Travel

Weekend Trip to San Juan Island: Part I

Thanks to Lakedale Resort and Visit San Juans for hosting our trip.

Although you can make your way around San Juan Island in probably two hours or less, just because it’s small doesn’t mean it isn’t one of the more spectacular destinations in the Pacific Northwest. Located inside the rain shadow between the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, it’s about 80% sunnier than most of the Seattle area making it a great way to get away in the spring and summer. It pours on the charm in its small port towns of Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor, but the adventure really begins before you even arrive.

Sailing on Washington State Ferries

If you’re not flying in, you’ll most likely be taking the ferry from Anacortes, which follows a stunning route through the island passages. To give yourself a smooth start to your weekend, make sure you book your ferry reservation well in advance—but do keep in mind that open reservations are released in waves, so keep tabs on the Washington State Ferries website.

Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane

Best Restaurant on San Juan Island

Floating in just in time for happy hour, Michele and I headed to Downriggers for drinks and appetizers on the pier. It became our favorite restaurant on the island—we went a total of three times in three days. Sorry, not sorry! Their spicy margaritas, crab tots, and tacos were absolutely worth it. We had a lot of great food during our weekend, but you can’t beat the views and the vibes at Downriggers.

Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane

FROM Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor

My dad happened to be working on nearby Henry Island the same night we arrived. Driving from Friday Harbor to Roche Harbor to meet him, we got to enjoy a full overview of the two main towns on our very first night! Having been a few times in my life, I was pretty familiar with Friday Harbor, but Roche Harbor was new to me, and I was blown away by its charm.

As we learned later at the San Juan Museum of History, Roche Harbor was dominated by lumber and lime mining until it was privately purchased and turned into tourism paradise. The marinas are breathtaking, and all of the businesses and buildings dotting the shoreline are a beautiful weathered white. Getting to meet it for the first time at twilight just as the twinkle lights were switching on was absolutely magical.

Stopping at the go-to Roche Harbor hangout, Madrona, we enjoyed a few more snacks and drinks while catching up with my dad, who then took us on a quick harbor cruise just before the sun went down.

Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane

RELAX AND EXPLORE AT Lakedale RESORT

After our busy afternoon and evening, we finally checked into our home for the next two nights—Lakedale Resort. I detailed our yurt glamping stay in this post, but there is so much more to the resort I want to share! They have such beautiful grounds and so many options of places to stay. One of my favorites were their glamping tents, located right on one of their three lakes.

They have activities for every age level all throughout the summer and plenty of places to tuck yourself away with a good book or just to sit with the sun. Roast marshmallows, make tie-dye t-shirts, play giant chess…Lakedale really is a summer paradise!

Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane
Weekend Trip to San Juan Island | truelane

If you’re more interested in staying in town, there are a ton of adorable hotels and B&Bs both in Roche and Friday Harbors. Visit San Juans has made it super easy to find available accommodations on their website no matter what you’re looking for.

Now that we’ve got all the basics down—where to stay and where to eat—I can’t wait to share Part II of our trip next week! I couldn’t fit the bazillion photos we took in one blog post, so next up I’ll be highlighting a few of my favorite things to do on the island and more. Stay tuned!




Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort

This post is sponsored by Lakedale Resort.

Photography by Michele Equitz

Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane

Welcome to Lakedale Resort

Every summer, my family and I camped at least once, but it looked quite a bit different than this. We had a massive blue 8-person nylon tent that would always take longer to take down than it did to put up—mostly because the bag it came in seemed to get smaller after every trip. I spent every day wearing no make-up and messy braids, and every night wearing the same mess of layers whose sole purpose was to keep me warm in the Pacific Northwest’s year-round evening chill. While there’s certainly some charm to that scenario, staying in Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island’s newest offering, the yurt village, was a delightful and comfortable five-star retreat—something I wouldn’t expect to say about a campsite.

Lakedale is situated just a few minutes away from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, which is where you’ll arrive by ferry or float plane. Situated on eighty-two acres, it’s home to three picturesque lakes and limitless activities from tie-dying t-shirts to paddle-boating to fishing. All of the buildings and amenities are clearly well-kept by a staff who, you can tell, loves spending time at Lakedale. We stayed in early May and got lucky with beautiful weather and a pretty empty campground, but come summer, Lakedale is a popular place for people from all over the region, so make sure to book in advance.

What Is Glamping?

Glamping is a pretty common slang term these days for “glamorous camping.” I’ve run into dozens of people over the years that love nature, but camping just isn’t for them. Whether it’s back pain, hygiene (or lack of), age, or simply inconvenience, there are lots of reasons your standard sleeping bag experience doesn’t work for certain groups. Yurt glamping takes all the comforts of a hotel and puts them within a round canvas hut—all the conveniences of heat, luxury, plumbing, and entertainment with the first-hand benefits of being surrounded by nature. Win-win!

Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
chelsea+lane+lankford+truelane+seattle+blogger+travel+style+san+juan+island+lakedale+resort+yurt+glamping3.jpg
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
chelsea+lane+lankford+truelane+seattle+blogger+travel+style+san+juan+island+lakedale+resort+yurt+glamping17.jpg

Why You Should Stay In a Yurt

The yurts are just one option for accommodations at the resort (canvas cottages, log cabins, RV sites, a lodge, bring-your-own-nylon-blue tents…), but they’re definitely one of a kind. Between the private hot tub on the secluded balcony, king-size bed, fireplace, and flatscreen TV, there’s nothing more I could ask for when it comes to a relaxing getaway.

The tasteful, Scandinavian design complements our Pacific Northwest evergreens magnificently—the yurt feels remote but not out of place. It was warm and welcoming with a homey, lived-in touch; never stiff or unattainable like some hotels can be. In fact, it was so cozy that the first thing Michele and I did after entering was flop on the bed (after photos were done, of course). The kitchen offers a microwave and mini-fridge as well as plenty of mugs, glasses, and tableware, and a four-person dining table. But the best part? As soon as we walked in, we were greeted by the lovely, piney smell of freshly-cut wood. The exposed beams provide the best natural perfume!

Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane
Yurt Glamping at Lakedale Resort | truelane

Although we spent some time offsite exploring the two seaside towns San Juan Island has to offer, coming home every night to Lakedale Resort was the icing on the cake. One particularly memorable evening, we were treated to a light rain that sounded positively magical as it dotted the roof above us. You bet this rain-lover threw on her swimming suit and went out to enjoy it from the hot tub.

Our stay in the yurt village at Lakedale Resort was truly a unique treat, and I’d place it at the top of your list if you’re looking for fun ways to spend an anniversary trip or a weekend away with a few friends. It’s one of those places you’ll want to return to year after year—and dozens of families do. Thank you to Lakedale for letting us share this incredible experience!




The Colors of Cozumel

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises.

What was the best part of our final port day with Princess Cruises? It could have been the exclusive and indescribably delightful Chef’s Table dinner we enjoyed that evening—I mean, a four-course meal including a tour of the galley and special cocktail hour with the executive chef himself? In fact, let’s stop here and take a moment to appreciate it.

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Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, Chef’s Table, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, gourmet dining
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, Chef’s Table, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, gourmet dining
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, Chef’s Table, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, gourmet dining
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, Chef’s Table, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, gourmet dining
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, Chef’s Table, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, gourmet dining

Mai Tai sorbet, to-die-for mushroom risotto and a world-class dessert…I’m no food writer, so I can honestly say that I can’t even begin to describe the level of quality this dinner was at. With so many elements involved, Chef’s Table is not an event you want to be late for…and Michele and I very nearly were! Although we’d been sailing a few days, it was only our second trip to this dining room. If it hadn’t been for the OceanCompass app guiding us directly from starting point A to ending point B, who knows how long we may have been wandering from deck 5 to 6 to 7 and back? OceanCompass quickly became one of my go-to apps on this MedallionClass Caribbean cruise. It’s the fastest way to get to know your home at sea.

Back to our final day in port. Like I said, we had a delightful dinner, but before that, the best part of our day could have been when Michele and I enjoyed a stunning sunset on the Lido Deck overlooking Puerta Maya’s colorful vista. And before that, we devoured a couple of ice cream treats from Coffee & Cones, and the ice cream cones are free, y’all—the ice cream cones are free. Even before that, we raced our Tagalong avatars in a cutthroat (not at all cutthroat) game of TagalongSprint on the portal right outside the café. Any of these things could have been my favorite part of the day—but let’s not forget the colorful, multisensory experience that is the beautiful port of Puerta Maya in Cozumel, Mexico.

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Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, Cozumel, Mexico, cruise port
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, Cozumel, Mexico, cruise port
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, Cozumel, Mexico, cruise port
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, Cozumel, Mexico, cruise port
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Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience, Cozumel, Mexico, cruise port
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip, OceanMedallion, MedallionClass Experience
Caribbean Princess, 7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise, Princess Cruises, Puerta Maya, travel blogger, cruise ship, cruising, spring break trip

If you’ve followed this or any of my other past Princess trips, you know that one of my favorite things about the brand is their close tie to one of my favorite television shows, The Love Boat. An Aaron Spelling classic from the 1970s, The Love Boat is a hilarious hour-long comedic, romantic, silly drama set on the Pacific Princess and full of glamorous and dreamy colors and tones. Walking through the Cozumel port felt like being placed right in an episode along with Julie, Isaac, Doc, and all the other characters. While it didn’t necessarily feel like a step back in time, there was just something about the brightly painted walls, embossed leather souvenir bags, dreamy shadows and rustic fountains that made me half expect to see Patty Duke walk around the corner.

Enjoying a chill day shopping, snapping photos, and lazing in the Mexican sunshine was the perfect way to end the land portion of our trip before relaxing at sea on our way back to Fort Lauderdale. Although this was my second time in Cozumel, it was my first time getting to explore the port, and I’m so glad I finally got a taste of it. And, of course, a taste of a tangy, salty, frozen margarita right in the middle of its homeland. You know what they say….the lower the latitude, the better the attitude.

Photography by Michele Equitz