Depart with ectu to San Juan Islands
by Cortney Bigelow
One of the many reasons I love living in Seattle is the ability to jump in your car — or onto a ferry — to escape the city for a weekend getaway. Earlier this spring, Trevor and I made the trek with another couple to the nearby islands — San Juan Island to be specific. We spent two and a half days relaxing, exploring and enjoying all the charming aspects the magical place had to offer. We had been to the island quite a few times before — cabins with friends, boating trips with family. So this time, I thought it’d be the perfect excuse to compile a list of my favorite things to do via a getaway guide.
San Juan Island Getaway Guide
There are 172 named islands and reefs that makeup San Juan County — making this area the perfect escape for sea explorers and island time seekers. Of the large cluster are four major islands that ferries serve for visitors — Orcas, Lopez, Shaw and San Juan Island (the one we’ve frequented the most).
San Juan Island is the second-largest island of the group and is best known for its natural beauty across farms, fields, forests, hills and rocky shorelines. We love it because it houses Friday Harbor — a cute town nestled on the east side of the island along with the ferry terminal — and Roche Harbor — a town on the northwestern point that is a boater’s paradise.
What to Pack
When packing for a weekend getaway to the San Juan Islands, you can expect much milder weather than Seattle with 247 days of sunshine on average. I aim to travel light on these trips — packing an assortment of basics, a jacket or two for the evening and loungewear for ultimate relaxing at your accommodation.
What’s even more important for your packing needs is a weekender bag that not only offers function and durability but a style that aligns with your elevated taste. Which is why I’m excited to use ectu’s Palermo weekender bag.
I had the honor of testing out one of their most popular bags — the Palermo Italian Leather Weekender. I adore the clean, modern aesthetic with the perfect amount of gold touches. It screams luxury but bleeds function with its spacious interior and trolley sleeve that slides onto your luggage handles. It’s durable and designed as an investment piece to carry you through your years of wandering.
The Palermo was the perfect bag to take on this San Juan Island getaway...
Where to Stay
Snug Harbor Resort
Located on the west side of the island along Mitchell Bay, this waterfront resort is the cutest hidden gem. 17 cabins and 3 suites all with updated interiors and gorgeous views.
Friday Harbor House
Sophisticated hotel located on a bluff overlooking the harbor — this is the perfect romantic option to experience escape and luxury.
Roche Harbor Resort
Historic seaside resort located in Roche Harbor with picturesque views, gardens and contemporary updates.
We booked an Airbnb on this recent trip as it was fun to cozy up in a cabin for a true, island getaway vibe. It’s nice to be able to have a kitchen for cooking, deck for sunset watching and access to beach and there are so many great options to sift through!
Where to Eat
A perfect spot for your brunch, lunch, happy hour or dinner needs. Offering views, a wide menu, and some amazing desserts!
An awesome laid-back indoor/outdoor space with multiple levels, a full bar, and views. Great for a beer and fish & chips in the afternoon to break up your exploring.
The Restaurant at Friday Harbor House
For a nice dinner out — make a rez here for local cuisine and wine served up high on the hill with water views. Come early for a drink at the bar or take advantage of their outdoor patio for happy hour vibes under their red umbrellas.
Madrona Bar & Grill
My favorite restaurant on the island — for the good food, people and memories we’ve made while visiting Roche Harbor. Their seafood cocktail and noodle salad are the best — along with their tasty drinks. If you time it right you can get a spot outside for the Colors Ceremony — happening 20 minutes prior to sunset during peak season.
Where to Play
Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm
If you have a thing for alpacas — or have never experienced one up close — you’ve got to check out this amazing place. Drive up to an 80 acre farm owned by the friendliest family who adores and has named every alpaca on the property. Be sure to visit their gift shop to experience the softest goods made from alpaca fiber.
Westcott Bay Shellfish Co.
A favorite hidden gem easily accessible by driving — or by boat! Many especially love taking their dingy over to this cove from their Roche Harbor docked vessel. You can sip rosé and shuck oysters along the bay — the coolest vibes and visitors.
San Juan Excursions
With the booking center nestled right in town next to the ferry landing, this company allows you to set sail on the open seas to find orcas, sea lions, gray whales, bald eagles, harbor porpoises, seals and more.
For more information on what to do in San Juan Islands, please visit Cortney Bigelow’s blog here and follow @thegreyedit on Instagram!
Here’s to departing in style —