San Juan Islands Lodging Checklist

hotel room

You will need to find quality lodging in the San Juan Islands in order to properly enjoy your vacation here. There are several nearby hotels, inns and rental properties to choose from. There is also the option to lease a space from a local on airbnb.com or a similar type website.

There are some requirements or standards for the lodging in order to ensure it doesn’t deter from your enjoyment of the San Juan Islands or your vacation with friends or family.

Here are some things to consider before reserving lodging at a hotel or property in the San Juan Islands:

  1. Location

Few things are more important when it comes to lodging and hotels than the location of the property itself. You don’t want to be too far from the tourist attractions and all of the best restaurants in Roche Harbor.

You can ruin a vacation if you need to use a taxi for every venture out of the hotel or if there is too much travel time in-between each destination and excursion you want to visit during your vacation on the San Juan Islands.

  1. Ratings & Reviews

Be sure the hotel you decide to stay at in the San Juan Islands has received several of good reviews from previous guests.

You should read as many reviews as possible and make note of guests comments concerning the service from the staff of the hotel or the friendliness of the staff.

You will also want to know the conditions of the rooms. Do the rooms in the hotel offer nice views? Are the guest rooms clean from top to bottom with evidence of deep cleaning and routine professional carpet cleaning in the rooms?

  1. Hidden Fees

Be careful to avoid hidden fees from the hotel or lodging you choose. Not all hotels offer free Wi-Fi and the cost of internet will add up very fast if you use your mobile devices regularly when on vacation. You should call the hotel prior to reserving the rooms and ask any questions you might have beforehand.

  1. Concierge

Is there a concierge on staff at the hotel? If you have never been to the San Juan Islands before you will likely have several questions concerning directions or recommendations for local activities. A full-time concierge is a big help for vacationers and tourists that are searching for fun ideas and activities to enjoy during their trip.

  1. Amenities

Some hotels in Roche Harbor and the San Juan Islands will offer free breakfast in the morning for their guests or free Wi-Fi or premium TV channels. If these things are of interest to you you should ask the customer service desk of the hotel before you reserve rooms for your stay in the San Juan Islands.

You don’t want your lodging to deter from your relaxation and fun during your visit to the San Juan Islands. A little research before reserving rooms and lodging will help to ensure that the hotel you choose is the best one for you and your family during your vacation.

Best Restaurants in Roche Harbor

seafood restaurant

There are several amazing local restaurants in Roche Harbor to choose from. You can enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine, a beautiful view and a delicious meal at many restaurants in the San Juan Islands but these are our personal favorites when it comes to dining in Roche Harbor:

Madrona Bar & Grill

The Madrona Bar & Grill is located in the Roche Harbor resort and features some of the best dining views in all of the San Juan Islands. Diners can feast on coastal-casual cuisine as well as original grilled sandwiches, BBQ ribs and more favorites.

There is an extensive wine list and cocktail menu to choose from and mouth-watering desserts to finish of the meal. This is truly one of the best restaurants in Roche Harbor and the San Juan Islands.

McMillin’s Dining Room

McMillin’s is an island-certified-local restaurant that is famous for its 40-day aged prime rib. You or someone from your group simply must try this tasty cut of meat. It’s sure to be memorable. The wine list at this establishment has won awards and it is no surprise as it contains almost every style and flavor a wine enthusiast could ask for.

San Juan Island Cheese

Cheese lovers will flock to San Juan Island Cheese for lunch and local fare as well as an exquisite wine list. The restaurant serves homemade breads and gorgeous cuts of cheese for diners to delight in. There are also salads, quiches, paninis and other offerings from their lunch menu that will satisfy your appetite before you set aboard the ferry just nearby.

Vinny’s Ristorante

If you love Italian food (who doesn’t?), Vinny’s Ristorante is a must-go during your visit to Roche Harbor and the San Juan Islands. The restaurant serves casual Italian food in a relaxing ambiance you and your friends will adore. There are several seafood items on the menu to complement traditional Italian offerings and delicious cuts of steak too. You are sure to find something on the menu that will leave your mouth watering for more!

Friday Harbor Ice Cream

Sometimes you just want to skip the main course altogether and go straight for dessert, right? That’s where Friday Harbor Ice Cream comes in. You can enjoy a cup or dish of a dozen different flavors, all of them delicious!

There are several other restaurants in Roche Harbor to choose from but these are just some of our favorites. Be sure to ask your hotel staff for recommendations of their own when you arrive in the San Juan Islands.

About Orca Whales

orca whales

One of the most popular attractions of Roche Harbor is our natural wildlife. You will see wildlife in the water and along the shores of the San Juan Islands. The most popular wildlife in the area that attracts visitors from across the country are our orca whales.

You can schedule tours and excursions in Roche Harbor from April until Octobr to see the orca pods that live in the area. This is one of the most popular excursions in all of the San Juan Islands.

Before you come to see our orca whales, perhaps you would like to learn a little more about these beautiful sea creatures:

  • Orca whales weigh up to 6 tons and grow a long as 23-32 feet. Their total length is similar to the length of a school bus. These are some of the largest sea creatures known to man and they’re the largest species of dolphins according to National Geographic.
  • Orca whales live in several different climates and habitats and are considered the second-most widely distributed mammals after humans. That’s right! You can find orcas in warm waters such as the San Juan Islands or freezing, icy waters around the globe. Orcas never stay any one place too long and are known to travel extremely far distances.
  • Orcas are an apex predator, meaning no other animal hunts them. The only mammal that hunts or kills orca whales are humans. Orcas feed on turtles, sea birds, octopi, rays and even sharks.
  • Orca mothers are pregnant for 17 months and will give birth to one new orca whale once every three or 10 years.
  • The black and white color of orca whales helps to camouflage them in the water in order to hunt their prey.

You can learn more about orca whales online before your visit or ask your tour guide several questions during your scheduled excursion as all of the tour guides are extremely knowledgeable about these amazing creatures.