outdoor activities. Just outside the Activities Tent, you'll find bikes of all sizes for kids to borrow (helmets too!). Guests are welcome to use them at their leisure for an hour at a time. The grassy lawns are where you can challenge your kiddos to a game of oversized Jena, Connect Four or ping pong by the lake. Or play bocce ball, volleyball, cornhole or horseshoes on the many pits and courts you'll find near the main lodge and swimming beach.
During the peak season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), be sure to stop by the Activities Tent for arts and crafts. Kids can paint birdhouses, make colorful sand sculptures and of course, tie dye a t-shirt (it's a Lakedale tradition) during their stay. Crafts are a simple add-on ($6-$12) your kids will love.
Two if by lake
It's not surprising Lakedale is a water sports and activities haven with three fresh, spring-water lakes surrounding the property. Whether your kids want to swim, boat or fish, they can do it here. While you sit beachside, kids can wade into Dream Lake, one of a few swimming beaches at Lakedale. Its still waters warm up nicely in the sunny summer months, a nice alternative to the Sound's chilly waters. Families can also rent boats ($10/hr.), water trikes ($20/hr.), kayaks, SUPs and canoes to use on Neva or Dream Lakes. Bring your fishing poles (or rent one for $15) because the lakes are stocked with bass and trout. You won't need a state fishing license to catch them, but you do need a private Lakedale one. It's just $5 and you can pick one up at the General Store. Can you say fresh-caught fish for dinner?
So Many Ways to Stay
No matter what your vacation style, you’ll find it at Lakedale Resort.
Cozy Log Cabins
When it comes to cabin rentals with all the comforts of home, Lakedale offers six spacious log cabins. Set in a peaceful forest of fir trees, each cabin comes with two bedrooms and two full baths, a full kitchen, dining nook, gas fireplace and cedar deck. Outdoorsy extras like grills, picnic tables and campfire pits (hello, s'mores!) are out back by the lake. You won’t find satellite TV in the cabins, but you will find a DVD player (head to the hotel lobby for free movie rentals) and board games to keep your crew entertained. The log cabins are pet-friendly (there's a one-time fee of $35/puppy per stay), so plan on bringing your favorite four-legged pooch.
Yurt Glamping & an Airstream
Add a twist to your family vacay when you glamp in one of seven yurts tucked into Lakedale's private, forested Yurt Village on Fish Hook Lake. Each round house quarters features 450-square-feet of modern, light-filled luxury including en suite bathroom with shower, wet bar and refrigerator, flatscreen TV and a queen sleeper sofa for the kids. The spacious, private deck is home to all you need to complete your ideal summer vacay: hot tub, dining table and a gas grill.
For a dose of retro with your vacation experience book a few nights in the resort’s Airstream trailer. The 1978 Excella is located on a premier lakefront campsite and comes with a double bed, bath linens, kitchenette with cooktop, refrigerator and microwave. You'll also find a dinette table with an extended sofa that converts into a bed, a private bathroom and LED lighting throughout.
Canvas Cabins & Cottages
If your family is up for a new outdoor adventure, Lakedale's unique canvas cabins and cottages are the way to stay. It's upscale camping at its finest. Each canvas cabin boasts a queen-size bed with pillow-top bedding, a table and chairs, cordless lantern, bath linens and a full-size futon. And outside each abode there's a picnic table, fire ring and umbrella to use. What you won't find is running water or electricity. Not to worry, the nearby shower facilities have everything you need. These sweet tents easily sleep parents with a baby or toddler in tow.
If it's you plus two kids (or more), try the canvas cottages. Not only do they offer more square footage, but they have a king-size pillow-top bed, dining table, chandelier and a full bathroom with a shower, tucked into the back of the tent. The fireplace inside will keep you warm at night and the daybed sleeper converts to a king bed for the kiddos. Just outside you'll find Adirondack chairs for lounging and the lake where families can swim. All canvas cabin guests are invited to enjoy a complimentary breakfast in the Mess Tent each morning of their stay.
Traditional Campsites & RV Hookups
If pitching a tent and becoming one with nature is what your family prefers, try Lakedale's campground (open April through the end of September, weather depending). With 30 campsites and six spots for RVs, families can rough it without roughing it too much, because Lakedale's activities and amenities are part of your stay. Classic campsites are great for a just-you vacay, as they accommodate one tent, four people and one vehicle. If you're camping with friends or extended family, try a family campsite that fits up to eight people and two vehicles. You can park RV's (25-foot up to 40-foot) at the campsite here—the only hook-up site on San Juan Island. As such, spots go quickly so grab yours while you can!
If a babymoon or parents-only getaway is on the horizon, the Lodge is the place to stay. Just inside you'll find the stunning great room, cozy fireplace and beautiful deck overlooking Neva Lake. The updated guest rooms are your sanctuary during your stay, featuring flat-screen TVs, private decks or balconies, gas fireplaces and jetted tubs. Choose yours with a lake or woodland view and receive a fresh complimentary breakfast each morning too. Since hotel guests need to be 16 or older, you’re guaranteed a tranquil, relaxed atmosphere during your stay.
1. Lakedale Resort does not have cell service, but the log cabins, Lake House, Lodge and General Store offer wireless internet and landlines.
2. It's easy to go contactless at Lakedale this summer. Depending on your accommodations, you'll find keys in an envelope just inside the lodge when you arrive. Check out Lakedale's full COVID safety and wellness plan before you go.
3. Since you'll find fire pits outside your space no matter where you stay here, it's hard not to think of s'mores. Roast some with your kids when you pick up a s'mores pack at the Lodge front desk for just $19 (includes firewood).
4. While staying at Lakedale, the General Store (open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day) is your go-to spot for your morning espresso and fresh-made sandwiches, salads and pizzas at lunch time. It's also where you can pick up forgotten grocery items, find camping and fishing gear (including bait), rent boats and more.
Explore San Juan Island
While there's plenty to do at the resort, it's hard to resist the lure of San Juan Island's other activities. Not too far from the resort you'll find the tiny village of Roche Harbor. This popular tourist destination is home to the historic Hotel de Haro and it's where you'll find spots to shop, eat and boat watch. Be sure to visit the outdoor sculpture park just outside of town. The 19-acre area is super kid-friendly and features over 120 sculptures by local artists that'll capture your kiddos' imaginations and inspire them too. Some of the art is interactive and the park is a great alternative to typical playground play. If you want to sneak in a history lesson, visit the national parks of English and American Camps and learn the tale of the infamous Pig War of 1859.
Another kid favorite is Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, where you can take a self-guided tour and visit with the farm's more than 70 alpacas. You'll learn lots about these gentle animals as you and the kids make your way around the property. Or stop by the island’s lavender farm and purchase botanical, culinary or household care products. Although it's open year-round, this farm will be especially beautiful when the lavender blooms between July and August.
Downtown Friday Harbor is a hub of activity, especially in the summertime. It's dotted with an assortment of family-friendly restaurants, like San Juan Island Brewing, Van Go's Pizza and local fave Downriggers, plus shops, cafes and more than one tasty ice cream parlor. Be sure to check out the popular Whale Museum, open daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Psst... after you learn about whales, take a trip to Lime Kiln State Park, part of the whale trail, to see if you can spot any of our elusive resident orcas from the shore. For now, the downtown movie theater is closed, but they're still popping corn to-go on Friday nights. A perfect movie companion for your Lakedale log cabin stay!
What You Need to Know About the Ferry
1. To get to Lakedale Resort, you'll need to take the ferry from Anacortes to San Juan Island. Remember to make your reservations ASAP, as ferries fill up quickly, especially during the peak tourist season (Memorial Day through Labor Day).
2. It's definitely easiest to take the direct ferry and avoid the stops when you're traveling with kids. Even then the crossing takes about an hour, so bring plenty of snacks and games to keep the kids entertained (as a reminder, WSDOT is asking car passengers to stay in their vehicles to help prevent the spread of COVID).
3. Even with a reservation, you'll need to arrive at the Anacortes ferry landing 45-60 minutes before departure.
4. There are two easy spots kids can get those wiggles out before making the crossing. The first is at the beach by the ferry landing that offers a wetland boardwalk and plenty of shoreline to explore. The second (if you've got time to spare) is at nearby John Storvick playground (1110 32nd St.). Pack a picnic lunch and let the kids play here beforehand for a smooth sailing.
4313 Roche Harbor Rd.
Friday Harbor, WA
— Allison Sutcliffe & Kristina Moy (all photos courtesy of the writers)
A portion of this trip was paid for by Lakedale Resort at Three Lakes, but all opinions expressed here belong to the writer.